House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Friday said an impeachment inquiry against President Biden will only move forward if there is a formal House 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. “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’s position is a departure from how his predecessor Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., handled the first impeachment inquiry against former President Donald Trump. In 2019, Pelosi unilaterally proclaimed that the House would advance an impeachment inquiry against Trump after the controversy over his infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“This week, the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically,” Pelosi said on Sept. 24, 2019. “Therefore, today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella.
U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters outside the Speakers Balcony at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. McCarthy held the media availability with reporters to discuss a potential impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Joe Biden that would focus on the Biden family’s alleged financial misconduct.(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
“The president must be held accountable,” she continued. “No one is above the law.”
Initially, the Trump White House refused to cooperate with the investigation, raising concerns that the whole House had not voted to launch the inquiry. It wasn’t until weeks later, on Oct. 31, 2019, that the House would authorize the impeachment inquiry by a vote of 232 to 196.
A McCarthy spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Republicans have been investigating President Joe Biden (L) for his alleged involvement with his son Hunter Biden’s (R) foreign business dealings. (Fox News)
McCarthy told GOP lawmakers in a members-only conference call on Monday night that an impeachment inquiry is “the natural progression from our investigations that have been going on,” one Republican who has been granted anonymity to discuss the call said.
The lawmaker said Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., informed members on an earlier call that McCarthy suggested the House would vote on opening an impeachment inquiry next month.
“What Jim Jordan said was that McCarthy told him that it was…coming to the floor in September,” the lawmaker said.
A source familiar with the discussions similarly told Fox News Digital that McCarthy told several conference members that Congress’ probes have enough momentum to push for an impeachment inquiry in the fall after lawmakers return from August recess.
The president and his son Hunter Biden are under scrutiny by three separate House GOP-led committees over allegations of bribery and other corruption in the latter’s foreign business dealings. They are also looking into a plea deal nearly struck between Hunter Biden and the Justice Department in a years-long investigation into the First Son’s taxes – though that deal has since fallen apart.
The House of Representatives is returning from its six-week August recess on Sept. 12, at which point the impeachment inquiry will likely take a backseat to Congress’ race to strike a deal on funding the government by Sept. 30 – otherwise risking a partial government shutdown.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.
Chris Pandolfo is a writer for Fox News Digital. Send tips to c[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ChrisCPandolfo.