The Justice Department has been investigating whether Hunter Biden has violated tax and foreign lobbying laws, an issue expected to be resolved in the coming months. Regardless of what Attorney General Merrick B. Garland decides, he will likely face charges from Republicans that he gave the president’s son preferential treatment.

Still, Republicans are divided on whether it’s smart to talk about impeachment now.

In April, Representative Greg Murphy, Republican of North Carolina, told Fox News there were “sufficient” reasons to impeach Biden, citing the border crisis, Afghanistan and other ways he said the president had committed crimes “to the heart.” and the soul of this land.” The dilemma, Mr. Murphy said, was that Ms. Harris, who would become president if Mr. Biden were removed, was worse.

A few days later, a Fox News host played that clip for California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is likely to become a speaker if Republicans take over the House, and asked if he would move to impeach Mr. Biden. Minority leader Mr. McCarthy accused Democrats of using impeachment “for political reasons,” which he said Republicans would not do. Still, he promised to hold the Biden administration accountable and follow the facts.

“We believe in the rule of law,” said Mr McCarthy. “We’re not going to pick and choose just because someone has power. We’re going to enforce the law. Anytime, if someone breaks the law and the fork becomes impeachment, that’s where we’d go. But we are not going to use it for political purposes.”

But his comments drew immediate rebukes from a string of right-wing commentators and some lawmakers who had already endorsed impeachment resolutions. As the fallout from the January 6 attack has shown — Mr McCarthy initially said he would tell Mr Trump to step down, but then turned to hug him — he has a history of bowing to the winds of his party.

Catie Edmondson reporting contributed.

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