Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, starting historic proceedings before the 2024 election.
McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation has so far found a “culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans investigate Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s business dealings since before the Democratic presidency took over.
“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. “So today I’m directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.”
The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces increasing pressure from his right to take action against Biden as he struggles to pass legislation needed to avert a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.
McCarthy plans to convene with lawmakers behind closed doors multiple times this week, including a meeting to discuss impeachment of Biden.
(LR) U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speak as they leave the U.S. Capitol after the Friends of Ireland luncheon on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Biden’s White House has dismissed the impeachment push as politically motivated.
“Speaker McCarthy should not cave to extreme, far-right members who are threatening to shut down the government unless they do a baseless, evidence-free impeachment of President Biden. The consequences for the American people are dire,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said. .
The impeachment push comes as former President Donald 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 Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said, “This is a transparent attempt to embolden Donald Trump’s campaign by establishing a false moral equivalence between Trump — the four-time impeached former president.”
House Republicans are investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings but have so far produced no hard evidence linking him to the president. The elder Biden pointed to a couple of instances when he spoke to his son on the phone when he was Barack Obama’s vice president, and when his son stopped by for dinner with business partners.
Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman leading the oversight committee, is digging deeper into the Biden family’s finances and is expected to seek banking records for Hunter Biden as the panel tries to follow the flow of money.
Related: Hunter Biden faces new charges from prosecutors as plea deal unfolds
On Tuesday, Comer demanded the State Department provide 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 have sought to remove from office over corruption allegations.
The White House has insisted that Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings. And Democrats on the Oversight Committee are moving to fight what they see as unfounded claims against Biden ahead of the 2024 election, as the president seeks re-election.
It comes as federal government funding is set to run out on Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, and Congress must pass new funding bills or risk a shutdown and disruption of government services.
Conservatives who power McCarthy’s majority want spending cuts, and the hard right is unwilling to approve spending levels the speaker negotiated with Biden earlier this year.
McCarthy is trying to float a 30-day stopgap measure to keep the government running until Nov. 1, but conservatives have been cutting cuts, called continuing resolutions, or CRs.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., came out of McCarthy’s office late Monday to say she has a “red line” against spending any new money on a COVID-19 vaccine or mandate or Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Another Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a top Trump aide, is warning that McCarthy could face pushback from conservatives if he doesn’t push hard for spending cuts.
Earlier in the year, Gaetz and other Republicans secured deals from McCarthy as he fought to win their votes to become House speaker.
Under House rules, McCarthy’s opponents are able to call a vote at any time to try to remove the speaker from office.