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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 29, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy only threatened impeachment proceedings

If Your Time is short

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy threatened to begin an impeachment proceeding against Attorney General Merrick Garland. McCarthy did not initiate those proceedings.

A Facebook user shared a post that misleadingly overstated what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said about impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland over the Justice Department’s handling of a criminal investigation of Hunter Biden.

"BREAKING — McCarthy Announces IMPEACHMENT Proceeding For Biden Regime," read the caption on the June 27 post. The user was re-sharing a June 26 post by conservative commentator Benny Johnson, who later corrected his own post.

The user’s post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

McCarthy did not announce an impeachment proceeding against Garland. He merely threatened it.

A video included with the Facebook post had excerpts of a June 26 interview McCarthy did on "Fox & Friends."

Asked if he would begin an impeachment inquiry on Garland, McCarthy said that if what IRS whistleblowers have said is true, "we’re going to start impeachment inquiries."

He made a similar pledge in a June 25 tweet.

The threats are related to testimony released June 22 by the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee from two IRS officials. The officials said the Justice Department stonewalled efforts to investigate Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son.

Experts cautioned that the testimony should be weighed against broader evidence, such as emails, texts and testimony from other participants who may have seen the same events from a different perspective.

Justice Department officials offered Hunter Biden a deal to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges. Prosecutors also are recommending a sentence of probation for a gun-related charge, and a pretrial diversion program that is available to nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems. 

A White House spokesperson condemned McCarthy’s threat.

Johnson edited his post to say that McCarthy "threatens" impeachment, not "announces." His spokesperson told PolitiFact the wording was changed to clarify what McCarthy said.

But the Facebook user who reshared the post did not make any corrections. That post’s claim that McCarthy had announced an impeachment proceeding is wrong. 

We rate the claim False.

RELATED: Hunter Biden’s criminal case: What IRS whistleblowers said about Joe Biden, DOJ

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy only threatened impeachment proceedings

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