Speaker Mike Johnson said Saturday that he thinks House Republicans have the votes to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, insisting that such a move has "become a necessary step."
In an appearance alongside Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., another member of House GOP leadership, on Fox News, Johnson, R-La., said he plans to bring a vote on impeachment.
“Elise and I both served on the impeachment defense team of Donald Trump twice, when the Democrats used it for brazen, partisan political purposes. We decried that use of it. This is very different. Remember, we are the rule-of-law team. We have to do it very methodically,” he said.
Johnson alleged that the White House has been stonewalling the three GOP-led House committees driving the impeachment inquiry — Judiciary, Oversight and Ways and Means.
"They're preventing at least two to three [Department of Justice] witnesses from coming forward" and "withheld thousands of pages of evidence," he alleged. "So a formal impeachment inquiry vote on the floor will allow us to take it to the next necessary step. And I think it's something we have to do at this juncture."
Johnson added that he thinks his party will have enough votes to launch an impeachment inquiry and doesn't expect any Democratic support.
The White House, which has characterized House Republicans' impeachment inquiry efforts as "illegitimate," did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
On Friday, Republicans leaving a closed-door conference meeting indicated that the House could vote to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry into the president as early as next week. “That’s the plan,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., told reporters.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., who has been accusing the Biden family of engaging in shady business practices, said that GOP leadership would determine the timing of the vote, but he wants it "sooner" rather than later.
Republican support for launching the inquiry solidified over Congress' Thanksgiving break, Comer added. “I think our conference went home last week and they heard from people at Walmart, people on Main Street who were like, 'Find out the truth about Joe Biden’s knowledge and involvement in his family shady business.'"
Then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, announced in September that his party would open a Biden impeachment inquiry, instructing the three committees to obtain bank records and other documents from the president and his son Hunter Biden.
Last month, House Republicans issued subpoenas focused on the family's business dealings, asking Hunter Biden; James Biden, the president's brother; and Rob Walker, a Biden family associate, to appear for depositions. The subpoenas came a day after the special counsel overseeing an investigation into Hunter Biden testified before the Judiciary Committee behind closed doors.
The Oversight Committee said that it has obtained financial documents that, it alleges, show that members of the Biden family had established over 20 shell companies, most of which were set up during Joe Biden’s time as vice president. Those companies, the panel alleged, were part of an effort to cover up payments from foreign adversaries.
White House counsel Richard Sauber slammed the subpoenas as “unjustified,” writing in a letter that the “requests were sent despite the fact that, after a year of investigating, voluminous records and testimony from dozens of witnesses have refuted your baseless allegations about the President.”