Latest News

Top House Republican suggests impeachment inquiry vote is coming

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

House Republicans are preparing to vote on formalizing their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden in the coming weeks, Majority Whip Tom Emmer told GOP lawmakers on Wednesday morning.

Emmer (R-Minn.) addressed House Republicans in a closed-door meeting as they near the end of their months-long probe of the president’s connections to his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings. So far, the investigation has failed to yield any tangible proof that the First Son influenced his father’s decisions as president or vice president.

Republicans still remain short of the votes to ultimately impeach Joe Biden. But formalizing the inquiry — something they sidestepped earlier this year because of divisions within their conference — would both give them something to show to a restless right flank and strengthen their subpoena power.

And, unlike a vote to try booting Biden from office, Republicans in swing districts say they would now support the incremental step to formalize the inquiry.

“I think that the American public deserves to see more facts. There’s certainly a lot of smoke,” said Biden-district Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), adding that formalizing it would give the inquiry “more teeth.”

It’s a critical moment for the investigation, as Republicans want to make a decision as soon as January on whether to formally pursue articles of impeachment. And before then, they’ve got a weeks weeks-long stretch of key depositions. They are pressing for a closed-door interview with Hunter Biden sometime next month, though on Tuesday they rejected an offer by his counsel to appear at a public hearing instead.

“He’ll get a public hearing after he does a deposition. He doesn’t get to set the rules. … We have sent him a lawful subpoena. We expect to see him in on Dec. 13,” Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said, adding that Hunter Biden isn’t “going to tell the House Oversight Committee what to do.”

In addition to Hunter Biden, House Republicans have also subpoenaed James Biden, the president’s brother, a Hunter Biden business partner, a former White House official, and others. They’ve also requested voluntary interviews with several Biden family members.

And Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said Wednesday he will hold a hearing with IRS whistleblowers, who have claimed that the Justice Department meddled with the years-long federal probe into Hunter Biden.

“Now we’ve reached the point where we need to hear from a handful of really key witnesses in this. The chairmen have issued a few dozen subpoenas and we expect them to be complied with in an expeditious manner,” Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters Wednesday.

Another reason House Republicans want to formally vote to open an impeachment inquiry is to overcome a Trump-era order that bars any administration from engaging in such an inquiry, including subpoenas, if the full chamber has not voted to approve it. That order dates back to 2019, when House Democrats delayed for months before voting to authorize the inquiry that led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

And the White House specifically cited that Trump-era decision in a recent letter to Comer and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), which rebuffed their subpoenas and interview requests.

“You also claim the mantle of an ‘impeachment inquiry’ knowing full well that the Constitution requires that the full House authorize an impeachment inquiry before a committee may utilize compulsory process pursuant to the impeachment power — a step the Republican House Majority has so far refused to take,” White House counsel Richard Sauber wrote in a letter earlier this month.

Kyle Cheney contributed.