McCarthy's Impeachment Inquiry into Biden
McCarthy Launches Biden Impeachment Inquiry
On September 12, Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), facing mounting pressure from far-right lawmakers, officially launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden for allegedly profiting off of his son’s overseas business dealings. This decision has elicited a score of criticisms from both Democrats and Republicans alike, many of whom question whether there is enough evidence to warrant an investigation in the first place.
“House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct,” McCarthy told the press during his announcement. “Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption… These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”
McCarthy went on to state that the impeachment inquiry will be led by Chairman James Comer (R-KY) of the Oversight Committee, in coordination with Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) of the Judiciary Committee, and Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) of the Ways and Means Committee. The inquiry largely centers around the five-year investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings, through which, Republicans assert, President Biden corruptly used his influence for personal enrichment. If found guilty of broadly defined “high crimes and misdemeanors” as stated within Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, President Biden would become the fourth President in American history to be impeached—following Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and the twice-impeached Donald Trump.
The investigation, however, has not yet uncovered enough incriminating evidence beyond two misdemeanors of tax evasion. Hunter Biden pled guilty to these charges in June, although a federal judge placed the deal on hold in July. Moreover, the only instances in which Biden was seemingly connected to his son’s finances took place during his Vice Presidency under the Obama administration. Relevant cases in question include phone calls with his son and attending dinners hosted by Hunter Biden and his business partners.
Some have also noted that the timing and decision to go forward with the impeachment inquiry seems motivated by former President Trump’s more recent legal scandals.
As Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri from AP News point out, “With Donald Trump now the Republican front-runner to challenge Biden in next year’s election, GOP allies are working to detract attention from the indicted former president’s legal challenges and turn a negative spotlight on Biden.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized the impeachment inquiry as being partisanly motivated, though he expressed sympathy towards Speaker McCarthy’s predicament. The Speaker had faced pressure from hardline Republicans, who were threatening to remove him as Speaker - a motion which ultimately succeeded on October 3 - and triggered a government shutdown by refusing to approve federal budget bills that are due at the end of the month.
"I have sympathy with Speaker McCarthy," Schumer stated. "He's in a difficult position. But sometimes you got to tell these people who are way off the deep end, who have no interest in helping the American people, who just want to pursue their own witch hunts—that they can't go forward.”
Nonetheless, some Republicans, including House Representatives Matt Gaetz (R- FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), remain strongly adamant in pursuing further investigations. Matt Gaetz, immediately after McCarthy’s speech, even doubled down on his threats of replacing the House Speaker.
"I rise today to serve notice: Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role," Gaetz stated during a House floor speech. "The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate, total compliance or remove you pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair…Moments ago, Speaker McCarthy endorsed an impeachment inquiry. This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more. We must move faster.” In the following weeks, Rep. Gaetz successfully led the push to oust McCarthy from his Speakership.
However, it is still uncertain if McCarthy will even be able to muster enough votes for impeachment, given the demonstrated skepticism of around 20 Republicans, many of whom are centrists, who feel the investigated claim hasn’t been adequately substantiated. Furthermore, even if the impeachment vote were to somehow pass, the move would most certainly be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democrats maintain a slim majority and where a two-thirds vote is necessary for conviction.
The White House so far has denied any criminality regarding the connection between President Biden and his son’s business dealings.
“House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they've turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” said White House spokesperson Ian Sams on X (formerly known as Twitter) in response to the impeachment inquiry. “His own GOP members have said so. [McCarthy] vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now, he flip-flopped because he doesn't have support. Extreme politics at its worst.”
As of writing, developments regarding the impeachment inquiry are underway, and it is still unclear whether the potential government shutdown will greatly influence the proceedings.