Formally being targeted for congressional impeachment certainly wasn’t on Joe Biden’s Christmas list — but the Republicans’ decision could ultimately be a political gift for the Democrat, who is campaigning for reelection.
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The American President (81 years old) is the focus of attention of Republicans in the House of Representatives for his alleged role in his son’s controversial affairs abroad.
But Joe Biden responded immediately with a clear message: All of this is just political theatre, staged by a vindictive opposition. The president is even using it as an argument to raise money in his upcoming race against Donald Trump.
“No president wants to be impeached” in Congress, recalls Todd Belt, a political science professor. But “actually, politically, it is a gift to Joe Biden,” this professor at George Washington University analyzes.
He adds that in its reaction to the Republican vote on Wednesday, “the White House quickly turned to the economy and the fact that this Congress has not done much and is obsessed with political revenge on behalf of Donald Trump.”
Republicans have not yet provided evidence of the president’s involvement. Even if Joe Biden is formally impeached by the House, it is extremely unlikely that he will be convicted in the Senate, which has a Democratic majority.
Republicans are focused on having a political and media platform of paramount importance, just weeks before the first GOP primaries — and the impeachment trials of Donald Trump.
The former president, who is far ahead of his rivals in the race for the Republican nomination, is also dominating Joe Biden in the latest polls.
The one who is pushing for the impeachment of Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he “did not have the luxury” of conducting a real investigation during the two procedures targeting him. “Biden is lucky he had an investigation, and he is absolutely guilty,” he wrote.
Donald Trump, the accused, sold mugs and T-shirts bearing his famous image while denouncing the political witch hunt. Biden’s camp called on him to donate money – starting with $5 – to fund his campaign in an email denouncing the isolation measures, which were successful according to American media.
Joe Biden brushed aside Republican accusations about impeachment to better point out Congress’ inability to approve aid to Ukraine or the budget, political scientist Todd Belt points out.
“If this continues throughout the election cycle, all the president has to do is point to Capitol Hill and say, ‘Look what they’re doing there,'” he added.
Hunter Biden, whose father, the president, has long supported him, appears to have changed his defense strategy, after years of preferring discretion.
The 53-year-old, who faces two charges, held a rare press conference in Washington on Wednesday to clear his father of any involvement in his controversial affairs, and attacked “Trump supporters” for trying to “strip him of his humanity.”
A more risky strategy “caused tensions” with the White House, which prefers a more cautious approach, US media outlet Axios reported.
From the Oval Office, Joe Biden can reassure himself with a few historical elements: No impeachment has effectively ended a presidential term. In 1974, an embattled Richard Nixon resigned before facing impeachment.
But the action itself could be costly: If the presidency refuses to hand over the documents, citing the executive branch’s right to secrecy, Republicans could be angry, arguing that the Biden camp has something to hide. And then, a surprise is always possible.
Maybe the investigation will reveal something. “We don’t know anything about that,” Todd Belt sums up.
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