From ‘logical next step’ to ‘a scam’ — Colorado’s lawmakers react to Biden impeachment inquiry

Joe Biden
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, to travel to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Updated on 6:08 p.m. on September 12, 2023.

Colorado’s House Republicans support House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, while the Democratic members of the delegation panned the news.

On the heels of a six-week recess for House members, McCarthy said Tuesday morning that he has directed “House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry,” bypassing what could be a tough vote on the issue.

“This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public,” McCarthy said. 

Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who days earlier sounded skeptical over an impeachment, said Tuesday that opening an inquiry without a vote, "is correct."

"Instead of wasting time on the House floor, he expedited it to the Oversight Committee where it belongs," Buck said.

Buck added he’d still like to see evidence for an inquiry. He’s expected to get a briefing later this week on it. But he said nothing is really changing.

“We're not doing anything different than we've been doing for the last seven months. Judiciary will continue to investigate, Ways and Means, and Oversight will continue to investigate. That's what we've been doing,” he said.

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, who tried to force an impeachment vote in June, said she wants to see the inquiry have “real teeth” and lead to an impeachment vote. 

“I’m not waiting throughout the rest of this Congress to actually hold Joe Biden and his corrupt family accountable,” she said. “I’m ready for a straight up and down vote on the floor. Yes or no: impeach Joe Biden? And my vote is yes.”

Boebert said the Oversight Committee has already produced evidence of impeachable conduct. 

Still, none of the documents or transcripts released thus far have shown evidence of any concrete instances of corruption by Biden.

That’s what many Colorado Democrats focused on in response to McCarthy’s announcement.

“There is no concrete evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden. Even Congressional Republicans are questioning the merits of this nakedly partisan investigation,” said Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette. 

She described the inquiry as a “dangerous gambit” from McCarthy to appease the far right of his caucus and avoid a government shutdown. (Members of the House Freedom Caucus reiterated Tuesday afternoon that they will still oppose a clean continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.)

DeGette, along with Rep. Joe Neguse, served as impeachment managers for former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment. 

Neguse described the new inquiry as “baseless.”

Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, who was an impeachment manager for Trump’s first impeachment, also criticized the move, especially the choice to open an inquiry without first allowing the House to vote on it. 

“Democrats held a vote on both impeachment inquiries into President Trump because they were based on facts and evidence. House Republicans know their inquiry is a scam, so they won’t even hold a vote on it,” he said via X, formerly known as Twitter. “What a disgrace. Americans deserve better.”

Freshman Democratic Rep. Brittany Pettersen was frustrated by the move, noting that there are other urgent matters Congress should be focused on. 

“It’s political theater,” she said. “I’m frustrated. As you know, I try to stay hopeful about our ability to actually come together to do the real work… and the American people and Coloradans are also, I’m sure, very frustrated.”

The Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees will be the ones spearheading the inquiry. Rep. Boebert sits on the Oversight Committee and Reps. Buck and Neguse are on Judiciary.