US House panel sets first Biden impeachment inquiry hearing for next week

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at the White House in Washington

By Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold its first committee hearing on Sept. 28 on its long-shot impeachment inquiry against Democratic President Joe Biden launched by Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week.

The House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Representative James Comer, said it will explore constitutional and legal questions at the hearing, and also intends to subpoena personal and business bank records of Hunter Biden, the president's son, and James Biden, the president's brother.

Republicans allege that Biden profited from Hunter's business dealings while serving as vice president between 2009 and 2017 but have not released any concrete evidence of misconduct. Biden, who is running for re-election next year, has denied wrongdoing.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams on Tuesday accused Republicans of trying to "distract from their own chaotic inability to govern" by "staging a political stunt." Sams said they had not requested any information from the White House.

"Until they do that, we're just going to wait and see what they do," Sams said.

Two other House committees also are taking part in the inquiry.

The Constitution establishes an impeachment process under which Congress can remove a president from office. The House can approve formal charges - articles of impeachment - by a simple majority. The Senate then holds a trial and can remove a president with a two-thirds majority vote. Democrats control the Senate, making conviction and removal highly unlikely.

McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry after facing pressure from far-right lawmakers in his party who were furious that Democrats, when they controlled the House, impeached Republican former President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. Trump was acquitted both times by the Senate.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Washington; additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham and Andy Sullivan)