FACT CHECK: Did Kevin McCarthy Make ‘Several Unproven Claims’ In His Impeachment Inquiry Announcement?
CNN published an article claiming Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy made “several unproven claims” in his impeachment inquiry announcement.
NEW: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made several unproven claims Tuesday while announcing the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden
We fact checked them.
— Annie Grayer (@AnnieGrayerCNN) September 13, 2023
The CNN article acknowledges that at least three of McCarthy’s claims are true, if missing context, and that at least one is based on “evolving” House Republican allegations.
McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, according to BBC News. During the announcement, he said that there were “allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption,” the outlet reported.
CNN published a fact-check reporting that McCarthy made “several unproven claims” during his announcement.
The claim that McCarthy made “several unproven claims” though is misleading. CNN’s own fact-check notes that at least three of the claims are true. The CNN article fact-checks six statements made by McCarthy during his announcement.
McCarthy’s first claim that “[b]ank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies” is rated as “true” by CNN. The outlet, though, states that no money went to the president himself and argues the “phrase ‘Biden family’ is doing a lot of work for McCarthy – because none of these records confirm any direct payments to Joe Biden or show that he was directly involved in Hunter Biden’s business arrangements.”
McCarthy said that “a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.” CNN reported that it was “true that an informant gave a tip of this nature to the FBI in 2020” but also said that the “informant was merely reporting something he said he had been told by a Ukrainian businessman” and that the allegations are unproven. It is true that the allegations are unverified and unproven. (RELATED: Viral Image Of Costco’ Blame Joe Biden’ Gas Pump Screen Is Digitally Edited)
CNN further adds that an associate of former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani “testified during Trump’s impeachment that no one from Burisma had any contacts with Joe Biden or people working for him while he was vice president.” This testimony is undercut by an email from Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma’s board, saying he met Hunter and Joe Biden. Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, testified that Pozharskyi dined with the Bidens and several other individuals, though no business was discussed during the dinner.
McCarthy also claimed that the “Treasury Department alone has more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates that were flagged as suspicious activity by US banks,” which CNN did not dispute. Instead, the outlet reported, “[t]he existence of these suspicious activity reports don’t prove wrongdoing on their own.”
Another McCarthy claim fact-checked by CNN is that “Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions – dinners resulted in cars and millions of dollars into his son’s and his son’s business partners.” CNN notes that this statement “omits key context about what was – and wasn’t – reportedly discussed in the calls and dinners” and that “Republicans have not presented any evidence that Joe Biden himself benefited financially from his appearances at the dinners or on the calls.”
CNN’s last two fact-checking points focus on McCarthy’s claim that President “Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company” and that Joe Biden “did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings.”
CNN reported that there is “no public evidence that Joe Biden abused his government powers to help his family” but acknowledges that “allegations from House Republicans are still evolving” in regards to McCarthy’s claim. It also notes that “Joe Biden’s unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with his son have been undercut over time,” though it states “there is no public evidence that his occasional interactions with Hunter Biden’s business partners led to him getting substantively involved in his son’s financial arrangements.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Embellishes Fire Story In Recent Remarks In Hawaii)
A McCarthy spokesperson referred Check Your Fact to comments made by the Speaker during a Sept. 14 press gaggle. In the comments, McCarthy said that CNN “had to acknowledge that every alleged accusation that put us into impeachment inquiry is true.”
“[CNN] went through and said that they want to do fact checks on everything that I laid out. What was interesting was the headline. But more interesting in the fact checks: it was all true. They had to acknowledge that every alleged accusation that put us into impeachment inquiry is true. I appreciate, CNN, actually acknowledged that, because I’m not sure based upon how many of you got the memo from the White House legal counsel on what you should say, I didn’t know that was a role of the White House, to try to control the media,” McCarthy said.
Check Your Fact previously reported that there is no direct evidence that Biden benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings, but there is circumstantial evidence that the president was knowledgeable and aware of these business dealings.
Check Your Fact reached out to a CNN spokesperson for comment.