House Republicans will open impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, Kevin McCarthy announces

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WASHINGTON − House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced that the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, escalating a Republican investigation that started in January when the GOP took majority control of the lower chamber.

The House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees will lead the inquiry after months of investigating Biden, whom Republicans say benefited from his son Hunter Biden's business dealings.

"Today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden," McCarthy said at a news conference Tuesday. "This logical next stop will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public."

McCarthy's announcement means the House will move forward on an impeachment inquiry into Biden without a formal vote on the House floor. Moderate Republican lawmakers have balked at rushing into the process, and Republicans control the House with just a four-seat majority. It was unclear whether an inquiry vote would pass with the necessary 218 votes in the lower chamber.

“I wholeheartedly embrace investigating and seeing if there was wrongdoing, and there sure is a lot of smoke. I just don’t know if there’s a lot of fire when it comes to Joe Biden himself,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told USA TODAY in an interview in August.

House Republicans have claimed, without substantial evidence, that Biden financially benefited from his son's foreign dealings. McCarthy has previously discussed an impeachment inquiry into Biden, arguing it would give House Republicans more oversight authority to investigate the president.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announces an impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Joe Biden to members of the news media outside his office at the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announces an impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Joe Biden to members of the news media outside his office at the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2023 in Washington, DC.

“House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they've turned up no evidence of wrongdoing," Ian Sams, special assistant to the president, said in a statement. "His own Republican members have said so. He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip flopped because he doesn't have support. This is extreme politics at its worst.”

The move comes as McCarthy is trying to rally hard-line conservatives in his caucus to support a plan to keep the government − and investigations into the Bidens − funded past Sept. 30. The House has just 11 working days to avert a shutdown. With an impeachment inquiry now in the mix, it was unclear whether lawmakers would have enough time to reach an agreement to fund the government.

"Opening impeachment despite zero evidence of wrongdoing by POTUS is simply red meat for the extreme rightwing so they can keep baselessly attacking him," Sams said.

McCarthy, who had to fight 15 rounds of voting to become speaker in January, is facing pushback and threats to be removed from some Republican members of the House who are still angry he negotiated with Biden to avert a debt default. Those members, among the most conservative lawmakers in the House, have been clamoring for an impeachment inquiry long before McCarthy ordered the investigation.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

US President Joe Biden holds a news conference in Hanoi on Sept. 10, 2023, after attending a summit of G20 leaders in India.
US President Joe Biden holds a news conference in Hanoi on Sept. 10, 2023, after attending a summit of G20 leaders in India.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin McCarthy announces Republican impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden