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McCarthy says info about Biden family 'rises to level of an impeachment inquiry'

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that allegations regarding President Biden's family rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry.
Graeme Sloan
Sipa USA via Reuters
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that allegations regarding President Biden's family rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry.

Updated July 25, 2023 at 4:29 PM ET

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says House Republicans are moving closer to launching an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

McCarthy said information regarding financial dealings of Biden's son and testimony from whistleblowers saying they witnessed political interference are moving the House toward a process to formally launch an impeachment probe.

"As more of this continues to unravel it rises to the level of an impeachment inquiry," McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, noting that his comments echo similar statements he made in a Fox News interview Monday evening.

The speaker referred to an allegation reported by the New York Post from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, the president's son, who claims then-Vice President Biden was on multiple phone calls organized by his son about deals involving foreign companies. Archer is scheduled to sit down for a closed-door interview with the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

"We have a president who told the American public in October that he's never spoken to his family about any of this. He said no one in the family had ever gotten money from China," McCarthy said, without offering any evidence to corroborate the latest allegations.

McCarthy also pointed to testimony from two IRS whistleblowers who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last week. The two witnesses said the investigation into Hunter Biden's tax issues was slow walked at the tax agency and that he received preferential treatment and avoided more serious felony tax charges because the statute of limitations expired as the probe was underway. Three House committees have launched a joint investigation of the tax issues and have asked additional agency officials to appear. Last month, Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee after it had released transcripts of the whistleblowers interviews, arguing that the material was distorted and the committee improperly disclosed tax information.

Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to his taxes last month and is expected to appear in court in Delaware on Wednesday.

McCarthy emphasized that an impeachment inquiry is the process of gathering additional information, saying, "it's not impeachment. It allows Congress to investigate by giving Congress the full power to get the information they need." He said Congress has "an responsibility for investigation." The speaker didn't give any timeline for launching a formal probe but noted that some Justice officials were planning to appear before committees in the coming weeks, including David Weiss, the prosecutor nominated by former President Trump who led the investigation into Hunter Biden.

McCarthy said he has not talked to Trump about any impeachment probe. But several far right House Republicans argue that because Democrats voted twice to impeach Trump it is appropriate to move forward now to remove Biden. Last month the speaker pushed back on an effort to hold an impeachment vote on a resolution introduced by Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert that cited the president's immigration policies, and instead the House voted to refer the matter to committees to investigate.

Pressed on whether an impeachment vote would put vulnerable House Republicans in a tough spot politically, the speaker sidestepped the question but insisted he "would never use impeachment for political purposes" and that it's the GOP majority's job to look at information that people bring before Congress. Many moderate House GOP members have opposed moving forward with any House votes to impeach the president or any cabinet officials without first building a case with specific evidence of any wrongdoing.

Asked about the speaker floating an impeachment probe related to Hunter Biden's business dealings, White House Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "I'm not going to get into what the House Republicans may or may not do. What I can speak to is what the president is focused on. He's focused on real priorities that the American families care about. He's focused on the American family, but they want to focus on his family."

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Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.