WASHINGTON−House Republicans are holding their first impeachment inquiry hearing on Thursday, fueled by allegations President Joe Biden has financially benefited from his family’s foreign business dealings.
GOP lawmakers have long targeted Hunter Biden’s work overseas. But while investigators have produced evidence revealing the president’s son and his associates made millions from the affairs, they have yet to produce concrete evidence that shows the president personally benefited from those dealings.
Republican lawmakers have called three witnesses for the Wednesday hearing, including a forensic accountant, and former assistant attorney general and a legal scholar. They have also vowed to subpoena Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s brother, James Biden’s, bank records as early as this week.
Follow along with live updates from USA TODAY reporters in Washington here.
Which legislative body has the power of impeachment?
How can a president be removed from office? First, the whole House of Representatives, not just one committee, has to approve articles of impeachment, or charges, against the president.
Next, the Senate would hold an impeachment trial. If the upper chamber finds the president guilty, they would be removed from office and can be barred from holding elected office again.
Three American presidents have been impeached in the House, but no leaders have been found guilty in the Senate.
How do you watch the first impeachment inquiry hearing?
As the House Oversight Committee holds the first hearing into President Joe Biden on Thursday, you can stream the proceedings here.
– Marina Pitofsky
Has Joe Biden already been impeached?
No, the inquiry launched by House Republicans is an investigation into the president over allegations that he benefitted from his family’s foreign business dealings. It doesn’t mean he has been formally charged, or that he’ll be removed from office.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has called the formal impeachment inquiry a “logical next step” for House Republicans, even though Republicans were already looking into the president and his family’s finances.
After Republicans wrap up their investigation, which could take anywhere from a few months to over a year, the House Judiciary Committee would have the option to draft formal articles of impeachment against the president. Those articles are the vehicle for an impeachment trial, which would be how lawmakers could potentially remove Biden from office.
– Savannah Kuchar and Marina Pitofsky
Which presidents have been impeached?
Three presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Johnson was impeached in 1868 after he fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, an ally of the so-called “radical Republicans” in Congress who opposed Johnson’s Reconstruction policies. Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury before a federal grand jury and obstructing justice, revolving around evidence that Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern at the time, and tried to cover it up.
Trump was impeached twice. In 2019, he was impeached after he allegedly withheld funds to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, his political rival. Trump was impeached again in 2021 for his alleged incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.
House GOP investigators say an inquiry is ‘just that, an inquiry’
Democrats in Congress and the White House have assailed House Republicans for elevating their ongoing investigations to the level of an impeachment inquiry, arguing GOP lawmakers lack the evidence to begin an inquiry.
Republican lawmakers involved in the process say otherwise, claiming the inquiry will give investigators stronger authority to uncover evidence that President Joe Biden was involved in his son Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings.
In a memo to lawmakers in the committees handling the impeachment inquiry, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chair of the Oversight committee, along with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., chair of the Judiciary Committee and Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., chair of the Ways and Means Committee, explained to members the inquiry “is just that, an inquiry.”
“This impeachment inquiry will enable the committees to gather information necessary to assess whether President Biden has engaged in impeachable conduct,” the memo reads. “The decision to begin this inquiry does not mean that the committees have reached a conclusion on this question.
Who are the witnesses in the impeachment inquiry hearing?
The hearing is not expected to present new evidence, but it will offer up House Republicans’ arguments for why they are proceeding with an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and provide an overview of what GOP investigators have uncovered thus far.
House Republicans plan to have three witnesses testify to explain the basis of the inquiry and what lawmakers have found regarding the foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son:
Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant
Eileen O’Connor, former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s tax division
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University
House Democrats have tapped Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, to testify against the inquiry and argue House Republicans have yet to offer up substantial evidence to open an impeachment inquiry.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden impeachment inquiry live updates: Republicans hold first hearing