“I think that’s a question for the conference,” the representative said. jim jordan (R-Ohio), who does not normally shy away from dropping rhetorical bombshells and last year called for the president’s resignation, said of impeaching Biden in the next Congress.
Talking like this doesn’t do much to prevent some of the conference’s top Trump acolytes from going ahead with advance promises to introduce articles of impeachment, even if it risks muddying party messages. It is not the first time that some members have zigzagged while their colleagues have zigzagged, but the rhetorical dissonance comes as party leaders push for unity before November.
Rep. marjorie taylor greene (R-Ga.) and other firebrands have left a trail of breadcrumbs, filing 14 impeachment resolutions since early 2021 that pinpoint conservatives’ top goals if Republicans flip the House. Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland top the list.
When asked about impeaching Biden, Greene said “I think my colleagues will move to my position because that’s how their voters feel,” adding that he would “absolutely” file articles next year.
In the president’s orbit, Democrats predict that House Republicans are headed for overreach that will cause them a painful setback in 2024. A senior Democratic adviser, speaking to McCarthy on condition of anonymity, warned that a narrow Republican majority would embolden his right flank to his peril: “Those members will have their balls so tight that when they say ‘jump,’ he’ll say jump. ‘how high’, and it will be too late before they realize the fall will kill them.”
But calls for caution are also coming from inside the House, where some Republicans are warning against being dragged down a political rabbit hole with no chance of removing Biden from office.
“I hope we don’t” impeach Biden, Rep. tom cole (R-Okla.) he said. “I would say that we all know that, at the end of the day, there will not be a conviction in the Senate. It just injects poison into the system, it causes a lot of confusion.”
Rep. james eat (R-Ky.), who is expected to lead the Oversight Committee should Republicans take the chamber, recently demurred when asked about a presidential impeachment trial.
“That 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 Republican House would be “eager to try to impeach” Biden.
Yet when asked recently about internal pressure to impeach Biden, Comer simply joked, “I’m not under pressure, because that’s going to be McCarthy’s job.”
Congressional leaders have generally treated presidential impeachments with caution. Trump was only the third president to be impeached by the House. Talks among Republicans about impeachment during the Tea Party-fueled opposition to President Barack Obama never advanced.
When asked recently about the possibility of impeaching Biden, McCarthy stepped aside: “We just spent four years watching an impeachment trial,” he told reporters. “We respect the law. We won’t play politics with that.”
Nonetheless, internal party politics are sure to fuel an impeachment push if the GOP wins the House next month. Nearly 140 Republicans in the House supported challenges to Biden’s 2020 victory that were fueled by Trump-backed baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, and even more Republican supporters of those baseless claims are poised to join Congress next year.
But the fervor of the base doesn’t quite translate into votes, and impeaching Biden already seems out of reach for the House GOP. Of the Biden impeachment resolutions filed since January 2021, the one I support the most any account is eight members. While those numbers could rise next year if Republicans win a majority, a wide swath of moderates, more pragmatic members and even old-school conservatives would still need to be convinced.
Republicans see Mayorkas as a more likely impeachment target than Biden himself, though they would still have to convince leaders and moderates to join. In particular, McCarthy Open the door during a recent trip to the US-Mexico border.
Mayorkas “has not fulfilled his oath,” the representative said. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), who demurred when asked about the Biden allegation.
Jordan, whose committee has jurisdiction over impeachment, said the issue was up to members, but Mayorkas “deserves it” given his handling of the southern border. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said he would also introduce an impeachment ruling on Mayorkas next year, predicting “outpouring” support from fellow Republicans.
Democrats have bristled at the GOP’s attacks on Mayorkas, warning that the party’s immigration rhetoric is turning xenophobic. A person close to the administration accused Republicans of “pulling politically motivated publicity stunts” rather than wanting to address border-related challenges.
But the impeachment strategy is not the only oversight schism the conference is already traversing as it tries to lay the groundwork for its first majority since 2018.
Republicans must decide whether to form a select committee for what would essentially be a Jan. 6 investigation without Trump, as some have called. The current Democrat-led Jan. 6 panel will automatically dissolve in early January, but Republicans could revive it to pursue their own goals, including reviewing the select committee’s finances.
Rep. matt gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump ally with a penchant for edgy leadership, said he has had recent conversations with Republicans about the possible idea. but he is also attracting skepticism from top Republicans and McCarthy has not endorsed it.
Another option for House Republicans seeking to erase Trump from the narrative of the Jan. 6 failures would be to use the Committee on Administration, which has jurisdiction over the election and Capitol security, to launch an investigation next year. Retiring Illinois Representative Rodney Davisnow the top Republican on the panel, and management successor aspiring Rep. barry loudermilk (R-Ga.) have proposed that idea.
“I don’t know why you would need a select committee. The Senate did not need a select committee to do its job,” Davis said.
Then there is a likely House GOP investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. Gaetz drew attention at the conference recently by meeting with former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, who is floating himself as potential staff director next year for a first-child investigation.
Gaetz said he met with Gorka “to discuss overall strategy for an expected Republican majority, and wanted his perspective on whether or not he would advise … a committee that owns the Hunter Biden stuff.” The Floridian, who praised Comer’s work, said a possible select committee is part of the discussions he is having.
Comer, whose panel is expected to lead an investigation into the president’s son, rejected the notion of a select committee. And if one does take shape, a House Republican who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity bluntly said Gaetz “will never lead that.”
The possible future president of Oversight also advised his colleagues not to get sucked into the undergrowth of the investigation.
“We will ask for information, we will dig, we will do anything,” Comer said. “But I’m not going to put my name on anything that isn’t factual.”