Republicans are considering holding a formal vote to authorize their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, with Minnesota Republican Majority Whip Tom Emmer, told members in a closed-door meeting Wednesday they could vote in the coming weeks on a move that could bolster the investigation's legal standing, The Hill reported.
It remains unclear if House Republicans have the votes on impeachment in the narrowly divided lower chamber.
House Republicans have not had the votes to legitimize their inquiry, which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unilaterally launched in September, with a formal House vote.
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) said he would support impeachment if it came to the floor, but he's also warning fellow Republicans of the political risks inherent in such a step.
GOP members told The Hill that Emmer cited pushback from the White House in making his case for the vote.
In a recent letter, the White House blasted the GOP for moving ahead on the inquiry without a vote securing the backing from members, repeatedly referring to the "impeachment inquiry" in quotes and writing that it is "lacking constitutional legitimacy."
GOP members said Emmer viewed taking a vote as one way to respond to the White House criticism, particularly as the House GOP ramps up complaints that it has not yet received all the information from the administration that it has asked for.
"Sounds like the White House sent over a response to Comer and Jordan about [the] impeachment inquiry that former Speaker McCarthy announced, saying that unless it's voted on by the whole House that they didn't consider that it was a valid impeachment inquiry," one GOP lawmaker told The Hill.
That was more or less the stance the White House took in a Nov. 17 letter to House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Oversight and Accountability Chair James Comer (R-Ky.).
The White House disputed the claim.
Yet another patently false claim in their failing wild goose chase. They've gotten access to 2,000+ pages of Treasury Dept reports, docs from FBI/DOJ/Natl Archives, dozens of hours of testimony from DOJ/FBI/IRS. Not to mention 15,000+ pages of people's personal financial records" Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations, wrote shortly after their press conference.
Missouri Republican Jason Smith taking to his X page discussed Hunter Biden and his role in the impeachment process. "We will follow the facts and see where they take us. During today's impeachment inquiry stakeout, I gave updates into our investigation into the Biden family," said Smith.
"Most Americans, they work hard to provide for their families, they follow the law, they pay their taxes, but the Biden family has been playing by different rules"
"President Biden wasn't just aware of his son's business dealings; he wasn't just involved but he appears to have directly benefitted from them," Smith said in a video posted on X.
Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, has offered to testify in a public setting rather than the closed-door deposition GOP lawmakers have compelled, reported The Hill.
"He said that a formal vote might strengthen the legal standing of the House," another GOP lawmaker told The Hill.
"You also claim the mantle of an 'impeachment inquiry' knowing full well that the Constitution requires that the full House authorize an impeachment inquiry before a committee may utilize compulsory process pursuant to the impeachment power -- a step the Republican House Majority has so far refused to take," Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, wrote in the letter.
"In fact, both of you previously supported the position that moving forward with an impeachment inquiry without a vote of the House 'represents an abuse of power and brings discredit to the House of Representatives.'"
However, other legal experts disagree -- and House Republicans are not the first to start an impeachment inquiry without holding a vote. House Democrats and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did the same in 2019 ahead of the first impeachment of then-President Trump, before eventually formalizing the inquiry with a vote on a House resolution.
The Hill reported that Sauber in his letter referenced a White House Office of Legal Counsel opinion under Trump from 2020 that said a House resolution "is a constitutionally required step before a committee may exercise compulsory process in aid of the House's 'sole Power of Impeachment.'"
Jordan rejected the notion that holding a delayed vote would create the appearance of Republicans moving backward, noting that the vote to solidify the impeachment inquiry into Trump in 2019 came after Pelosi launched the probe.
Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry on September 24, 2019, and the House voted to approve procedures for an inquiry on October 31. (ANI)