Republican Rep. Ken Buck, a member of the conservative House Freedom caucus, said Wednesday that members of his party were engaged in “impeachment theater” and accused House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of using a “shiny object” to distract from disagreements over major spending legislation.
“This is impeachment theater. We right now are starting the appropriations process. And there is not consensus on the Republican side about what the numbers should be,” the Colorado congressman told CNN’s Dana Bash on “Inside Politics.”
He added later, “What [McCarthy is] doing is he’s saying there’s a shiny object over here and we’re really going to focus on that. We just need to get all these things done so we can focus on the shiny object. Most of us are concerned about spending.”
Earlier this week, McCarthy suggested that House Republicans may be approaching the point where they’d pursue an impeachment investigation into Biden, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “We’ve only followed where the information has taken us. But Hannity, this is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry, which provides Congress the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed.”
Buck also accused the California Republican of reneging on promises he made to conservatives in order to become House speaker.
“Kevin McCarthy promised when he was running for speaker one set of numbers. Then he made an agreement with President (Joe) Biden for the debt ceiling increase on another set of numbers. So right now, he has got to convince the public that he’s credible,” he told Bash.
Buck, however, did not dismiss the notion of impeachment entirely, saying that he thinks “it’s absolutely Congress’ role to look at possible impeachment.”
The House speaker’s most explicit threat of impeaching the president to date came amid a series of congressional investigations in the GOP-led House that have targeted Biden, his administration and his family members – most prominently his son Hunter.
Buck on Wednesday linked the impeachment talk with the revelation that a plea deal between Hunter Biden and the Justice Department was on hold following a court hearing, saying, “I also think that if that is just a political game, then we need to make sure that the criminal case goes forward.
Hunter Biden had agreed to a revised plea deal that would see him plead guilty to the two tax charges in an agreement that only includes conduct related to tax offenses, drug use and gun possession. The two sides agreed that the deal would not shield him from potential future charges. But the judge wasn’t satisfied.
Discussing the deal, Buck said, “My thought is the judge does the right thing,” adding: “I think the judge really was on top of this. High profile case, everything has got to go right in a case like this.”
Buck noted that “there are other investigations that are ongoing. Other charges may be brought – may not be brought – but it’s important for the defendant to know on the record that there’s a possibility of other charges.”