House Speaker Kevin McCarthy supports an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden

By LISA MASCAO (AP Congress Correspondent)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Republican lawmakers may consider an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over unproven allegations of financial misconduct, in response to enormous pressure from the GOP to demonstrate support for Donald Trump ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Speaking on Capitol Hill Tuesday, McCarthy said questions House Republicans are raising about the Biden family’s finances need to be investigated. So far, he acknowledged, House investigations have not proven any wrongdoing, but an impeachment inquiry “allows Congress to get information so they can find out the truth.”

An impeachment inquiry by the Chamber would be a first step towards bringing articles of impeachment. Such an inquiry could be as long or as quick as the House decides, possibly stretching into the campaign season.

“We’re going to follow this through,” he said, first pitching the idea Monday night on Fox News.

It’s McCarthy’s strongest comment yet on a potential impeachment of Biden, after the Republican leader pushed back on earlier efforts by House conservatives to launch such an investigation.

With a slim majority in the House, McCarthy faces demands from Trump allies to raise his priorities. Trump himself asked at a Fox News town hall last week why Biden hasn’t been indicted yet.

McCarthy has not yet endorsed Trump, who is the GOP front-runner for president, or any other GOP candidates. He denied a report that he was considering House votes to overturn Trump’s two impeachments as another way to show his support.

McCarthy on Tuesday offered no time frame for launching an impeachment inquiry into Biden and said he had not spoken to Trump about a potential investigation. He declined to say whether he would make a presidential endorsement.

Asked if he felt pressure from Trump, he quipped: “Do I look like I’m under pressure?”

White House spokesman Ian Sams said the House GOP’s “willingness to go after POTUS regardless of the truth is apparently bottomless,” using shorthand for the president of the United States.

“Instead of focusing on the real issues Americans want us to address, like keeping inflation down or creating jobs, this is what the House GOP wants to prioritize,” Sams said on Twitter.

Republicans in Congress have stepped up investigations into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. House Republicans are probing the family’s finances, particularly payments the younger Biden received from Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that was embroiled in Trump’s first impeachment.

Hunter Biden has since reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to pay income taxes for several years. He is due to appear in court this week in the case.

But Republicans continue to pursue a debunked theory stemming from Trump’s first impeachment of Burisma. A confidential FBI informant claimed that Burisma officials in 2015 and 2016 sought to pay Biden $5 million each in exchange for their help in ousting a Ukrainian prosecutor who was allegedly investigating the company.

The Justice Department launched a review of the whistleblower’s claims in 2020 under Trump’s attorney general, William Barr. The investigation was closed eight months later with insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

Last week, however, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released the FBI’s so-called FD-1023 form — with unverified claims from the informant — providing a full public look at the allegations.

Grassley, who is working with House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., wants further investigation. Comer subpoenaed the FBI for the document.

Democrats on the Oversight panel countered with a four-page memo Monday denying the allegations.

In the memo, Democrats point to other documents, including those of Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has claimed direct knowledge of some of the conversations and disputed the allegations. Parnas said one of the Burisma officials told him the claims were not true.

Democrats also note that not only did Biden want Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin ousted, but other Western allies expressed concern that Shokin was failing to investigate corruption in Ukraine.

Biden has repeatedly said he never talks to his son about his overseas dealings.

McCarthy’s brief comments Monday night on Fox seemed more intentional than simple banter with the show’s host, Sean Hannity. He said Biden’s actions “rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry.”

The speaker’s appearance came as Trump met at his club in Bedminster, N.J., with Ohioans, including Rep. Jim Jordan, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee who is likely to lead an impeachment inquiry. A spokesman for Jordan said the visit was about matters unrelated to Ohio.

McCarthy declined to set a timetable for launching any impeachment inquiry and said Tuesday that the committees would continue their investigations.

The Oversight Committee is expected to hold a closed-door interview Monday with Devon Archer, a former business partner of Hunter Biden who was convicted of securities fraud in a separate case.

“We’re going to keep moving forward,” McCarthy said.

Republicans have complained about the administration’s slow response to some of the committee’s questions. McCarthy said that if the administration “denies us the ability to get the information we’re requesting, it would lead to an impeachment inquiry.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison said in a statement Tuesday that McCarthy “has ensured that the House majority is little more than an arm” of Trump’s 2024 campaign.

“It’s clear that Donald Trump is the real Speaker of the House,” Harrison said. “This is another political stunt designed to help Trump.”

Trump’s first impeachment by the House, which led to accusations that he pressured Ukraine to dig up Biden, all while threatening to withdraw military aid that President Volodymyr Zelensky sought to deter Russia, lasted several months in 2019. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.

Trump’s second impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol was swift — he was impeached by the House a week later for inciting an insurrection. He was again acquitted by the Senate.


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Farnoush Amiri, Kevin Freking and Jill Colvin contributed to this story.

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