April 3, 2024

Impeachment Follies

America does not need another impeachment drama right now — it’s the job of the electorate, not Congress, to evict Joe Biden from the White House.

With the November presidential election just seven months away, it seems unlikely that the House impeachment inquiry will produce articles for impeachment of President Joe Biden. In an interview last week, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer hinted about the possibility of referral to DOJ of recommendations for criminal prosecution (probably to be ignored there by Attorney General Merrick Garland), and quite possibly nothing more.

That’s weak sauce for many Republicans who felt (and no doubt still do) that there is a solid case to be made for impeachment of the president, but it probably will not come to that, for several reasons — not the least of which is the razor-thin House majority held by a disunified GOP.

Unable to contain his snarky glee, Democrat Jamie Raskin raced to the microphones and proclaimed the Republican inquiry to be “the most spectacular failure in the history of Congressional investigation.”

Really? One might have thought that the intent of an inquiry is to inquire, not to rubber-stamp a predetermined fact-free political conclusion, though that is standard practice in today’s hyper-partisan Congress.

The simple fact that impeachment’s only penalty is removal from office is reason enough not to invoke that process when the official in question is seeking reelection in an imminent contest. Rather than enabling a body of politicians (i.e., political opponents of the person being impeached) to remove him or her from office, it is clearly preferable — and far more democratic — to let the electorate do that via the ballot box.

And whether or not it leads to impeachment, the case against Biden that has emerged from months of evidence gathering is quite clear. Basically, it is one of highly improper influence peddling, in which Biden family members have raked in tens of millions during Biden’s decades as senator, vice president, and president from questionable business dealings with foreign entities, including known adversaries of the U.S.

The defense offered by Biden apologists has evolved steadily from repeated assertions that he had zero knowledge of his son’s and siblings’ business ventures to the explanation that his involvement was incidental and casual — the occasional courtesy handshake here and there with absolutely no business engagement — to today’s insistence that there is “not one shred” of evidence that Joe Biden, “the big guy” mentioned in email correspondence, ever benefited personally from any of his family offshore business transactions.

Well, there are a few shreds, weighty ones, including bank records obtained by Comer’s committee tracking over $20 million from foreign entities — Romania, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia — delivered to bank accounts held by various Biden family members, and some subsequent transfers to Joe Biden by personal check (recorded as loan repayments).

While that is hard evidence, it is circumstantial. But a commonsense interpretation is that if your or my immediate family — siblings, sons, daughters — were somehow enriched to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, we’d know about it (“hey, nice yacht!”), and if we didn’t know where the money came from, we’d find out. Joe and Hunter Biden spent long hours traveling together to and from China on Air Force Two; it’s reasonable to assume that their conversations went well beyond golf and the weather. When one member of a close-knit family is enriched, all are.

Just as importantly, the necessity that persons in corporate or government executive positions avoid conflicts of interest is crystal clear. Any time one’s actions as an elected official has direct financial consequences on a loved one, that person will find it difficult — if not impossible — to act objectively. Surely that was the case when Vice President Biden was assigned point responsibility for U.S. interaction with Ukraine and his son was a highly paid employee of a notoriously corrupt Ukrainian energy firm.

The reality is inescapable — there is solid evidence that over the years, Joe Biden took advantage of his senior positions within the U.S. government by allowing his family to market real or imagined access to him, reaping mountains of cash. Whether Biden championed this practice or simply permitted it is irrelevant — it’s both unethical and a significant threat to our national security. Surely, he knows that.

While Biden’s misconduct would seem to meet the Founders’ definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” pursuing an impeachment during the last months of his term as president would serve no purpose other than a political one.

We learned a few years ago what impeachment should not be, including the ultimate absurdity of staging a Senate impeachment trial to boot from office a president who was no longer holding that office. With all the challenges facing our nation right now, the last thing we need is to be dragged through another pointless political impeachment.

Moreover, kicking Joe Biden out of the White House is not the job of Congress right now — it’s the job of the American electorate.

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