House GOP Confronts Its 2023 Breakup: Impeachments
“I think that’s a question for the conference,” the rep said. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is usually quick to throw rhetorical bombs and called on the president to step down last year, said he impeached Biden in the next Congress.
Talking like that does little to stop some of Trump’s biggest cronies in the conference from moving forward with early vows to file articles of impeachment, even if it risks muddling the party’s messaging. . It is not the first time some members have zigzagged while their colleagues zigzagged, but the rhetorical dissonance comes as party leaders push for unity ahead of November.
representing Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) And other pokers have left a trail of breadcrumbs, filing 14 impeachment resolutions since the start of 2021 that point to top conservative targets if Republicans overthrow the House. Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland top the list.
Asked about Biden’s impeachment, Greene said, “I think my colleagues will take my position because that’s what their constituents feel,” adding that she would “absolutely” be submitting papers next year.
In the president’s orbit, Democrats are predicting House Republicans are on course for an overshoot that will give them a painful comeback in 2024. A senior Democratic official, speaking to McCarthy on condition of anonymity, said warned that a narrow GOP majority would embolden his right flank at his peril: “These members will have his balls in such a vice that when they say ‘jump,’ he will say ‘how high,’ and it will be too late before ‘he doesn’t realize that the fall will kill them.”
But the calls for caution are also coming from inside the House, where some Republicans are warning of getting shot down a political rabbit hole with no chance of ousting Biden from office.
‘I hope we don’t’ impeach Biden, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “I would say that we all know that ultimately there will be no conviction in the Senate. It just injects poison into the system, causes a lot of trouble.
representing james comer (R-Ky.), who is expected to lead the oversight committee if Republicans take the chamber, recently opposed a presidential impeachment.
“It will be a decision that Kevin McCarthy will have to make in communication with Jim Jordan,” Comer said.
During an appearance on Fox News in August, he predicted that a GOP house would be “eager to try and impeach” Biden.
Asked recently about the internal pressure to impeach Biden, however, Comer simply joked, “I’m not under pressure, because that will be McCarthy’s job.”
Congressional leaders have generally treated presidential impeachments with caution. Trump was only the third president ever impeached by the House. Discussions among Republicans on impeachment during the tea party-fueled opposition to President Barack Obama never moved forward.
Asked recently about the prospect of impeaching Biden, McCarthy avoided: “We just spent four years watching a political impeachment,” he told reporters. “We will enforce the law. We won’t play politics with that.
Nonetheless, internal party politics are sure to propel a vocal push for impeachment if the GOP wins the House next month. Nearly 140 incumbent House Republicans have backed challenges to Biden’s 2020 victory that have been fueled by baseless claims of widespread voter fraud backed by Trump, and even more GOP supporters of those baseless claims are on about to join Congress next year.
But the grassroots fervor isn’t quite translating into votes, and impeachment of Biden already looks almost out of reach for the House GOP. Among Biden’s impeachment resolutions introduced since January 2021, the highest number of supporters is eight members. While those numbers could rise next year if Republicans win the majority, a wide range of moderates, more pragmatic members and even old-school conservatives still stand to be swayed.
Republicans see Mayorkas as a more likely impeachment target than Biden himself, though they still need to convince leaders and moderates to join them. Notably, McCarthy opened the door on a recent trip to the US-Mexico border.
Mayorkas “didn’t keep his oath,” said Rep. Gary Palm (R-Ala.), who balked when asked to impeach Biden.
Jordan, whose committee has jurisdiction over impeachments, said the matter was up to the members but Mayorkas “deserved it” given his handling of the southern border. representing Andy Bigg (R-Arizona) said he would also file a resolution to impeach Mayorkas next year, predicting “abundant” support from his GOP colleagues.
Democrats have bristled at the GOP’s attacks on Mayorkas, warning that the party’s rhetoric on immigration is veering into xenophobia. A person close to the administration accused Republicans of “launching politically motivated publicity stunts” rather than addressing border challenges.
But the impeachment strategy isn’t the only oversight schism already rippling through the conference as it attempts to lay the groundwork for its first majority since 2018.
Republicans must decide whether they will form a select committee for what would essentially be a Jan. 6 inquiry without Trump, as some have demanded. The current Democratic-led Jan. 6 panel will automatically disband in early January, but Republicans could relaunch it to pursue their own goals, including reviewing the finances of the select committee.
representing Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump ally with a penchant for restless leadership, said he’s had recent conversations with Republicans about the possible idea. But it also draws skepticism from senior Republicans, and McCarthy has not backed it.
Another option for House Republicans seeking to erase Trump from the Jan. 6 failures narrative would be to use the administration committee, which has jurisdiction over elections and Capitol security, to launch an investigation next year. . Retired Illinois Representative Rodney Davisnow the top Republican on the panel and the administration’s aspiring successor. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) both proposed this idea.
“I don’t know why you would need a select committee. The Senate didn’t need a select committee to do its job,” Davis said.
Then there’s likely a House GOP investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings. Gaetz raised eyebrows at the conference recently when he met former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, who is slated to become a potential personnel director next year for a first-son investigation.
Gaetz said he met with Gorka “to discuss the overall strategy for an expected Republican majority, and I wanted his perspective on whether or not he would advise…a proprietary committee of Hunter Biden’s affairs” . The Floridian, who has praised Comer’s work, said a potential selection committee was part of the discussions he was having.
Comer, whose panel is expected to lead an investigation into the president’s son, rejected the idea of a select committee. And if one takes shape, a House Republican who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity said bluntly that Gaetz “will never run this.”
The would-be future oversight chairman also cautioned his colleagues against getting drawn into the weeds of the investigation.
“We’ll ask for information, we’ll dig, we’ll do anything,” Comer said. “But I don’t put my name on anything that isn’t factual.”