The US Speaker has opened an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. Here’s what that means

Key Points
  • US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for the impeachment inquiry.
  • McCarthy says there is a “culture of corruption” surrounding the Biden family.
  • Several Republican lawmakers have opposed the effort.
US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he is directing a committee to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings.
McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation so far has found a “culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office.
McCarthy said outside the Speaker’s office at the Capitol: “These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,”
“That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”

The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces mounting pressure from conservatives in his party to take action against Biden while he also is struggling to pass legislation needed to avoid a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.

Fellow Republicans oppose inquiry

McCarthy is launching the inquiry on his own, without a House vote, as he may not have enough support from his slim Republican majority for approval.
Several Republican lawmakers oppose the effort. The White House called it “extreme politics at its worst”.

“House Republicans have been investigating the president for nine months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said.

A man in a suit speaking at press conference

Special adviser to the US president and spokesperson for the White House Counsel’s Office, Ian Sams at a press conference in Washington D.C. Source: EPA / Shawn Thew

An inquiry is a step toward impeachment, and McCarthy essentially outlined potential charges.

He is planning to convene lawmakers behind closed doors this week to discuss the Biden impeachment, and top House chairmen are heading on Wednesday to brief the Senate.

Move puts McCarthy at a ‘familiar’ crossroad

The Republican leader is once again at a political crossroads – trying to keep his most conservative lawmakers satisfied and prevent his own ouster.
It is a familiar political bind for McCarthy, who is juggling the impeachment inquiry and a government shutdown threat with no clear end game.

Government funding is to run out on 30 September, which is the end of the federal fiscal year, and Congress must pass new funding bills or risk a shutdown and the interruption of government services.

A close-up of a man in a suit. There are US flags in the background.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy says he’s directing a House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Source: AP / Jacquelyn Martin

The White House has insisted Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings. And Democrats are stepping up to fight against what they view as unfounded claims against him ahead of the 2024 election as Republicans attempt to blur the lines with Donald Trump, who is the Republican frontrunner in a comeback bid for the White House.

Former president Trump was twice impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the impeachment inquiry “absurd”.

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