Speaker Kevin McCarthy intends to endorse an impeachment inquiry into President Biden this week when he speaks to House Republicans, according to two people familiar with his plans, underscoring to his right flank that he is willing to use aggressive tactics against the president when his leadership is at risk amid a pitched fight over spending.
Mr. McCarthy has signaled for weeks that he wants to pursue an impeachment inquiry of the president to give congressional investigators more power to dig into Mr. Biden’s family finances with the aim of uncovering wrongdoing. An impeachment inquiry would mean that Republicans no longer have to justify their investigation as assisting in the work of legislating, Mr. McCarthy’s allies said.
The speaker still believes a House vote is necessary to formally start an impeachment inquiry, according to the people familiar with his plans, who spoke about them on the condition of anonymity. But he lacks the support in his ranks. Several Republicans, including those from districts Mr. Biden won, have said they do not support an impeachment inquiry unless investigators can tie the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the president’s son who engaged in transactions with overseas firms, to his father, or uncover evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.
After months of digging, Republicans have found no such proof, though they argue they have received enough information to warrant more investigation.
If an impeachment inquiry were to be approved, House investigators would issue subpoenas for the bank records of Mr. Biden and his family members, according to those familiar with the plans.
Mr. McCarthy planned to address the news media about his plans in the Capitol at 11 a.m.
The move to endorse an impeachment inquiry, reported earlier by Punchbowl News after the speaker had suggested it publicly for weeks, comes as Mr. McCarthy is under intense pressure from his right flank.
Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and frequent critic of the speaker, plans to deliver a floor speech on Tuesday outlining the arch-conservative case against Mr. McCarthy, laying the groundwork for a potential move to oust him. Mr. Gaetz and others argue that Mr. McCarthy has failed to live up to promises he made to win the speakership, including in his handling of the budget process, where they are pushing for steep spending cuts that have little chance of enactment in a move that could force a shutdown within weeks. They also accuse him of not moving quickly or aggressively enough against Mr. Biden.
Democrats have been readying their defenses of the president. Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland huddled with members of his committee on Sunday night to plan a response to the Republicans.
On Monday, the Democrats released a 14-page memo detailing what they called the “overwhelming failure” of the Republicans’ investigation into Mr. Biden.
The memo noted that the Oversight Committee, led by Representative James Comer, Republican of Kentucky, has received more than 12,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records, reviewed more than 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports and spent hours interviewing witnesses, including two of Hunter Biden’s former business associates. But none of the bank records released so far show any payment to the president.
“Instead of working on legislation to promote the common good or even just keep the government running,” Mr. Raskin said, “House Republicans are weaponizing their offices and exploiting congressional power and resources to promote debunked and outlandish conspiracy theories about President Biden.”