By LISA MASCARO and FARNOUSH AMIRI (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to launch an impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, kicking off a historic proceeding before the 2024 election.
McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation has so far found a “culture of corruption” surrounding the Biden family, as Republicans investigate 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 require further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said outside the speaker’s office at the Capitol. “That’s why today I’m directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”
The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces increasing pressure from his right to take action against Biden while struggling to pass legislation needed to prevent a federal government shutdown at the end of the month .
An investigation is a step toward impeachment, and McCarthy has essentially laid out possible charges. He plans to call lawmakers behind closed doors several times this week, including for a meeting to discuss impeachment proceedings against Biden.
The Republican leader is once again at a political crossroads – trying to please his most conservative lawmakers and prevent his own downfall. It’s a familiar political quandary for McCarthy, who is juggling the impeachment inquiry and the threat of a government shutdown with no clear end result.
On September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, federal funding runs out and Congress must pass new funding legislation or risk a shutdown and disruption of government services.
Biden’s White House has dismissed the impeachment effort as politically motivated.
“Speaker McCarthy should not give in to the extreme, far-right members who are threatening to shut down the government unless they achieve a baseless, evidence-free impeachment of President Biden. “The consequences for the American people are too serious,” said White House spokesman Ian Sams.
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 impeached four times this year, including for trying to overturn the 2020 election, which Biden won.
“This is a transparent attempt to boost Donald Trump’s campaign by creating a false moral equivalence between Trump – the four-time impeached former president” and Biden, who has “no evidence of wrongdoing of any kind,” said top Democrat Jamie Raskin in the House Oversight Committee.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings, but so far have provided no clear evidence of a connection between them and the president. They showed some examples, most notably during the time when the elder Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president, when he spoke on the phone with his son and stopped by dinners his son hosted with business associates.
An impeachment inquiry would add weight to the House’s investigation, especially as it fights in court for access to the Biden family’s financial records.
Republicans claim the Justice Department did not fully investigate the allegations against Hunter Biden and say he received preferential treatment in a so-called sweetheart plea deal that recently collapsed. The Justice Department has appointed a special prosecutor for this investigation.
“We will go where the evidence takes us,” McCarthy said.
The White House has insisted that Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings. And Democrats on the Oversight Committee are stepping up their fight against what they say are unfounded allegations against him ahead of the 2024 election.
Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman of the Oversight Committee, is investigating the Biden family’s finances and is expected to seek bank records from Hunter Biden as the panel tries to track the flow of money.
On Tuesday, Comer asked the State Department to produce documents about the work Biden did as vice president during the Obama administration to clean up corruption in Ukraine. Comer wants to understand the State Department’s views on former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whom Biden and many Western allies sought to remove from office over corruption allegations.
This comes as federal funding is set to expire on September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, and Congress must pass new funding legislation or risk a shutdown and disruption of government services.
Conservatives, who make up McCarty’s majority, want to cut spending, and the far right is unwilling to approve the spending levels the speaker negotiated with Biden earlier this year.
McCarthy is trying to launch a 30-day stopgap measure to keep the government running until November 1, but the Conservatives are resisting a so-called continuing resolution (CR) as they seek cuts.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said late Monday as she left McCarthy’s office that she had “red lines” against any new money spent on COVID-19 vaccines or mandates or Russia’s war in Ukraine .
Another Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a top Trump ally, warns that McCarthy could face backlash from conservatives if he doesn’t forcefully push for spending cuts.
Earlier this year, Gaetz and other Republicans secured endorsements from McCarthy as he struggled to win their votes for House speaker.
Under House rules, McCarthy’s opponents can call a vote at any time to try to oust the speaker.
Associated Press writers Stephen Groves and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
https://www.twincities.com/2023/09/12/mccarthy-directs-house-panel-to-open-biden-impeachment-inquiry/ McCarthy directs House panel to launch impeachment inquiry into Biden – Twin Cities