While questions linger about Biden’s involvement in his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, the absence of concrete evidence of wrongdoing could risk an overreach by House Republicans, potentially harming the GOP’s political standing in upcoming elections.
Douglas E. Schoen, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, argued in a column for The Hill on Monday, that previous Presidential impeachments, including that of his former boss, saw poll numbers rise post-proceedings. He also highlighted how the case has been the same for Donald Trump. Yet, such actions also eroded trust in government institutions.
These dynamics raise concerns, especially among Senate Republicans, that moving forward with impeachment could alienate moderate voters and establish a precedent for politically motivated impeachment. Senate Republican Whip John Thune expressed that focusing on the future and winning elections should be the primary objective.
McCarthy Under Pressure
Despite the potential fallout, McCarthy could well feel compelled to pursue impeachment due to pressure from the right of the GOP. His recent comments about evidence “rising to the level of an impeachment inquiry” stirred controversy, prompting clarification that the investigation would continue without an official inquiry yet.
Ongoing investigations into President Biden and his son have legitimate grounds. An FBI document alleges Biden may have received a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian energy company, and IRS supervisors-turned-whistleblowers claim Hunter Biden leveraged his father’s influence to pressure a Chinese company.
Schoen has admitted that the path to impeachment, though gaining traction, remains challenging and time-consuming for McCarthy due to his slim majority in the House and the impending need to fund the government by September 30. There are also concerns about potential backfiring, alienating party moderates, and energizing the Democratic base, all for an effort that is unlikely to succeed in the Senate, similar to the Democrats’ concerns during Trump’s impeachment in 2019.
Election Hopes and Fears
With the Presidential race imminent, House Republicans might seek to finish impeachment before year-end. Yet, the party must smartly decide on moving forward with impeachment, target selection, considering hearings and inquiry.
Recent events, like an FBI document by GOP’s Chuck Grassley, reveal unverified claims of a Hunter-Joe Biden foreign bribery plot, giving Republicans momentum.
Indeed, with both Biden and Trump currently sitting neck and neck in the polls as they both face legal woes, it could be that such a tricky process’ impact winds up being negligible.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.