House Speaker Kevin McCarthy threw his support behind opening an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning, amid growing calls by the most extreme members of his conference.
The speaker announced his support for an inquiry but denied it was due to pressure from the most right-wing voices in the House Republican conference.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” Mr McCarthy said in a brief televised statement.
Mr McCarthy’s words come despite the fact that House Republicans have yet to find evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Biden or any evidence that he directly benefited from the business dealings of his son Hunter Biden, specifically mentioning the younger Biden’s work with Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Indeed, Mr McCarthy mostly focused on Mr Biden’s alleged foreign business dealings, claiming that more than $20m went to shell companies of Biden family members.
“Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company,” he said.
Mr McCarthy also criticised the fact that “the president’s family” has received “special treatment” by “Biden’s own administration.” The speaker’s words likely allude to Hunter Biden’s failed plea deal, despite the fact it was brokered with David Weiss, a US attorney whom former president Donald Trump nominated and whom the current president asked to stay on to continue the investigation into the younger Mr Biden.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” Mr McCarthy said in a brief statement after which he did not take any questions.
Many conservative House Republicans – including Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), an ally of the speaker, and Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) – have pushed for the House to impeach Mr Biden.
The investigation will be led by Mr Comer, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith.
But Mr McCarthy’s call also comes as the House faces a looming deadline to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open. The US government will run out of money on 30 September.
Congress will likely pass a continuing resolution before the end of the month to allow negotiations to continue.
Mr McCarthy’s move comes after he faced serious criticism from many conservatives for the bipartisan agreement his leadership team brokered with the White House to lift the debt limit.
Shortly after Mr McCarthy delivered his address, Mr Gaetz was set to deliver an address criticising Mr McCarthy’s leadership. The Florida Republican voted against making Mr McCarthy speaker earlier this year and has called for impeaching Mr Biden since before Republicans won back the House last year.