Utah’s GOP U.S. House members vote for impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden

Newly-elected Rep. Celeste Maloy voted ‘yes’ on Biden impeachment inquiry, despite previous hesitations about impeachments.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Joe Biden acknowledges supporters as his motorcade passes through the Park City area following a private fundraiser on Thursday, Aug 10, 2023. All of Utah's U.S. House members voted to open an impeach inquiry into Biden on Wednesday.

All four of Utah’s Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted strictly along party lines to approve the investigation into allegations of corruption and whether Biden financially benefitted from his son Hunter’s business dealings.

The evidence to support an impeachment inquiry is flimsy. Three House committees are reportedly investigating the Biden administration, alleging bribery and corruption from Biden’s time as vice president. Republicans point to debunked conspiracy theories, loan payments from family members and other financial transactions between relatives to justify the investigations into Biden. In the only hearing related to the investigation, expert witnesses called by Republicans reportedly said there was insufficient evidence to support an impeachment.

The Republican majority in the House claims beginning an impeachment inquiry will give them greater ability to investigate and gather evidence.

President Biden has denied any wrongdoing.

The vote to open an inquiry into Democrat Biden stands in contrast to how members of Utah’s delegation voted when Republican Donald Trump faced impeachment.

Rep. Celeste Maloy, sworn into office a little more than two weeks ago, avoided questions about how she would vote on opening an impeachment inquiry into Biden while she was on the campaign trail. Maloy was a “yes” vote on Wednesday.

As the legal counsel for former Congressman Chris Stewart, Maloy says she opposed both impeachments of the former president.

“We’ve made impeachment too easy of a process. It’s supposed to be an absolute last resort. I think the two Trump impeachments were not well thought out. I don’t know that impeaching the next Democratic president is the right response to that,” Maloy said during an interview with The Tribune.

“I think we should be more thoughtful and make sure an impeachment never looks like political grandstanding.”

Maloy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Tribune.

Like Maloy, one of the first significant votes for Reps. Burgess Owens and Blake Moore after taking office was the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the mob of supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Both Owens and Moore voted against impeaching Trump.

“It’s no wonder our nation is divided,” Moore said then. “We are on an absolute race to the bottom.”

Owens said impeaching Trump, just days before he was set to leave office, was “rushed” and “purely political.”

On Wednesday, Owens amplified misleading claims about the Biden family’s foreign business connections.

“The Biden family has raked in tens of millions of dollars by leveraging their last name to peddle political influence and secure lucrative business deals with foreign nationals and adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party,” Owens said in a news release.

An analysis by The Washington Post found most of those foreign payments went to Hunter Biden and people he did business with. The committees leading the investigation have not identified any payments to President Joe Biden.

Owens’s vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry is not a surprise as he’s been the most vocal supporter of the move among Utah’s members of Congress. Owens used the issue in July to raise money for his 2024 re-election effort.

Moore said his “yes” vote was a result of his work with the Ways and Means Committee and that panel’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s businesses.

“On the Ways and Means Committee, we have spent the last several months digging in on Hunter Biden’s foreign influence peddling schemes and tax crimes and President Biden’s potential involvement. This vote allows us greater scope of information and access to the materials that would help us determine the extent to which President Biden has been involved in his family’s nefarious business dealings,” Moore said in a statement to The Tribune.

Rep. John Curtis, currently the longest-tenured Utahn in the House, voted no both times Trump was impeached during his presidency.

In 2019, when Trump was impeached for withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden, Curtis said he did not see enough evidence to support that claim.

“I’m being asked to help remove a duly elected president, and I do not feel that his actions have met that high standard,” Curtis said.

Curtis justified his no vote during Trump’s second impeachment by saying the process was rushed and went against due process.

In a statement after his vote Wednesday, Curtis said he voted for the inquiry “to ensure House subpoenas will be upheld in the court system.”

“To be clear, my vote does not mean I will support impeachment,” he added. “I will not draw any conclusions until the end of this investigation.”

Moore did not respond to emails seeking comment from The Tribune.

Not every Utahn in Congress thinks an impeachment inquiry is warranted. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney said he did not “see any evidence” that would justify impeaching Biden.

“I think before you begin an impeachment inquiry, you ought to have some evidence, some inclination that there’s been wrongdoing,” Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “So far, there’s nothing of that nature that’s been provided.”

Romney voted to convict Trump both times he was impeached.