House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is calling for a formal impeachment inquiry targeting President Joe Biden, despite the total lack of evidence of wrongdoing turned up by months of Republican investigations. The plan all along was to justify an impeachment inquiry, and when they failed to justify it, they decided to pretend they had, and to go ahead anyway. In a statement on Tuesday, McCarthy repeated allegations regarding Biden’s son’s business dealings, which Republicans have failed to connect to the president himself. He also alleged that Biden’s family has gotten “special treatment by Biden’s own administration.” This would be true only if McCarthy meant that Biden has bent over backward to enable investigations of his son to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy said. “That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.” Again, months of investigation by these very same House committees has not turned up any evidence.
Notably, McCarthy had previously pledged that an impeachment inquiry would happen only if the House voted for one, a pledge he’s abandoning now, under pressure from the far right of his conference.
McCarthy’s announcement came after Punchbowl reported that in a closed-door Republican meeting this week, McCarthy would tell his members that an impeachment inquiry is the “logical next step.” If by "logical" McCarthy means "we've intended to do it all along, and we're just following the plan," then sure. House Republicans are not letting the fact that their months of investigations have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing by the president get in the way of their long-standing plans. Because make no mistake, those months of Republican investigations haven’t found anything on the president other than that he loves his son. No bank records showing illicit payments, no witness testimony that he was involved in his son’s business—nothing.
But McCarthy is under pressure—and not just from Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose efforts to threaten McCarthy’s job are not gaining much traction. While the biggest showboaters of his caucus are pressing for impeachment, McCarthy has to find a way to keep the government open by negotiating a continuing resolution—something the Freedom Caucus has said it will go along with only if there are massive funding cuts. This isn’t just a matter of poor timing. As Rep. Ken Buck, an impeachment skeptic, told MSNBC's Jen Psaki, “So you take those things put together, and Kevin McCarthy, the speaker, has made promises on each of those issues to different groups. And now it is all coming due at the same time.”
McCarthy is weak. That’s been clear since before it took him 15 ballots to get his hands on the speaker’s gavel, and that process made him even weaker since he had to make so many promises to so many different groups.
The fact that we’re even talking about impeachment is ridiculous, though. Republicans have looked and looked for anything the president did wrong. They have gotten 12,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records and more than 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports. They’ve interviewed multiple witnesses, and they have found nothing. They have dabbled in revenge porn, publicly showing nude photos of the president’s son. They have had Fox News insinuate that they had proof of things they did not have. House Oversight Chair James Comer has shamelessly lied about what his own committee’s investigations have shown.
And while a few Republicans, like Buck or Rep. Don Bacon, are expressing concern about their party’s rush to impeach without evidence, many others are lining up to help make the (fraudulent) case that an impeachment inquiry is warranted. On Monday, Rep. Nancy Mace—a Republican who occasionally tries to appear independent and reasonable in a very media-friendly way—expressed her support for an impeachment inquiry in the absence of any evidence that impeachment is warranted. Because, she said, maybe the inquiry would find evidence that months of investigation hadn’t—an argument we can expect to crop up often as Republicans positioned ideologically between Bacon and Gaetz look for excuses to fall in line.
“The people deserve the truth and nothing but the truth,” Mace said, hilariously.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins responded, “Isn’t it supposed to be the evidence that leads you to pursue impeachment, an impeachment inquiry?”
“Well, that’s what the inquiry is for,” Mace said, “is to get more evidence.” As if it were the normal course of events to attempt to impeach a president before you had evidence that it was warranted.
But there have already been investigations, Collins replied. “I think that’s where people are confused, because it's not like there’s no investigations.”
“We don’t have Joe Biden’s bank records yet,” Mace replied. “And so one way to do that, my understanding, would be through an impeachment inquiry. So if that’s what gets us those bank records, then I’m going to support it.”
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel was a little more blunt, saying McCarthy's support for impeachment was welcome because "[o]ur voters are sick and tired of Republicans getting attacked all the time through the courts, through whatever, and it's time to go after Biden."
This week marks a new stage in the House Republican drive toward impeachment. This stage surely won’t bring any more facts supporting an impeachment inquiry. It may bring the country closer to a government shutdown as Republicans put their attention and energy toward lying about the basis for an impeachment inquiry rather than coming up with a continuing resolution. But it’s going to happen because that’s the “logical next step”—not in following the evidence regarding Biden, but in executing Republicans’ long-standing plan to impeach no matter what.