Capitol jolted by impeachment, shutdown drama

 September 12, 2023

Congress returned from its August recess on Tuesday to a Capitol jolted by news of an impeachment inquiry - even as lawmakers begin a familiar scramble to keep the government from shutting down.

At the center of it all is Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.), who faces renewed pressure from his right flank to cut spending and impeach Biden.

The big news of the day was that McCarthy would launch a formal investigation into Biden's influence peddling.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives," he said.

Congress returns to shutdown drama

McCarthy is also eager to avoid a shutdown - and he has tied the issue with the impeachment inquiry, warning it cannot proceed if the government is closed for business. But hardline conservatives are flexing their muscle.

Republican Matt Gatez (Fl.) dismissed McCarthy's inquiry as "baby steps" and renewed a threat to "vacate the chair" if McCarthy pushes a continuing resolution, or CR, to continue funding the government at the current spending levels.

“If Kevin McCarthy puts a continuing resolution on the floor, it is going to be shot, chaser, continuing resolution, motion to vacate,” Gaetz said.

Gaetz warned that McCarthy is "out of compliance" with an agreement brokered with House conservatives in January, when McCarthy won the Speaker's gavel following a historic mutiny within the Republican party.

"Culture of corruption"

Republicans have so far uncovered evidence of millions in wire transfers from foreign accounts to the Biden family, and testimony from a former business partner confirming that Hunter Biden peddled his father's "brand" abroad.

Biden also is known to have spoken over the phone and met with his son's business partners, despite denying any knowledge of his son's deals.

McCarthy said the evidence, so far, traces the outline of a "culture of corruption."

Of course, Democrats and the White House have dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a witch hunt rooted in "conspiracy theories," and they are accusing McCarthy of having buckled to "extremists" in his party to avoid a shutdown.

McCarthy's Democratic counterpart Hakeem Jeffries (D-Ny.) dismissed the "illegitimate impeachment inquiry” and said Democrats will defend Biden “until the very end.”

"There is not a shred of evidence that President Joe Biden has engaged in wrongdoing,” Jeffries said. “President Joe Biden is a good man. He’s an honest man. He’s a patriotic man.”

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