House Republicans Launch Impeachment Inquiry Into Joe Biden
Hageman promises to be ‘heavily involved’ in impeachment process
- Published In: Politics
- Last Updated: Sep 13, 2023
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on Tuesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
By Jacob Gardenswartz
Special to the Wyoming Truth
This story was updated with comments from U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) on September 13, 2023 as of 11 a.m. MT.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House returned to work on Tuesday with a tremendous amount to do and little time to do it.
Unless Congress acts, the federal government will run out of money at midnight on Oct. 1, forcing the shutdown of all but the most essential functions. On that same date, the farm bill — a package of agricultural spending provisions authorized every five years — will expire, imperiling crucial aid for farms and food assistance programs throughout the country. There’s also a White House supplemental budget request to fund disaster aid and assistance for Ukraine and the national defense authorization bill, not to mention all the usual work of House committees and caucuses.
But in remarks Tuesday morning, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) addressed none of the above matters. Instead, he directed top committee chairmen to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, leveling numerous allegations of wrongdoing that, he claimed, point to a “culture of corruption” in the White House.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy said. “We are committed to getting the answers for the American public — nothing more, nothing less. We will go wherever the evidence takes us.”
In doing so, McCarthy gave into the demands of the most right-leaning members of his caucus who have long called for Biden to be removed from office, chief among them Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.).
In a statement following McCarthy’s remarks, the Wyoming congresswoman “commend[ed]” the House Speaker “for his leadership on this important issue and for his decision to move forward with the inquiry.” Highlighting her position on the House Judiciary Committee, where any eventual articles of impeachment would first be brought, she promised to be “heavily involved” and a “leader” in the process.
Democrats — and some Republicans — show little interest in impeachment
As expected, Democratic leaders in the House lambasted the decision, claiming it would only further imperil the important work of the body.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans have launched an illegitimate impeachment inquiry that is a kangaroo court, fishing expedition and conspiracy theater rolled into one,” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters. “It’s a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.”
Senate leaders of both parties, meanwhile, showed little interest in the matter.
“I think it’s absurd. But we are not going to let it stop us here in the Senate from keeping the government open and working in a bipartisan way,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
“We’ve got our hands full here trying to get through the appropriations process,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added. “I think the best advice for the Senate is to do our job, and we’ll see how this plays out later.”
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso was the only member of Senate GOP leadership to express support for inquiry, telling the Wyoming Truth in a statement Wednesday morning that the House has “done an excellent job trying to uncover the tangled web of corruption that we’ve seen coming out of the Biden administration and specifically the Biden family.”
Though not expressly coming out in support of impeachment, Barraso added that, “Clearly there are facts that need further investigation. The House is headed in the right direction.”
Far-right members force McCarthy’s change of tune
McCarthy’s decision marks an about-face from his previously-stated position that an impeachment process cannot begin without a full vote of the House. When House Democrats began an impeachment inquiry into then-President Donald Trump in 2019, he chastised then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for ignoring historical precedent. Though the full House ultimately voted to begin an impeachment proceeding, the former speaker announced weeks earlier that their impeachment inquiry had started.
“Nancy Pelosi has changed the rules of the House. We’re just following through,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about his changed stance. He refused to answer questions about whether he believed Biden had committed an impeachable offense, noting only that “an impeachment inquiry allows us to get answers.”
The move also served as a tacit acknowledgement McCarthy lacked the requisite support in his conference to do so via a vote on the floor — with some more politically-vulnerable Republicans worried about casting such a ballot.
But the announcement comes as McCarthy faces extreme pressure from the right flank of his conference. Members of the House Freedom Caucus and other hardline conservatives — still fuming from McCarthy’s debt ceiling agreement with the White House — have all but threatened to shut down the government unless Republicans propose a budget with even steeper cuts than agreed to, rejecting proposals to pass even a short-term stopgap measure to give lawmakers more time to hash out a deal.
“We’re not interested in a continuing resolution that continues the policies and the spending of the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi era, and we’re not going to vote for it,” said Freedom Caucus member Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) in a Tuesday press conference.
Others have taken things even further. In remarks on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) threatened McCarthy’s speakership directly.
“Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role,” Gaetz said. “The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate, total compliance or remove you pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair.”
Speaking just moments before McCarthy formally announced the impeachment inquiry, Gaetz refused to give the speaker any credit, describing his decision as “a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives.” Even after McCarthy’s remarks, far-right lawmakers showed no signs of ramping down their rhetoric.
“The law firm of Schumer, McConnell, McCarthy and Jeffries… it keeps running up the bills,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The GOP investigation into Biden centers on his son Hunter and allegations the president was actively involved in his foreign business.
“President Biden knew of his family’s influence peddling schemes, approved of them, and likely personally profited from them,” Hageman’s statement claimed.
But while instances of wrongdoing by the younger Biden — a recovering addict with a troubled personal life — have been well-documented, Republicans have yet to find any conclusive evidence of the president’s involvement.
“House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” White House Spokesman Ian Sams said Tuesday in a statement posted to X, the site formally known as Twitter.
One day earlier, Democrats released a 14-page memo highlighting what they described as Republicans’ “overwhelming failure” investigating Biden. The memo noted that committees have amassed over 14,000 pages of banking records and financial reports and interviewed numerous witnesses — including two of Hunter Biden’s former business associates — without turning up any conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.
“This is a transparent effort to boost Donald Trump’s campaign,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in an accompanying statement. “Rather than admit this unavoidable truth about their failed investigation, House Republicans have mischaracterized, cherrypicked, and concealed evidence and recycled long debunked conspiracy theories originally peddled by Rudy Giuliani and Trump, all in humiliating subservience to Donald Trump’s petulant demand that they impeach President Biden.”