White House attacks McCarthy’s impeachment gambit as ‘ridiculous, baseless stunt’

McCarthy floated idea on Fox News, but hasn’t endorsed specific legislation yet

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 27 July 2023 17:33 BST
Joe Biden clashes with reporter after question about Hunter

The White House issued a blistering statement on Thursday morning after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy floated the possibility of backing an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden in order to press Mr Biden for information about his and his son’s financial dealings.

In the statement, first sent to The Hill, the Biden administration condemned what it called “a ridiculous, baseless stunt, intended to attack the President at a time when House Republicans should instead be joining the President to focus on the important issues facing the American people.” The Independent has reached out for the full context of the unnamed spokesperson’s remarks.

“But just as soon as McCarthy floated this stunt, he was met with resistance — from members of his own party and even his own caucus,” the spokesperson told The Hill.

They went on: “The American people want their leaders in Congress to spend their time working with the President on important issues like continuing to lower costs, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen health care, Regardless of these baseless stunts, President Biden will always be focused on delivering real results that improve the lives of the American people.”

The war of words between the White House and Mr McCarthy comes as the House GOP leader is once again facing frustrations from his caucus’s right wing — which as of this week was accusing the speaker of using a hypothetical impeachment inquiry as a distraction from their priorities of negotiating spending cuts during the budget process.

“What he’s doing is saying there’s a shiny object over there and we’re going to focus on that, we just need to get all these things done so we can focus on the shiny object,” Congressman Ken Buck of the House Freedom Caucus told CNN.

Mr McCarthy made his comments appearing to endorse the idea of launching an impeachment inquiry into the president this week on Fox News. He highlighted testimony from two IRS officials who testified to Congress that they believed the Department of Justice had slow-walked and watered down the prosecution of Mr Biden’s adult son Hunter for tax crimes, and suggested that an impeachment inquiry would be necessary to get to the bottom of the matter. The White House has strongly denied influencing the Justice Department in any ongoing prosecutorial matters, and has largely refused to answer questions regarding the activities of Hunter Biden.

“We’ve only followed where the information has taken us. But Hannity, this is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry, which provides Congress the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed,” the GOP leader told Fox’s Sean Hannity.

He continued: “Because this president has also used something we have not seen since Richard Nixon: Use the weaponisation of government to benefit his family and deny Congress the ability to have the oversight.”

The president’s son plead not guilty to two criminal counts related to unpaid taxes and one count related to lying on an application for a gun purchase on Wednesday; the pleas were seen as a formality as Mr Biden’s legal team hammers out the final bits of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

But Republicans in particular have insisted that the younger Mr Biden was treated with kid gloves by the Justice Department, while also alleging the existence of an international influence-trading scheme involving both the president and his son,

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