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McCarthy Says No Biden Impeachment Without Full House Vote

The move will likely upset several Republicans in the House, who had called on McCarthy to open the inquiry on his own.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol.

Late last week, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California) told a right-wing news outlet that he would only open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden after a full vote of the House of Representatives, despite calls from other Republican lawmakers to fast-track the process.

Typically, impeachment inquiries only begin after the full chamber formally approves the idea — while circumventing that method wouldn’t be illegal or unconstitutional, it could be viewed as a deeply partisan action. In 2019, Democrats had flirted with the idea of having then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) open an inquiry into former President Donald Trump without such a vote (a move that was also opposed by McCarthy), but Pelosi ultimately opted to hold a full House vote, which passed.

By saying he’ll abide by the same standard now, McCarthy makes the task of opening an impeachment inquiry more difficult for pro-impeachment Republicans, as several Republicans in the House — particularly the 14 who represent swing districts that Biden won in the 2020 presidential race — are reticent to do so, believing an impeachment vote could harm the party (and them personally) in next year’s elections.

“Impeachment — even talking about it — is not something that we’re looking forward to,” an anonymous Republican lawmaker told Axios earlier this summer.

The move will likely upset Republicans in the House who wanted McCarthy to fast-track the impeachment process for Biden.

McCarthy told Breitbart that impeachment “is a serious matter,” and that he wouldn’t use it “for political purposes.” (However, many in his party have admitted that any impeachment effort against Biden would primarily serve to make the president look bad in the runup to the 2024 election.)

“If we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person,” McCarthy said.

Assuming a full quorum is met (and that every Democrat votes against it), McCarthy’s declaration means that all but four Republican lawmakers in the House will have to vote in favor of impeachment in order for the process to advance.

Members of the Republican caucus who are pushing for an impeachment of Biden have cited dubious allegations that he engaged in shady business dealings with his son, Hunter Biden. So far, Republicans haven’t produced concrete evidence that the president was involved in anything improper or illegal.

The White House has decried the apparent escalation of impeachment talk from the GOP in recent weeks.

Republicans “have absolutely no grounds for impeaching the president,” a White House official told Politico.

Others suggested that calls for impeachment served only to bolster Trump’s chances in the 2024 race against the incumbent Biden.

“In a bid for Trump’s 2024 campaign and to exact political revenge, these same Republicans are peddling the same debunked conspiracy theories that have been talked about for about five years,” a Democrat close to the Biden campaign said. “They have been investigated over and over. They have failed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing by the president and Americans see right through it.”

Trump has also been demanding that Republicans impeach Biden. In a Truth Social post last month, the former president made unfounded claims about Biden being bribed and complained about the two impeachments he himself had faced while in office — one for refusing to provide military aid to Ukraine unless that country’s leaders provided him political “dirt” on Biden in the lead-up to the 2020 election, and the other for inciting an attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of his loyalists after he lost the 2020 presidential race.

“Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION,” Trump warned Republicans.

Recent polling suggests that vulnerable Republicans who are skeptical about impeaching Biden may have good reason to be hesitant. According to a recent survey from Public Policy Polling, 56 percent of voters agree that an impeachment inquiry into Biden would amount to “a political stunt,” while only 38 percent said they’d perceive the move as a “serious” investigation.

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