Two reports this week, by CNN and Politico, talk about the troubles Speaker Kevin McCarthy is having getting the 218 votes needed to initiate a Biden impeachment inquiry within his House conference. With a slim majority of 222 to 212 with one vacancy, McCarthy needs all but a handful of Republicans to support a formal vote on the House floor for an impeachment inquiry–which McCarthy has said this summer is his preference.
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However, with several House Republicans saying they are not convinced the evidence brought forth so far by House committee investigations proves corruption by Joe Biden, McCarthy is considering following the method then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) used to ramrod the first impeachment of President Trump in 2019 over Ukraine. Pelosi authorized an impeachment investigation by the House and then waited a month to hold a floor vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry.
The articles also note the looming budget battle in September with the prospect of a government shutdown impeding investigations into Biden.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and top Republicans have begun to strategize about how to move forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden this fall – the latest sign that the House GOP is seriously laying the groundwork to initiate rare proceedings against the current president.
In recent weeks, McCarthy has privately told Republicans he plans to pursue an impeachment inquiry into Biden and hopes to start the process by the end of September, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with the conversations. While McCarthy has already publicly threatened to launch an inquiry if allegations from IRS whistleblowers hold up or if the Biden administration does not cooperate with requests related to House Republicans’ Hunter Biden probe, sources say that McCarthy has sent even stronger signals about his intentions behind closed doors.
But leadership recognizes that the entire House Republican conference is not yet sold on the politically risky idea of impeachment. That’s why one of the biggest lingering questions – and something Republicans have been discussing in recent weeks – is whether they would need to hold a floor vote to formally authorize their inquiry, sources say. There is no constitutional requirement that they do so, and Republicans do not currently have the 218 votes needed to open an impeachment inquiry.
Skipping the formal vote, which would be a tough one for many of the party’s more vulnerable and moderate members, would allow Republicans to get the ball rolling on an inquiry while giving leadership more time to convince the rest of the conference to get on board with impeachment. During former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, House Democrats ended up voting to both formalize their inquiry and set parameters for the process after initially holding off on doing so amid divisions within their ranks.
…And one GOP lawmaker, granted anonymity to speak more freely, offered an even blunter assessment: “There’s no evidence that Joe Biden got money, or that Joe Biden, you know, agreed to do something so that Hunter could get money. There’s just no evidence of that. And they can’t impeach without that evidence. And I don’t I don’t think the evidence exists.”
Now, four years later, House Republicans under McCarthy are considering borrowing a page from the Pelosi playbook their leader once scorned as they look to start an impeachment of President JOE BIDEN. According to CNN’s Mel Zanona, GOP lawmakers are discussing a strategy that would start an inquiry without a formal House vote — reporting we can confirm from our own conversations last night.
The irony — should that plan hold — is rich, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Democrats, who spent the better part of Trump’s first impeachment warding off GOP attacks on an “illegitimate” impeachment inquiry.
It’s an only-in-Washington tale of hypocrisy, on one hand. On the other, McCarthy has his reasons: Most importantly, he doesn’t have the 218 GOP votes needed to start the inquiry — at least not yet.
Moderate Republicans in Biden-won districts are still privately fretting that there’s no evidence to back up their conservative colleagues’ accusations that the president benefited from his son’s swampy gigs, where HUNTER BIDEN was paid millions of dollars by foreign entities seeking to rent the clout of the Biden name.
“We haven’t proven the case for impeachment yet,” one senior GOP aide told us last night. “How can you start impeachment? We haven’t done what you need to do to start impeachment. There is no way we’d get the votes.”
Several House Republicans who have seen the evidence through their work on the three committees investigating Biden (Way and Means, Oversight and Judiciary) have seen enough to call for Biden’s immediate impeachment and removal from office. However some of that evidence is being kept secret from the whole House by the Biden administration under strict secrecy rules or by obstruction and subterfuge. McCarthy has said a formal impeachment inquiry would give the House enhanced powers to investigate Biden.
Biden scandal spokesman Ian Sams criticized McCarthy for considering an impeachment inquiry without a floor vote in a comment posted Monday, “Four years ago, McCarthy condemned the notion of pursuing impeachment without a vote. He called the idea “unprecedented and politically motivated” and said it “undermines the voting privileges afforded to each Member and the constituents they represent””
Four years ago, McCarthy condemned the notion of pursuing impeachment without a vote
He called the idea “unprecedented and politically motivated” and said it “undermines the voting privileges afforded to each Member and the constituents they represent” https://t.co/xs7f8gFrPJ pic.twitter.com/GvdJTdr6tG
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) August 28, 2023