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  5. Kevin McCarthy is moving forward on Biden's possible impeachment by doing the exact same thing he slammed Nancy Pelosi for doing

Kevin McCarthy is moving forward on Biden's possible impeachment by doing the exact same thing he slammed Nancy Pelosi for doing

Brent D. Griffiths   

Kevin McCarthy is moving forward on Biden's possible impeachment by doing the exact same thing he slammed Nancy Pelosi for doing
  • Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the House will move forward on potentially impeaching Biden.
  • The top House Republican is backing away from a position he held not even two weeks ago.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced on Tuesday that he has directed top committees to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, backtracking for now on his previous vow to force lawmakers to take a vote at formalizing the process.

"These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives," McCarthy said during a brief statement before reporters. "That's why today, I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public."

Just 11 days ago, McCarthy told Breitbart that the American people deserved to know how their representatives felt about moving forward with an inquiry.

Since then it became increasingly clear that McCarthy may not be able to muster the votes with a razor-thin House majority. Some swing-district district Republicans, such as Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, also expressed skepticism about taking a formal vote.

"To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes. The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives," McCarthy told Breitbart News in a statement published on September 1. "That's why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People's House and not through a declaration by one person."

McCarthy previously criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for moving forward on impeaching President Donald Trump over his refusal to release aid to Ukraine in a potential bid to pressure officials to investigate the Biden family. Democrats argued at the time that the Constitution did not require an explicit vote to formalize an impeachment investigation into the president. After a month of debate and further investigation, the House later took a formal vote to formalize Trump's impeachment.

"Unfortunately, you've given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed — including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed," McCarthy wrote to Pelosi in October 2019.

McCarthy's letter included a list of questions, the very first one was, "Do you intend to hold a vote of the full House on authorizing your impeachment inquiry?" There was also a footnote attached that noted the eventual impeachments of Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon both were initiated by a full House vote on opening an inquiry.

The White House quickly seized on McCarthy's flip-flop.

"He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip flopped because he doesn't have support," White House spokesperson Ian Sams wrote on Twitter.

What is an impeachment inquiry?

It's important to note what an inquiry is, and what it is not. Actually impeaching President Joe Biden would take a House vote. So for the moment, Trump remains the most recent president to be impeached. The Senate later acquitted Trump both times, most recently after the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

An inquiry is simply the first step in the impeachment process that, if followed until the very end, would result in a Senate trial.

The reason lawmakers have previously cited for needing a formal inquiry is that the congressional show of force could give lawmakers greater power when requesting information that they might not otherwise have access to. As the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2019, "An impeachment investigation may be more likely —relative to a traditional legislative investigation—to obtain certain categories of information [...]." Put simply, lawmakers may hope that a federal court would be more likely to side with them if the Biden administration refused to turn over information if they could tell a judge that they needed the documents to determine whether they should impeach the president.

It is worth noting that the very same Congressional Research Service report also concluded that, even without a formal inquiry, a committee could "arguably obtain much of the same information as it would during an impeachment inquiry."

And as Democrats pointed out in 2019, and Republicans are likely to suddenly remember now, there is no formal and consistent way the House has handled impeachment investigations.

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