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Why Hunter Biden’s mistakes do not prove the House’s Joe Biden impeachment case

But the GOP has launched this rocket, and there will be no recalling it.

Another president, another impeachment. Or at least that’s how it feels. Impeachment is becoming far too commonplace, and it has become weaponized as a campaign tactic by allies of former President Donald Trump. Allies like Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, who said the quiet part out loud recently by arguing he’s supporting the impeachment of President Joe Biden in order to give Trump “a little bit of ammo to fire back.”

Another president, another impeachment. Or at least that’s how it feels.

With an inquiry now formally authorized by the House last week, Republicans have spent considerable time and effort examining Hunter Biden’s many foreign business dealings. Their intent is to find evidence that his father personally benefited financially from those dealings.

And thus far, the GOP has failed to prove its case.

House Republicans have made a compelling case to impeach Hunter Biden. He is currently facing federal charges on tax and firearms-related matters, and his business dealings never passed the smell test. His service on Ukrainian energy company Burisma’s board of directors and partnership with a Chinese businessman are malodorous and smack of influence peddling. How does a man admittedly addicted to drugs and with no particular background or expertise in the energy sector land a lucrative position on a Ukrainian gas company board? It certainly seems like Hunter Biden monetized his family name and has caused personal and political pain for his father.

But the president’s troubled son is not, and has never been, a federal official. He cannot be impeached.

In retrospect, Joe Biden failed to exercise real control over his son’s highly questionable business activities and should have demanded, at the very least, his son remove himself from business opportunities that create appearances of impropriety, embarrassment or worse.

Failing to exercise proper oversight of an adult child’s business activities might represent negligence or bad judgment. It is not, however, a crime, high crime or misdemeanor. That’s why opening an impeachment inquiry at this moment seems more like a campaign tactic designed to help Trump and distract from his own impeachments and many legal entanglements. Retiring Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., in a recent Washington Post op-ed, referred to this whole exercise as a “flimsy excuse for an impeachment.” He then voted yes on authorizing the inquiry.

Now the GOP has launched its rocket, and there will be no recalling it. House Republicans will at least have to attempt to impeach. And that attempt will likely drag this whole process out into the primary — and Trump trial season — further muddying the political waters.

House Republicans insist the White House has stonewalled their investigation, justifying the inquiry former Speaker Kevin McCarthy opened and current Speaker Mike Johnson brought to the House floor.?They insist that this is not simply a political smear campaign. And it’s true that a few of Joe and Hunter’s professional interactions perhaps warrant further investigation — in some forum. But no one has provided solid evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from his son’s business dealings.

Solid evidence or not, the most important question now is whether every single House Republican will see this project through. The House GOP does not currently have a functional majority, as the last year of speaker drama has clearly shown. Will Johnson ask his members, 17 of whom represent districts won by Joe Biden, to take on a difficult impeachment vote? Now that George Santos has been expelled and McCarthy and Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, are on the eve of retirement, there is no margin for error.

It is also conceivable that some House Republicans who voted for the impeachment inquiry might not vote to impeach. Would Johnson ask his members to vote for an impeachment resolution that might not pass the House? Even if a resolution did pass the House, the Senate will never convict with these facts (we hope).

That means, ultimately, GOP members representing Biden-won districts are most likely to determine the final outcome of impeachment. Right now, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where impeachment works to their benefit.

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