House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday directed top congressional Republicans to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, blowing past Republican divisions as he worked to appease far-Right lawmakers who have threatened to oust him amid a pitched fight over spending.
McCarthy said he would task three committees — Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means — with carrying out the inquiry into the president and his family as Republicans hunt for evidence of financial wrongdoing or corruption.
“Today I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” McCarthy told reporters outside his office at the Capitol.
McCarthy has signalled for weeks that he supports an impeachment inquiry of the president to give congressional investigators more power to dig into Biden’s family finances. Such an inquiry would mean that Republicans no longer have to justify their investigation as assisting in the work of legislating, McCarthy’s allies have said.
But Tuesday’s move was a break with the past and a major change in strategy for McCarthy, who previously indicated that he believed the full House should vote — as it has in past presidential impeachments — on whether to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.
The apparent decision not to seek such a vote was a tacit acknowledgement that he lacks the numbers to do so amid divisions among Republicans. Several Republicans, including those from districts Biden, won, indicated they did not support an impeachment inquiry unless investigators could tie the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the president’s son who engaged in transactions with overseas firms, to his father, or uncover evidence of high crimes and misdemeanours.
After months of digging, Republicans have found no such proof, though they argue they have received enough information to warrant more investigation.
In brief remarks at the Capitol, McCarthy accused Biden of lying about his knowledge of his son’s business dealings, and he raised questions about the millions Hunter Biden and other family members made from overseas firms. McCarthy also accused the Biden administration of giving his son Hunter “special treatment” in a criminal tax investigation against him.
“House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct,” McCarthy said.
New York Times News Service