Speaker McCarthy greets U.S. President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address in January 2023. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA
WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 election.
McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation so far has found a “culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took ofﬁce.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said outside the speaker’s ofﬁce at the Capitol. “That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”
The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces mounting pressure from his right flank to take action against Biden while he also is struggling to pass legislation needed to avoid a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.
An inquiry is a step toward impeachment, and McCarthy essentially outlined potential charges. He is planning to convene lawmakers behind closed doors multiple times this week, including for a meeting to discuss the Biden impeachment.
The Republican leader is once again at a political crossroads — trying to keep his most conservative lawmakers satisﬁed and prevent his own ouster. It’s a familiar political bind for McCarthy, who is juggling the impeachment inquiry and the government shutdown threat with no clear end game.
Government funding is to run out on Sept. 30, which is the end of the federal ﬁscal year, and Congress must pass new funding bills or risk a shutdown and the interruption of government services. Biden’s White House has dismissed the impeachment push as politically motivated.
“Speaker McCarthy shouldn’t cave to the extreme, far-right members who are threatening to shut down the government unless they get a baseless, evidence-free impeachment of President Biden. The consequences for the American people are too serious,” White House spokesman Ian Sams has said.
The impeachment push comes as Trump, who was twice impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate, faces more serious charges in court. Trump has been indicted four times this year, including for trying to overturn the 2020 election Biden won.
“This is a transparent effort to boost Donald Trump’s campaign by establishing a false moral equivalency between Trump — the four time-indicted former president” and Biden, who faces “zero evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
House Republicans are probing the business dealings of Hunter Biden but so far have not produced hard evidence linking them and the president. They have shown a few instances largely during the time the elder Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president when he spoke by phone with his son and stopped by dinners his son was hosting with business partners.
An impeachment inquiry would provide more heft to the House investigation, especially as it battles in court for access to Biden family ﬁnancial records.
Republicans contend the Justice Department has not fully probed the allegations against Hunter Biden, and say he received preferential treatment in what they call a sweetheart plea deal that recently collapsed. The Department of Justice has appointed a special prosecutor in that probe.
“We will go wherever the evidence takes us,” McCarthy said.