Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks with reporters as she arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, in Washington. Credit: Mark Schiefelbein / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s senators, including its lone congressional Republican, shied away Tuesday from taking a position on House leaders opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings.

“The House is going to do what the House is going to do,” Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday while on Capitol Hill. “That is a decision to be made by the House, which has exclusive authority over impeachment proceedings.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said Tuesday he is directing three House committees to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden in order to seek bank records and other documents from the Democratic president and Hunter Biden, his son.

The inquiry is only a first step in an impeachment effort that would ultimately require two-thirds of the Senate to vote to remove the president from office. The Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in each of the Republican’s two impeachment trials. 

Collins was one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Biden’s predecessor in the second trial alleging he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The Maine senator voted against a conviction in Trump’s first impeachment case alleging he sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate his rivals.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, declined to comment Tuesday on the impeachment inquiry, per a spokesperson.

McCarthy, who is also facing threats to his leadership from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, called the Biden impeachment inquiry a “logical next step” after he said Republicans “uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct.”

“I believe the president would want to answer these questions and allegations as well,” McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill, adding the allegations deal with “abuse of power, obstruction and corruption.”

While Collins stayed neutral Tuesday, various Senate Republicans joined Democrats in saying they believe GOP lawmakers in the House lack enough evidence implicating Biden in his son’s past mistakes and business transactions.

House Republicans, however, have pointed to two Internal Revenue Service agents claiming the Department of Justice mishandled investigations into Hunter Biden, who is also expected to be indicted later this month on gun-related charges.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 2nd District, said he will treat any articles of impeachment that would be brought before the House “with the same in-depth analysis as I did past impeachments.”

“No matter who occupies the White House, matters of impeachment must be dealt with responsibly and all charges and supporting evidence should be given proper consideration,” Golden said in a statement.

The impeachment talk coincides with Congress returning this month to try to reach consensus on government funding deals by Sept. 30 or risk a shutdown. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st District, focused Tuesday on the programs that a shutdown would hurt in commenting on the impeachment inquiry.

“From food insecure Mainers who will go hungry to farmers who will lose crop insurance, Kevin McCarthy’s choice to inflict pain on Americans so he can cling to support from Republican extremists with this baseless impeachment farce is shameful,” Pingree said in a statement.

Billy Kobin is a politics reporter who joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023. He grew up in Wisconsin and previously worked at The Indianapolis Star and The Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.) after graduating...