Mike Johnson Basically Admitted That Biden Impeachment Push Is a Partisan Sham: Report
As Joe Biden’s favorability numbers continue to plunge and another four years of Donald Trump appears more likely, Republicans in Washington have all but owned up to the blatantly political rationale behind their impeachment inquiry against the president.
The acknowledgment came in a closed-door meeting this week on Capitol Hill, where Mike Johnson, the freshly minted Speaker of the House, signaled that impeaching Biden is now less of a priority for the GOP given his waning popularity, according toFriday.
“Is it pragmatic? Does it make sense? Connecting those dots matter,” Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican congresswoman from Oregon, said following the meeting that Johnson held with a group of moderate members. “So I don’t think it makes sense to move down a road unless those dots can be connected, and I think that’s the message he was trying to send to us which we appreciated.”
Don Bacon, a moderate Republican from Nebraska, asserted that Johnson’s position on impeachment is not political. “We’ll just go where the evidence goes and we’re not there yet,” he said, paraphrasing the Speaker. But Bacon still mentioned the president’s unpopularity. “I think the voters will reject what they are seeing when it comes to Biden [policies],” Bacon added. “But high crimes and misdemeanors? I don’t think we’ve seen that or enough data to really make a good case and I feel like [Johnson] really agreed with us on that.”
Kevin McCarthy, the former House Speaker who was ousted last month, opened the impeachment inquiry in September amid an onslaught of pressure from hard-line Republicans, some of whom thanked McCarthy by pushing for his removal anyway. In his stead came Johnson, a Louisana lawmaker known as more of a conservative crusader than his predecessor. And when it comes to impeachment, Johnson has sought to publicly maintain that brand, even if he is more ambivalent in private.
“If, in fact, all the evidence leads where we believe it will, that’s very likely impeachment,” heFox News host Sean Hannity last week, referencing the unfounded theory that Biden used his powers while vice president to enrich himself and members of his family through an influence-peddling scheme. (The White House has said such claims are “baseless” and “evidence-free.”) Later in the interview, Johnson offered an explanation likely meant specifically for Hannity’s viewers: He said he is aware that people are “anxious” and “restless” and “just want somebody to be impeached” but added he will only go as far as ”the evidence” takes him.
The task of compiling said evidence has largely been left to James Comer, the House Oversight chairman whose lust for impeachment has not abated throughout the weeks of congressional chaos. On Wednesday, he issued subpoenas for the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his brother, James Biden. He also requested a voluntary interview with Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s eldest son Beau, and Melissa Cohen, Hunter’s wife. “Unlike the many lies President Biden told the American people about his family’s business schemes, bank records don’t lie,” Comer said Wednesday. “These records reveal how the Bidens sold Joe Biden around to the world to benefit the Biden family, including Joe Biden himself, to the detriment of U.S. interests.”
In response, the Biden administration has criticized Republicans for fixating on the impeachment inquiry as Congress approaches another funding cliff. “With just over a week to go until House Republicans may again thrust the country into a harmful and chaotic government shutdown, the most extreme voices in their party like James Comer are trying to distract from their repeated failures to govern,”White House spokesperson Ian Sams. “Instead of using the power of Congress to pursue a partisan political smear campaign against the President and his family, extreme House Republicans should do their jobs.”