Two California Republicans who represent San Joaquin Valley congressional districts with Democratic majorities say they support the investigation into President Joe Biden.
“I think there’s enough groundwork here to absolutely justify moving forward with an investigation,” Rep. John Duarte, R-Modesto, Punchbowl. “So I think it’s a great middle step. Let’s just get all the facts out there and then decide what to do next.”
“Impeachment is one of the highest powers available to Congress, and not something I take lightly,” Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, told The Bee Thursday.
The districts of Duarte and Valadao, newly drawn in 2022 based on census data, would have voted for Biden by more than 10% margin in 2020.
Valadao was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He is one of two still in Congress.
“I appreciate Speaker McCarthy prioritizing the need for an investigation, facts and evidence,” Valadao said. “This investigation makes all investigative tools available to Congress so we can determine the facts and get answers to some of the allegations against President Biden and his family.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched the investigation into Biden on Tuesday about his son’s business dealings. Impeachment experts say it is the weakest presidential investigation in history.
“Biden’s Republican followers have absolutely zero, zip, bupkis, on any matter that can be unreliable,” Frank Bowman, author of High crimes and misdemeanors: A history of impeachment for the age of Trumptold TIME.
The House can impeach a president or other federal officials for committing “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Conviction by the Senate can remove them from office.
Launching a presidential impeachment inquiry was rare until the 1970s. A growing partisan divide, increased scrutiny and awareness of the actions of presidents, and a desire to limit executive powers have all led Congress to threaten impeachment more frequently.
The House has voted to impeach former presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Trump in 2019 and 2021. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 to avoid impeachment.
Hard-right Republicans called on McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to open an investigation into whether Biden benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings. Hunter Biden has been investigated by the US Department of Justice and was indicted on federal firearms charges on Thursday.
GOP leaders claim Biden lied about his knowledge of Hunter’s work.
“Despite these serious allegations, it appears that the president’s family has been afforded special treatment by Biden’s own administration,” McCarthy said Tuesday, “treatment that he would not otherwise have received had he not been related to the president .”
Duarte and Valadao both had close elections in 2022, with Duarte besting former Assemblyman Adam Gray in California’s 13th Congressional District by less than a point. Valadao defeated former Assemblyman Rudy Salas in the 22nd by three points.
Both will have rematches with those opponents in 2024. Analysts say Duarte’s race is a toss-up. Some forecasters give Valadao a slight edge over Democratic opponents.
“Americans deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials,” Valadao said of the impeachment inquiry, “and I will closely monitor the facts that emerge from this investigation.”
This story was originally published September 14, 2023, 1:23 p.m.
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