WASHINGTON, Sep 12 (Reuters) - Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday (Sep 12) launched an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, propelling Congress toward a long-shot effort to remove the Democratic president that follows two impeachments of former President Donald Trump.

McCarthy's move sets the stage for months of divisive House of Representatives hearings that could distract from lawmakers' efforts to avoid a government shutdown and could supercharge the 2024 presidential race, in which Trump hopes to avenge his 2020 election loss to Biden and win back the White House.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams said Republicans have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.

"Extreme politics at its worst," Sams wrote on social media.

Republicans, who now narrowly control the House, have accused Biden of profiting while he served as vice president from 2009 to 2017 from his son Hunter Biden's foreign business ventures, though they have not presented substantiation.

"We will go where the evidence takes us," McCarthy said.

Biden previously had mocked Republicans over a possible impeachment. No US president has ever been removed from office by impeachment, but the procedure - once a rarity - has become commonplace.

Many in McCarthy's party were infuriated when the House, then controlled by Democrats, impeached Trump in 2019 and 2021, though he was acquitted both times in the Senate. Some hardline Republicans had said they would try to remove McCarthy as the leader of the House if he did not move ahead with an impeachment effort against Biden.