With just 12 legislative days scheduled the rest of the year, appropriations bills they can’t pass, a simmering civil war over the last continuing resolution to fund the government, and two more funding deadlines looming, House Republicans are laser-focused on one thing: impeaching President Joe Biden.
Leadership wants to make a decision on going forward with impeachment as soon as January, and they’ll figure out what they’re impeaching him over as they go along. At the moment, its allegations are that Biden used his political office to help his family’s business interests. Since their “evidence” tends to have to do with things Biden did when he was not holding political office, and those things are well documented and above board, that’s going to be a challenge.
The MAGA crew doesn’t care. They want this done now. “I think it needs to move with alacrity. I’ve always felt that we should be able to move faster. … But I do anticipate that it comes to Judiciary soon,” North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop, a Freedom Caucus member who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told Politico.
Another Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Ben Cline of Virginia, tried to take the high road talking to Politico, pretending as though this whole pursuit is about public service rather than Trumpian revenge. “We understand that the further you go toward an election, the more politicized these conversations become. That’s why it’s all the more important for us to begin to take action sooner rather than later.”
And if they can’t get Biden on any actual actions, they’re willing to go for the technicalities. “They’ve hinted that they could also draw obstruction allegations into the impeachment articles, citing any refusal by the Biden administration to cooperate,” Politico reports.
That might be one of the strategies behind the ridiculous subpoenas they’re piling up, the latest of which is for Lesley Wolf, the assistant U.S. attorney for Delaware who investigated Hunter Biden. They’re trying to find evidence of political interference in the federal investigation that began in 2018, under the Trump administration. When Joe Biden was not in office.
It’s not like they aren’t aware that this is a fraught issue for a good chunk of the GOP conference. “Any kind of an impeachment puts our Biden people in a really tough spot,” one GOP lawmaker told Politico, talking about the Biden 18 in particular. “Impeachment hurts us politically—it makes our base feel better.”
They know they’re hurting their members. They know they are only antagonizing the Senate, which will never take up impeachment articles even if the House manages to pass them, a very big if at this point. They also know they have an almost insurmountable amount of work to do between now and Jan. 19, when the first tranche of current government funding expires. On top of that, there’s aid to Israel and Ukraine.
The House GOP is flirting with their own political disaster. The impeachers believe they have an ally in new House Speaker Mike Johnson, but Johnson might be savvy enough to recognize that moving forward with impeachment articles will only rend the conference and give him a black eye he can ill afford going into an election year. But Johnson is “all in” for Trump, so no matter how baseless, toxic, and dangerous impeachment is, that’s probably where they’re headed.
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We talk about North Carolina non-stop on "The Downballot," so it's only natural that our guest on this week's episode is Anderson Clayton, the new chair of the state Democratic Party. Clayton made headlines when she became the youngest state party chair anywhere in the country at the age of 25, and the story of how she got there is an inspiring one. But what she's doing—and plans to do—is even more compelling. Her focus is on rebuilding the party infrastructure from the county level up, with the aim of reconnecting with rural Black voters who've too often been sidelined and making young voters feel like they have a political home. Plus: her long-term plan to win back the state Supreme Court.