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Probing "The Possibility of Prosecuting Biden" Underway and the Political Wings’ Struggle for Power in America
On Tuesday 12 September, the Republicans in the US House of Representatives initiated a process to hold President Joe Biden accountable with the aim of removing him. They have levelled accusations against him of financial impropriety related to his family's business dealings and charges of violations and "promoting a culture of corruption," according to the description given by Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
This step has been demanded by Trump and his right-wing supporters in Congress for months. On the other hand, the White House spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, stated, “They have spent all year investigating the President. That’s what they’ve spent all year doing and have turned up with no evidence — none — he — that he did anything wrong.” Meanwhile, the Special Assistant to the President, White House Counsel's Office Ian Sams described it as “extreme politics at its worst.”
We must first and foremost perceive that executive power in capitalist systems, especially in the US, is a tool in the hands of capitalists themselves, and individuals with substantial wealth, such as George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Trump in the US, or Berlusconi in Italy, who may assume power themselves. In Britain, the influence of British oil companies, which recently signed new contracts in Libya, is evident through their sponsorship of the "reopening" of the British Embassy in Tripoli three months ago. Ambassador Caroline Hurndall said to the attendees, "I am particularly proud of the cooperation between British companies and Libyan companies, which has a tangible impact on economic development in Libya. Many of these companies are represented here tonight."
Therefore, the deep state, epitomised by corporations, military-industrial complexes, internet giants, and social media companies, is the one that selects candidates for positions of power among political parties. It nominates its agents for administration positions, and these appointments change based on the requirements of domestic and international realities and the jostling among influential powerbases in US politics, guided by ideological, expedient, and class-based criteria.
This is because political conflict and jostling are inevitable between the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, and even within each party and within every wing of the powerbases, as seen in the discord between Mitch McConnell and Taylor Greene, who he described as "cancer for the Republican Party" despite both of them belonging to the Trump wing.
Historically, partisan conflict and rivalry can be observed through President Nixon's espionage against the Democratic Party and the opposition of parties and wings to some of the domestic and foreign policies of the US administration, regardless of the ruling party. For instance, some Republicans opposed Trump's handling of the Turkish president, and some Democrats opposed Biden's dealings with the ‘israeli’ government and Mohammed bin Salman.
However, this rivalry and clash represents one of the levels from which the targeting of President Biden emerged. There are real divisions within the deep state itself. Trump represents one of the factions within the deep state that supports the Republican Party and believes that his vision is the only successful one which can save America from the failure of liberals and conservatives. They argue that liberalism is morally corrupt and economically unsuccessful domestically, and they claim that the US is weak internationally. Therefore, they raised the slogan "America First." Meanwhile, conservatives are accused of not producing an alternative to the policy of "regime change" and wars.
As for the success of Trump's team, it is highlighted in the announcement made by FBI Director James Comey on 28 October 2016, just days before the presidential election, in which it was decided to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email system during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State. This came in the wake of the release of a recording by NBC, which is aligned with the liberal Democratic wing, containing offensive remarks by Trump about women, namely the Access Hollywood tape, and his less-than-stellar performance in the presidential debates, which had an impact on opinion polls. This intervention is considered a major factor in Hillary Clinton's defeat, as it significantly affected independent voters, who had long represented the swing vote in presidential elections. Trump's success and his wing's control of the Republican Party are also highlighted by his running for re-election as the sole Republican candidate, with no competing candidates on the party's ticket for the 2020 elections.
As for the vital issues that touch on national security, such as the stance towards China and Russia, there is a consensus between the two parties and the deep state regarding them, although there are reservations on some related issues. For example, the Republicans have reservations about the extent of US support for Ukraine, in addition to some disagreements on how to manage international relations, issues, and crises.
It is also imperative to realise that there are wings within the parties. The Democrats are divided between the old establishment wing aligned with the deep state, representing the centre-left, and the more progressive left-wing, such as the faction led by Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal, and Ro Khanna. This progressive wing had a significant influence in obstructing several of the Biden administration's initiatives. However, they had no choice but to align themselves with the administration after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the well-known "Roe v. Wade" abortion bill, which played a major role in the Democratic Party's success in limiting Republican gains in the midterm elections and achieving a Democratic majority in the 100-member Senate without the need for the Vice President's tie-breaking vote.
As for the Republican Party, it includes several wings, the most prominent being the new conservatives advocating for "regime change," the libertarians calling for "tax cuts and reducing the role of the federal government," in addition to the Trump loyalists like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the Never Trumpers like Representative Tom Rice and Senator Mitt Romney. The strength of the pro-Trump wing was notably demonstrated in the current 118th session of the House of Representatives, where The Freedom Caucus, which exploited its 45 seats out of 222 Republican seats in the House, an increase of 10 seats over the 212 Democrats, set strict conditions at the beginning of this year for supporting Kevin McCarthy's candidacy for Speaker of the House. These conditions included launching an investigation into Biden’s undertakings and amending the process of submitting a motion for the Speaker's impeachment with the signature of a single representative, as well as reverting to the fiscal responsibility approach, meaning rejecting an increase in spending. These conditions, which Trump dictated to McCarthy, were a major factor in pushing the Biden case forward, as he had pursued Trump throughout his tenure.
In this context, it is essential to note McCarthy's weakened position and the dominance of Trump's wing and political agenda. While McCarthy initially carried the banner of impeaching Biden, his approach in this matter was different, and he avoided getting into a battle to remove Biden in response to Trump's wishes. This is because he recognised the potential impacts of failing to prove Biden's wrongdoing on the popularity of the Republican Party, especially given Trump's behaviour after the elections and his speech on 6 January, along with the events at the Capitol Building, which cannot be defended.
However, in June 2023 he was forced to negotiate with Trump loyalist Representative Lauren Boebert to refer her request to the relevant committees to impeach Biden's handling of the U.S.-Mexico border issue, i.e., immigration, without consulting the party leadership. Trump's wing aims to redirect control over the Republican Party's agenda, including the House leadership and its members. Therefore, McCarthy faces a political dilemma that could determine his ability to stay in his position and gather enough support from Republican members for the state budget project, especially after the withdrawal of the vote on the defence budget bill, as he failed to secure enough votes to pass it. Trump used this opportunity to impose his conditions, including the impeachment of Biden, to negatively impact his electoral prospects.
Hence, Margorie Greene and other Republican representatives threatened not to vote in favour of spending bills if McCarthy did not initiate impeachment proceedings against Biden. McCarthy is obliged to pass a budget draft bill before the end of the US government's fiscal year at the end of September, especially since he has not been able to present any legislation that has gained sufficient support from his supporters so far. This is occurring amid a struggle within the Republican ranks between those who demand budget cuts and a return to pre-COVID levels of spending and those who want to take advantage of some spending programs that Biden and the Democrats successfully legislated for their benefit on their tenure and for their constituents. Meanwhile, Representative Matt Gaetz from the Freedom Caucus stated that he would not accept the announcement of an investigation into Biden and his family as an alternative to the rest of the agreement that McCarthy obtained to secure enough votes to become Speaker of the House at the beginning of the year after 13 rounds of voting.
On the other hand, Biden and the Democratic Party are banking on a lengthy process of the House of Representatives’ investigation, especially since McCarthy did not call for a vote to begin the trial but instead asked the committee chairs, all of whom are Trump supporters, to initiate an "investigation into the possibility of impeaching Biden." They also rely on those Republicans' inability to gather any evidence to convict him, which could negatively impact the Republican Party and Trump's wing in the election polls.
On this plane, the issue of "impeaching Biden" has without a doubt an electoral dimension. The Republicans are aware that impeaching Biden is not possible, but they aim to generate a negative impact on him and the Democrats in the elections by stirring up a political storm that casts suspicion of corruption on him. The charges against Biden have been investigated by the Republicans for 9 months without leading to his conviction. From this standpoint, the investigation could lead to a vote on the president's impeachment in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
However, removing him from office would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, making it a difficult prospect.
As for former President Trump, he can obtain a nomination for the presidency as long as there are no constitutional barriers preventing him from running for the White House, especially since preliminary opinion polls, after the four charges were directed at him federally and by the states of New York and Georgia, indicate that he still enjoys the support of a substantial electoral base that could enable him to win the nomination against his Republican competitors, for although he lost the support of Fox News after some of its program hosts had stepped down, he still has a collection of rightwing media channels and social media platforms, including his own channel Truth Social, that support and endorse him.
On a different note, there is a heated debate in the US regarding the age category of the political leadership in general and the ages of the most likely presidential candidates in the upcoming elections. Joe Biden is 81 years old, which is double the average age of the American population. Biden is considered the oldest president in the history of the US, and a poll showed that 75% of voters view Biden as too old for the presidency. Some argue that the political and legislative elite do not represent the American population in terms of age, as the average age of the members of Congress is twenty years older than the average age of the American people.
Multiple opinion polls have called for increased representation of different age groups and the imposition of age limits on political positions. The Democratic Party seems to be adopting an increasingly sympathetic stance on this issue, and it is not inconceivable that the Democratic Party will align with public sentiment and reconsider nominating Biden for a second presidential term, especially since the liberal ideological agenda led by the US in the world, characterised by the exclusion of other perspectives, is targeting the youth as one of its most important success factors, rejuvenating political life by bringing in new blood.
5 Rabi’ al-Awwal 1445h hizbuttahrir.org
20 September 2023