House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on Tuesday on serious allegations of corruption.
One liberal reporter grilled McCarthy on what constitutes an “impeachable offense.”
Earlier that week, Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., had outlined the goals for the impeachment inquiry.
“Everyone should understand, impeachment is not the goal,” Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, one of the panels tasked with investigating Biden, told reporters recently. “Impeachment is a way of saying this is not a legislative oversight, but in fact an oversight of possible wrongdoing.”
One reporter, Farnoush Amiri, pounced on Rep. Issa’s remark.
“Congressman Issa came out and said that both Chairman Jordan [of the Judiciary Committee] and Comer [of the Oversight Committee] were not able to present anything that was an impeachable offense at this point,” the reporter said to McCarthy. “Is that an assessment that you share?”
“You know what? Impeachment inquiry is not impeachment,” McCarthy snapped back. “What an impeachment inquiry is to do, is to get answers to questions. Have you asked the White House any questions? Do you believe that the president lied to the American public when he said that he never talked to his son about business dealings? Yes or no?”
The reporter said, “I can’t answer that.”
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“Do you believe the president went to Cafe Milano and had dinner with the clients of Hunter Biden?” McCarthy asked. “Do you believe the $3 million from the Russian oligarch that was transferred to the shell companies that the Bidens controlled, after the dinner from Cafe Milano took place?
“That’s what the testimony says,” the reporter acknowledged. “But is that… is lying an impeachable offense?”
“I’m not saying impeachment,” McCarthy said. “All I’m saying is that I would like to know answers to these questions. The American public would like to know, and that’s what impeachment inquiry provides… These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”
Take a look —
Kevin McCarthy calls out a reporter for nonchalantly dismissing concerns about Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings.
"Do you have any concern?"
"Have you asked the White House ANY questions?!"
"You can't answer that?" pic.twitter.com/qWEJRjym7X
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 14, 2023
McCarthy also reportedly lost his cool with some of his own Republican House members on Thursday. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has threatened to start a vote on whether to vacate the speakership.
On Thursday, McCarthy sent Gaetz a expletive-laden message: Go ahead and try.
The embattled Republican leader dared his caucus to vote to remove him from the speakership position.
If you’re going to do it, go ahead and try, McCarthy told the Republicans behind closed doors.
“File the f***ing motion,” McCarthy said, using a profanity for emphasis, some participants in the private meeting told the Associated Press.
Even his decision to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden did little this week to appease the demands of the Freedom Caucus and others as they threaten to shut down the government in pursuit of deep spending cuts or move to a motion to oust him from office.
“I showed frustration in here because I am frustrated with some people in the conference,” McCarthy said after the meeting in the Capitol basement as lawmakers were wrapping up for the week.
“But when we come back, we’re going to get this done. Nobody wins in a government shutdown.”
Biden said in a speech Thursday that McCarthy and House Republicans seem unable to honor the commitments they made as part of a June debt-limit deal and are now seeking deeper cuts. In his remarks, the president did not address the impeachment inquiry nor the indictment Thursday of his son, Hunter, on gun-purchasing charges.
“They’re back at it again, breaking their commitment,” Biden said in Maryland. “Threatening to shut down the government again this month.”
Led by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a core group of McCarthy critics is holding the threat of removal over him unless he meets conservative demands.
A top Trump ally, Gaetz reiterated the conservative flank’s many demands after McCarthy’s meeting — single-subject spending bills, a subpoena for Hunter Biden in the impeachment inquiry and other priorities.
“So instead of emotionally cursing, let’s do this,” Gaetz chided. “We must begin immediately. Pull yourself together, Kevin!”
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None of the hard-right opponents of McCarthy rose to speak during the private morning meeting — in fact, few even showed up.
But McCarthy still addressed them directly — and profanely.
“Kevin doesn’t live in fear about this,” said Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla.
Top McCarthy ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is also close with Trump, recaptured the speaker’s message. “He said, ’If you want to throw in a motion to vacate, that’s fine. I didn’t survive 15 rounds for nothing and I’ll survive another 15 rounds.”
That said, there still is no viable plan or having the House pass the bills needed to run the government by Sept. 30, when current funding runs out, risking the shutdown.
Freedom Caucus conservatives are demanding cuts lower than what McCarthy agreed to in a budget deal with Biden earlier this year — and even lower than the speaker promised he would fight for when he agreed to their demands during his election to become speaker.
McCarthy told the lawmakers to go home for the weekend, as they are not in session Friday for the Jewish holiday, and be prepared to stay in session next week until they get the job done.
“I don’t walk away from a battle,” the speaker said, preparing to return to fight another day.
Asked if he had a plan for the week ahead, McCarthy said later: “I always have a plan. Doesn’t mean it happens.”
“I had a plan for this week, didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned,” he said.
Exasperated, McCarthy had already showed signs of strain the night before.
As he left the Capitol, his voice hoarse and his dry-cleaning bags of fresh shirts in hand, McCarthy scoffed when asked about the conservatives’ latest demands for spending cuts.
“Welcome to my world,” McCarthy said, as the grand Memorial Door slammed behind him.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.