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Speaker McCarthy says House to start an impeachment inquiry into President Biden

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks at the Capitol on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks at the Capitol on Tuesday.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday the House would initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

"I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden," he said. "This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers" that the American people want.

The move comes amid increasing pressure on the Republican from his party's right flank. He said in late July if federal agencies fail to hand over materials that committees are requesting that would "rise to the level" of an impeachment inquiry, but stressed he was still waiting for committees to recommend steps.

It's unclear whether the speaker has the votes to pass a resolution formally kicking off the probe — with his narrow majority he can only afford to lose four votes.

House Republicans haven't uncovered any evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden. Some are alleging corruption around his son Hunter Biden's business dealings when Biden was vice president. But House committee chairmen who are pushing impeachment haven't produced any evidence that the president received any financial benefit.

Several GOP moderates like Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., have said publicly they weren't there yet and need to see additional evidence to back up a case for any articles of impeachment. The speaker told Breitbartearlier this month that he wouldn't move forward without a floor vote, saying: "If we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People's House and not through a declaration by one person."

Trump weighed in recently on his social media platform with a message to House Republicans: "Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION."

McCarthy said that Biden lied to "the American people about his own knowledge of his family's foreign business dealings."

He said witnesses have testified that Biden joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions, and that "nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies."

"Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden's business partners, about Hunter's role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company," McCarthy said, adding: "It appears that the president's family has been offered special treatment by Biden's own administration treatment that not otherwise would have received if they were not related to the President. These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives."

McCarthy did not take questions nor did he say that there would be an actual vote to authorize the inquiry, or whether the steps he ordered the committees to take are different from what they are already doing.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.
Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.