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Impeachment inquiry to be opened against Joe Biden as Republicans accuse US president of corruption
12 September 2023, 16:53 | Updated: 12 September 2023, 20:43
Joe Biden will face an impeachment inquiry after Republicans said they found evidence of the president's "corruption".
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Republican Congress leader Kevin McCarthy said: "I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
"Over the past several months, House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct—a culture of corruption."
Republicans have narrow control of Congress, so are political opponents of Mr Biden.
The Republican have accused Mr Biden of profiting from his son Hunter's foreign business dealings, while he served as vice president from 2009 to 2017. They have not yet given evidence of this.
Mr McCarthy will gather his fellow Republicans to discuss a possible impeachment this week.
Donald Trump was impeached twice, in 2019 and 2021. Only two other presidents have been impeached: Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868.
The inquiry would lead to a vote in Congress. If that is successful, the president is impeached.
If a president is impeached, the Senate holds a trial. If two-thirds of members vote in favour, the president is convicted and removed from office. This has never happened.
Meanwhile, prosecutors said last week that they intend to seek an indictment for Hunter Biden by the end of September.
Mr McCarthy is launching the inquiry on his own, without a House vote, as he may not have enough support from his slim Republican majority for approval.
Several Republican legislators oppose the effort.
The White House called it "extreme politics at its worst".
"House Republicans have been investigating the president for nine months, and they've turned up no evidence of wrongdoing," said White House spokesman Ian Sams.
The White House and others pointed to Mr McCarthy's past statements when he insisted a speaker could not unilaterally launch an impeachment inquiry or it would have no legitimacy.
He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flipflopped because he doesn't have support," Mr Sams said.
Minutes after Mr McCarthy spoke a chief Republican critic stood on the House floor deriding the inquiry as "a baby step" and reviving the threat of ousting the speaker.
"We must move faster," said Representative Matt Gaetz (Republican-Florida).
The White House has insisted Mr Biden was not involved in his son's business dealings.
And Democrats are stepping up to fight against what they view as unfounded claims against him ahead of the 2024 election as Republicans attempt to blur the lines with Donald Trump, who is the Republican frontrunner in a comeback bid for the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the impeachment inquiry "absurd".
"This is a transparent effort to boost Donald Trump's campaign by establishing a false moral equivalency between Trump - the four-time indicted former president" and Mr Biden, who faces "zero evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever", said Representative Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.