Will the House GOP’s Biden impeachment probe backfire?
After much back-and-forth in recent months, embattled House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has officially launched an impeachment inquiry against US President Joe Biden.
McCarthy says that the inquiry has merit, based on months of preliminary investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings – specifically the global financial exploits of Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Democrats, for their part, say this is a GOP political vendetta in response to the impeachments of Donald Trump, and that Biden himself has committed no impeachable high crimes or misdemeanors.
Still, launching an official inquiry gives relevant congressional committees broad powers to request documents and testimonies – a boon for House Republicans who have already been battling for greater access to Biden family financial records.
Why now? McCarthy is likely trying to throw a bone to far-right House Republicans, known as the Freedom Caucus, who despise the speaker and are threatening to remove him over a host of thorny policy disputes. Most notably, the tear-it-all-down caucus is mad at McCarthy for his apparent willingness to work with the White House to continue to fund the government at current levels through the end of the year. Failure to do so could result in a government shutdown after Sept. 30.
Impeachment is risky for McCarthy and for the GOP. House Republicans in purple districts (many that Biden won in 2020) say this is not a popular move with their voters and that it could backfire in 2024, when House Republicans will have a very narrow majority to defend.
But the Freedom Caucus is out for blood. Prominent McCarthy critic Rep. Matt Gaetz has already called the impeachment probe a mere “baby step.”