Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a far-right GOP firebrand, criticized an effort by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to launch impeachment inquiries into President Joe Biden over the president’s ties to his son’s foreign business endeavors, arguing the House should move to impeachment sooner, as Gaetz threatens to call for McCarthy to be ousted.
In a speech in the House on Tuesday, Gaetz called McCarthy’s decision to order three House committees to open an impeachment inquiry a “baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more.”
Gaetz, one of a group of far-right Republicans who held up a House vote for McCarthy’s speakership in January, argued on Tuesday that the House “must move faster,” adding that an impeachment vote would allow “the American people get to see who’s fighting for them and who’s willing to tolerate more corruption and business as usual.”
Gaetz had previously argued that House Republicans have evidence to impeach Biden—including bank records and flight logs, despite the House investigation into Biden not having produced solid evidence proving the president benefitted from his son Hunter Biden’s foreign dealings—telling right-wing outlet Newsmax last week: “The question is whether or not Republicans will have the sufficient spine to do what is necessary.”
In his speech Tuesday, Gaetz also accused McCarthy of being “out of compliance” with his role as House speaker, threatening to call a vote to oust McCarthy for not bringing votes on congressional term limits or to cap discretionary spending at the levels they had been at the start of Biden’s presidency, which McCarthy had agreed to as part of a list of concessions in order to win over far-right Republicans in the midst of a historic deadlock for speaker.
McCarthy instructed the House Judiciary Committee, Oversight Committee and Ways and Means Committee to launch formal impeachment inquiries into Biden, the House speaker announced Tuesday morning, following a years-long probe into Biden’s family, including his son Hunter Biden’s foreign dealings and allegations that the president was in contact with his son’s business associates. House Republicans have for months claimed the president had maintained improper ties to his son’s endeavors in China and Ukraine during his term as vice president in the Obama Administration, although the House investigation has not produced solid evidence proving Biden personally benefited from his son’s business transactions. The investigation also focuses on Hunter Biden’s tax records and his purchase of a gun in 2018 while using drugs.
Even if the House votes to impeach Biden, removing him from office faces longshot odds in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Democrats and multiple Republicans have voiced skepticism over the evidence required to impeach Biden. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), said this week that conviction would be “unlikely to be successful in the Senate,” while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued impeachment “should generally be avoided for the interest of the country,” and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said she does not believe the House has enough evidence to impeach Biden. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) also argued impeachment should not be hurried, saying he objects to an “impeachment judgment prior to the full process,” CNN reported.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the impeachment inquiry “absurd,” saying the “American people want us to do something that will make their lives better; not go off on these chases and witch hunts,” echoing a frequently used accusation by former President Donald Trump into four criminal indictments against him. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also slammed “extremist Republicans” over the decision, while Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) gave a sarcastic response when asked about the impeachment inquiry, jokingly asking: “Oh my God, really?”
McCarthy’s decision comes on the heels of four indictments against Trump, most recently on 13 felony counts in Fulton County, Georgia, over his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, a case that Republicans, including Trump, have roundly condemned as a “witch hunt.”
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