The top Republican in the US Congress said on Tuesday that he could launch an impeachment inquiry into Democratic President Joe Biden, if the administration fails to provide information sought by committees investigating the president and his family.
Three committees in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are investigating unproven allegations of financial misconduct by Biden, his son Hunter Biden and other family members, which the White House has dismissed as "insane conspiracy theories."
"What is happening right now are the committees of jurisdiction are continuing to investigate," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters. "If the departments in government ... deny us the ability to get the information we're asking, that would rise to an impeachment inquiry."
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday brushed aside the possibility of an impeachment inquiry.
"He's focused on the American family, but they want to focus on his family. They can do whatever it is that they wish to do, but we're going to stay focused," Jean-Pierre said.
Members of McCarthy's Republican caucus began raising the idea of impeaching Biden shortly after winning their narrow majority in the November election, and some have called for votes to "expunge" the two impeachments of Republican former President Donald Trump.
McCarthy spoke to reporters a day before Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay income taxes and to enter into an agreement that could avert a conviction on a gun-related charge.
Among other allegations, Republicans claim that the Justice Department intervened to restrain the Hunter Biden probe, though the Trump-appointed prosecutor in that case has said he was not constrained.
An investigation involving the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways & Means committees has intensified since Trump's federal grand jury indictment in June.
House Republicans have sought to defend Trump against allegations of wrongdoing by accusing Biden of "weaponizing" the Justice Department against the leading 2024 Republican White House candidate.
PROSECUTOR REBUTS WHISTLEBLOWER
Last week, the House Oversight Committee heard testimony from two Internal Revenue Services whistleblowers who said the Justice Department dragged its feet on the Hunter Biden probe and that chief investigator, US Attorney David Weiss, was denied special counsel authority.
Weiss, who is expected to testify before Congress later this year, denied Justice Department interference and said he never sought special counsel status in a letter to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Some of the Republican allegations against Biden and his family involve the Ukraine energy company Burisma, which played a key role in Trump's first impeachment in 2019 over his alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and help him win re-election. A Republican-majority Senate later acquitted Trump.
McCarthy cited an FBI report containing claims from an unidentified informant who said Burisma officials sought to pay the Bidens $5 million apiece in 2015 and 2016, in return for their help in forcing out a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the energy company.
Claims of Biden wrongdoing in Ukraine have been contradicted by former Trump insider Lev Parnas, who helped former New York City mayor and one-time Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani try to dig up damaging information about the Bidens in Ukraine.
"There is no evidence of Joe or Hunter Biden interfering with Ukrainian politics, and there never has been," Parnas said in a July 18 letter to the House Oversight Committee.
Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman, is serving out a 20-month sentence under house arrest for defrauding investors in a sham company and making illegal donations to US political candidates on behalf of a Russian oligarch.