Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed four articles of impeachment against the president on Friday, Aug. 11. After the double impeachment of Donald Trump, it was inevitable in this age of tit-for-tat politics that the GOP-led House would eventually file articles against Joe Biden – even if Rep. Steube jumped out in front of the other cases his fellow Republicans have been building against Biden. So, what are the charges, and what do they mean for the president?
Impeachment Was Always Coming, Sooner or Later
Several congressional committees have been investigating Joe Biden and his family from various angles in hopes of building a multifaceted case for his removal from the White House. But the Florida Republican was tired of waiting. “It’s long past time to impeach Joe Biden,” Steube said in a statement before filing his articles of impeachment. “He has undermined the integrity of his office, brought disrepute on the Presidency, betrayed his trust as President, and acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice at the expense of America’s citizens.”
Steube’s filing, however, does not represent the culmination of the work of those committees; he has, from their perspective, jumped the gun. It remains to be seen how his colleagues will vote when the time comes. With just four more Republicans (222) than the GOP needs votes (218) to impeach Biden, Steube can’t afford to lose many.
But even if 218 or more lawmakers come together to impeach Biden, the president has little reason to fear a conviction and subsequent removal from office. It takes 67 senators to find the president guilty – a nigh impossibility given the Democrats’ 61-49 slight majority.
Understanding the Charges
Article 1: Abuse of Power, Bribery, Hobbs Act Extortion, & Honest Services Fraud
Hunter and James Biden – Joe’s son and brother, respectively – sold access to the then-VP while he was in office from 2009 to 2017 and threatened official actions against those who failed to pay or meet the Bidens’ conditions, according to the charge. Joe allegedly assisted by making appearances and calls and by meeting with business partners and made millions in the process. According to Article 1, by allowing his family to sell access to him – and by helping them in the process – Biden abused his power, accepted bribes, and even committed extortion under the Hobbs Act, a law that prohibits robbery or extortion that affects interstate or foreign commerce. Finally, and for the same reason as the general abuse of power charge, Article 1 charges Biden with Honest Services Fraud, a federal crime involving the misuse of an individual’s position or authority for personal gain or advantage.
Article 2: Obstruction of Justice
According to IRS whistleblower testimony, Biden’s campaign colluded with the DOJ to keep Hunter from being adequately investigated by the IRS. This constitutes both obstruction of justice and abuse of power, according to Mr. Steube. As a result, the DOJ refused to seek search warrants against Hunter.
Article 3: Fraud
In this particular case of fraud, James Biden is alleged to have recruited “investors” for business ventures that went nowhere. Steube alleges these investments were sold based on false or fraudulent pretenses.
Article 4: Financial Involvement in Drug and Prostitution Activities
Finally, the fourth article of impeachment charges Joe Biden with involvement in funding drugs and prostitutes for Hunter. This charge stems from the fact that Joe and Hunter share bank accounts and that Joe must have therefore been aware of the transactions. Based on this charge, it’s clear that Steube sees that as being equivalent to the elder writing the checks himself.
Everything and the Kitchen Sink – And Still Just Beginning
As extensive as the charges are, recent history suggests it’s only the beginning. Donald Trump was impeached – not once, but twice – but that wasn’t the end for him. After leaving the White House, he was indicted multiple times for a broad spectrum of charges – including some alleged crimes for which he had already been impeached only to be acquitted by the Senate. Joe Biden may soon stand impeached as well, but like Trump, he’ll almost certainly come out on top in the Senate trial. What Biden has to worry about is the indictments to come after the presidency.
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