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The Republican leader in the Senate has responded to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) call for an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
When asked about McCarthy’s announcement on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky, said he would give House Republicans plenty of room to conduct their inquiry after saying last month that “impeachment ought to be rare” and “is not good for our country.”
Asked if he supported McCarthy’s decision, McConnell said: “I don’t think Speaker McCarthy needs any advice from the Senate on how to run the House.”
McConnell added that he is much more focused on other pressing business before Congress at the moment, The Hill reported.
“Look, we got our hands full here trying to get through the appropriations process and not have an omnibus, and I don’t have any advice to give to the House. They’ve got a totally different set of challenges than we do,” McConnell said, likely referring to the growing pressure from the right on McCarthy to order the inquiry.
“So I think the best advice for the Senate is to do our job and see how this plays out later,” he added.
Over the summer, McConnell lamented how Democrats, when they controlled the House, lowered the bar to impeach then-President Donald Trump not once but twice, the second proceeding coming after Trump had already left office toward the end of January 2021.
“I said two years ago, when we had not one but two impeachments, that once we go down this path, it incentivizes the other side to do the same thing,” McConnell told The New York Times.
“Impeachment ought to be rare,” he added. “This is not good for the country.”
Other Senate Republicans were highly skeptical that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would actually take up the impeachment even if it passed the House.
“It really comes to how do you prioritize your time? I don’t know of anybody who believes [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] will take it up and actually have a trial and convict a sitting president,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, said, according to The Hill.
McCarthy announced the inquiry Tuesday afternoon.
“Today, I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” he said. “I do not make this decision lightly. Regardless of your party or who you vote for, these facts should concern all Americans. The American people deserve to know that public offices are not for sale.”
“I would encourage the president and his team to fully cooperate,” he added. “We will go wherever the evidence takes us.”
In an interview with MSNBC, GOP presidential contender and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie claimed he had not yet seen any evidence to support impeaching Biden.
“Look, what I’ve said is, there is a lot of smoke around the Hunter Biden and Joe Biden business relationships. We need to have a thorough investigation of it. I hope it happens on two levels,” the former federal prosecutor told the network this week.
“I hope Congress uses its oversight capability to be able to do those investigations, and I hope that the special counsel, now completely empowered, will do that, as well. He needs to reestablish his credibility after the ridiculous deal he signed off on for Hunter Biden, which he backed off of because a judge forced him to back off of it,” he added.
“But I don’t see evidence yet that would support impeaching Joe Biden. I think we’re cheapening impeachment by doing that kind of thing. I criticized Democrats for doing that over the Ukraine issue a number of years ago, on impeachment, and I don’t want my party to fall victim to the same thing,” he noted further.
Christie added: “But I do think it is important for it to be investigated because there are too many connections now, too many inconsistencies in the president’s story and what he has said and what others have said, who are apparently witnesses to his participation in helping Hunter Biden with his business. We need to know the facts on that, and then we can make an intelligent decision about whether the facts exist to move forward to something more serious.”