Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said House Republicans’ new impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is “not inappropriate,” despite a lack of evidence to link Biden to his son Hunter’s business dealings abroad.
“The fact that the White House has been singularly silent and coddled Hunter Biden suggests an inquiry is not inappropriate,” Romney told reporters Tuesday.
The Utah senator, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in both of his impeachment trials, accused the White House of not being forthcoming regarding what Biden knew about his son’s business dealings during the years when he was heavily involved in foreign policy as vice president.
Still, Romney said the opening of an inquiry is “very different” from the launch of formal impeachment proceedings against Biden, reiterating that there has been “no allegation” that he committed a high crime or misdemeanor.
“Inquiring is something the president and the White House could have avoided, but they’ve been pretty quiet,” Romney said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in his announcement Tuesday that he is directing a House committee to launch an impeachment inquiry into Biden, said that Republicans have “uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct.” He claimed that “taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.”
But many Republicans remain skeptical about the case against Biden.
“The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden ― if there’s evidence ― linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor,” conservative Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said over the weekend. “That doesn’t exist right now.”
“I have no idea what they’re talking about,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of Senate GOP leadership. “I don’t want to see impeachment being used as an everyday instrument. I don’t think that’s what it’s intended for.”
McCarthy is facing heavy pressure from his right flank, some of whom have even threatened to oust him as speaker. One prominent McCarthy detractor, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), gave a speech on the House floor on Tuesday in which he accused McCarthy of reneging on the deals he made with his conference in order to become speaker in January.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe McCarthy is pushing ahead with impeachment as a way to appease conservatives and help him win votes to fund the government and maximize his negotiating position in a coming budget showdown with the Senate.
“It provides him one more step in keeping folks with him in the process,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said. “As long as he gets a coalition together, the better off we are to get something done.”
“They can’t fund the government unless they come up with bogus nonsense about the president,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said. “I think it’s a really sad state of affairs. My impression is McCarthy has no choice because he’s held hostage by his extreme, extreme right wing.”