House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings… but some Democrats have laughed off these historic, campaign-year proceedings.
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Penn., had a strangely smug reaction to the news.
A reporter for NBC News asked the senator, “This news that Speaker McCarthy has formally launched an impeachment — has said he’s going to launch an impeachment inquiry –”
Fetterman interrupted and began shouting. “Oh, my God, really?! Oh, my gosh! You know, it’s devastating,” Fetterman said sarcastically, after taking an exaggerated step back.
He didn’t stop there.
“Ooooh, don’t do it,” Fetterman continued, laughing. “No! Please! Don’t do it!”
Take a look —
.@SenFettermanPA reacts to Speaker McCarthy moving forward with a House impeachment inquiry into POTUS…
(Just watch) pic.twitter.com/jg3aeyDW7F
— Liz Brown-Kaiser (@lizbrownkaiser) September 12, 2023
McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation so far has found a “culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said outside the speaker’s office at the Capitol.
“That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” he said.
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An inquiry is a step toward impeachment, and McCarthy essentially outlined potential charges. He is is planning to convene lawmakers behind closed doors this week to discuss the Biden impeachment, and top House chairmen are heading Wednesday to brief the Senate.
The inquiry would provide more heft to the House investigation, especially as it battles in court for access to Biden family financial records.
Republicans contend the Justice Department has not fully probed the allegations against Hunter Biden, and say he received preferential treatment in what they call a sweetheart plea deal that recently collapsed. The Department of Justice has appointed a special prosecutor in that probe.
“We will go wherever the evidence takes us,” McCarthy said.
President Biden denies any involvement in his son’s business dealings, and he’s dismissed the impeachment push as politically motivated.
“Speaker McCarthy shouldn’t cave to the extreme, far-right members who are threatening to shut down the government unless they get a baseless, evidence-free impeachment of President Biden. The consequences for the American people are too serious,” White House spokesman Ian Sams has said.
Fetterman seems too certain of the impeachment inquiry’s failure, but McCarthy still stands a chance of failing to file charges against Biden.
It remains unclear whether McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry has the support of rank-and-file Republicans. After all, McCarthy decided to launch the formal proceedings without yet putting it to the test with a House vote.
Some GOP representatives have described the impeachment inquiry as a time-consuming distraction ahead of the budget deadline. “We can waste our time on issues that are not important, or we can focus on issues that are,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said Sunday on MSNBC.
The impeachment announcement comes as federal government funding is set to run out on Sept. 30, which is the end of the federal fiscal year, and Congress must pass new funding bills or risk a shutdown and the interruption of government services.
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On the other hand, other Republicans have chided McCarthy for acting too slowly. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., stood on the House floor deriding the inquiry as “a baby step” and reviving the threat of ousting the speaker.
Under the House’s current rules, any representative can call a vote at any time to try to oust the speaker from office. “We must move faster,” Gaetz said.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.