McCarthy omitted 'context' that 'significantly undercuts' Biden impeachment: analysis

McCarthy omitted 'context' that 'significantly undercuts' Biden impeachment: analysis
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04: House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts during a vote to adjourn following a day of votes for the new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on January 04, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is attempting to elect the next Speaker after House after McCarthy failed to earn more than 218 votes on six ballots over two days, the first time in 100 years that the Speaker was not elected on the first ballot. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images).

Hours after United States House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) endorsed launching an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump assessed the "six predicates" that McCarthy and Capitol Hill Republicans have cited to justify their course of action.

"Each deserves additional context that McCarthy didn't provide — context that often significantly undercuts the idea that such an inquiry is warranted," Bump explains.

He added, "It's useful to acknowledge at the outset that impeachment is and always has been a centrally political act. The bar for impeaching a president is 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' a phrase that constitutional scholars have enjoyed debating but which can be interpreted in a manner that means its application is limited almost solely by what leaders in the House think a majority of their members will support. And, of course, by what their constituents will tolerate. Recent polling has established that the Republican base will tolerate McCarthy's impeachment push quite easily. In polling conducted by SSRS for CNN, three-quarters of Republicans said they thought Biden was involved in his son Hunter’s business in a manner that violated the law — a belief that extends even beyond what McCarthy asserted Tuesday."

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For instance, although "Biden has demonstrably misrepresented his son's business activities," Bump writes, asking, "Does his playing golf with or meeting with Hunter Biden's partner Devon Archer render that statement false? Does his being put on speakerphone while Hunter Biden was meeting with partners, if Joe Biden wasn't aware of who was in the room? Does attending a dinner that included Hunter Biden’s business partners, even if no business was discussed?"

Next, Bump continues, "bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies" as McCarthy as asserted "are tied to Joe Biden, despite months of Republican probing."

McCarthy's accusation that a "trusted" Federal Bureau of Investigation "informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family" is "flatly untrue," Bump says. "After months of talking about it on Fox News and eventually releasing a version of the document to the public, the allegation remains entirely unsubstantiated. What's important about McCarthy's claim is that it transfers the credibility of the informant to the allegation, which isn't warranted."

McCarthy has also stated that "it appears that the president's family has been offered special treatment by Biden's own administration, treatment that not otherwise would have received if they were not related to the president." But Bump points out that "there is no evidence that Joe Biden applied any pressure on the Justice Department or on [US attorney David] Weiss, appointed by [former] President Donald Trump. The wrongdoing, if any, is secondhand."

READ MORE: House GOP chair had 'behind the scenes' discussions with Trump about Biden impeachment: report

Bump's full analysis is available at this link (subscription required).

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