Speaker McCarthy says House to start an impeachment inquiry into President Biden

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters outside of his Capitol office on Tuesday.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters outside of his Capitol office on Tuesday.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday the House would initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

“I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” he said. “This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers” that the American people want.

The move comes amid increasing pressure on the Republican from his party’s right flank. He said in late July if federal agencies fail to hand over materials that committees are requesting that would “rise to the level” of an impeachment inquiry, but stressed he was still waiting for committees to recommend steps.

A spokesperson for the White House called McCarthy’s decision “extreme politics at its worst.” Ian Sams said on X (formally known as Twitter) that House Republicans had not turned up any evidence of wrongdoing during the past nine months, and slammed McCarthy for not holding a vote to open the inquiry, as he had once pledged he would do.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

McCarthy did did not take any questions after his announcement. He recently told Breitbart that any impeachment inquiry “would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.”

But it’s unclear whether any formal resolution would have the votes to pass. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House and he can only afford to lose four votes on a measure that is not expected to get any support from Democrats. Several politically vulnerable moderate Republicans, like Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., have been skeptical of an impeachment inquiry.

Buck said this weekend on MSNBC that while the House committees are surfacing information about Biden’s son Hunter, it is clear that impeachment cannot get through the Senate.

“There is not a strong connection at this point between the evidence on Hunter Biden and any evidence connecting the president,” Buck said. “So I am more focused on the issues that I think Americans care deeply about.”

House Republicans haven’t uncovered any evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden. Some are alleging corruption around his son Hunter’s business dealings when Biden was vice president. But House committee chairmen who are pushing impeachment haven't produced any evidence that the president received any financial benefit.

Several GOP moderates like Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., have said publicly they weren’t there yet and need to see additional evidence to back up a case for any articles of impeachment. The speaker told Breitbart earlier this month that he wouldn’t move forward without a floor vote, saying: “If we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.”

Trump weighed in recently on his social media platform with a message to House Republicans: “Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION.”

McCarthy said that Biden lied to “the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings.”

He said witnesses have testified that Biden joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions, and that “nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies.”

“Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners, about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company,” McCarthy said, adding: “It appears that the president’s family has been offered special treatment by Biden’s own administration treatment that not otherwise would have received if they were not related to the President. These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”

McCarthy did not take questions nor did he say that there would be an actual vote to authorize the inquiry, or whether the steps he ordered the committees to take are different from what they are already doing.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.