Republican legislators in the United States have opened the first hearing of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, promising to delve into allegations of corruption against the Biden family.
The Republicans have accused Biden and his family of personally profiting from policies he pursued as vice president during former President Barack Obama’s administration between 2009 and 2017.
Separately, they also allege the Justice Department interfered with a tax investigation of Hunter Biden.
The Republican lawmakers have yet to provide any evidence of improper conduct by President Biden.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing began on Thursday morning, September 28, the Republican chair of the panel, James Comer, said the probe so far “has uncovered a mountain of evidence revealing how Joe Biden has used his public office for his family’s financial gain”.
“For years, President Biden has lied to the American people about his knowledge of and participation in his family’s corrupt business schemes,” said Comer, referencing allegations around the foreign business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter.
Republicans have tried to investigate the Biden family’s affairs since the party took control of the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year, but Democrats have slammed the impeachment push as politically motivated and baseless.
The White House also has rejected the corruption allegations, with a spokesman on Thursday calling the inquiry “extreme politics at its worst”.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy directed House committees earlier this month to open the impeachment process, saying investigations up until that point had uncovered a “culture of corruption” around the Biden family.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy told reporters on September 12.
But legislators from the Democrat party, Biden’s party say the impeachment drive aims to distract from former President Donald Trump’s legal troubles and hurt Biden’s re-election campaign.
Trump is facing four separate criminal indictments but remains the frontrunner in the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination race, setting up a likely rematch against Biden next year.
The Biden impeachment inquiry comes as McCarthy has faced mounting pressure from the Republican party’s right flank to take action against Biden.
Thursday’s hearing is not expected to feature witnesses with information about the Bidens or the business work of the US president’s son, Hunter.