Biden finally breaks silence over McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry

‘They want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government,’ the president said

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 14 September 2023 14:24 BST
House Speaker McCarthy opens formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden has finally broken his silence over Kevin McCarthy’s plans to launch an impeachment inquiry to potentially oust him from office.

Speaking at an event for his 2024 campaign on Wednesday night, the president gave his first public comments about the bombshell move by the House speaker as he accused Republicans of bringing the inquiry in a bid to shut down the US government.

“Well, I tell you what, I don’t know quite why, but they just knew they wanted to impeach me,” he said.

“And now, the best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government.”

Congress faces a looming deadline to avert a full government shutdown – something that would lead to thousands of federal employees being furloughed and the likes of government food assistance benefits being delayed.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate must pass 12 spending bills by 30 September in order to avoid the shutdown.

House Speaker McCarthy is facing pressure from MAGA Republicans to take a hardline approach and cut spending for fiscal 2024 to $1.47 trillion. This would be around $120bn less than Mr Biden and Mr McCarthy reached an agreement over in May.

Mr Biden said that the two major moments are linked as he brushed off the impeachment inquiry, claiming to be unphased and focused on the “job to do”.

“So look, look, I got a job to do. Everybody always asked about impeachment. I get up every day, not a joke, not focused on impeachment,” he said.

“I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day.”

First Lady Jill Biden and President Joe Biden at a cancer moonshots event on 13 September
First Lady Jill Biden and President Joe Biden at a cancer moonshots event on 13 September (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On Tuesday morning, Mr McCarthy announced in a press conference that he was throwing his support behind an impeachment inquiry against Mr Biden in particular scrutinising his family’s foreign business dealings.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.”

The inquiry will be led by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith.

The move comes as Mr McCarthy has faced ongoing pressure from MAGA Republicans to support impeachment efforts against the president – despite failing to come up with any evidence of wrongdoing.

House Republicans have repeatedly claimed that Mr Biden may have directly benefited from son Hunter Biden’s business dealings – and that Hunter has been given favourable treatment in his legal problems because of his father’s position as president.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Biden had avoided questions from reporters about the potential impeachment as he held an event on his cancer moonshots program.

But, while Mr Biden has largely avoided making public comments on the matter, his campaign immediately went on the defence after Mr McCarthy’s announcement.

A fundraising email was sent to supporters calling on them to “stand behind our president” and singling out the like of Mr McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Greene for launching the “ridiculous” impeachment inquiry.

Meanwhile, the White House also sent emails to some US media organisations including CNN and Fox News urging them to “ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies”.

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