House Republicans are grappling over whether to move forward with impeaching President Biden and a host of his top officials, putting a spotlight on how the conference has turned to impeachment as a tool to target administration officials.
Republicans disagree over how hard to push for impeachment because some are worried the efforts could backfire after the party heavily criticized Democrats for their House impeachments of former President Trump.
Here’s a look at who House Republicans are targeting for impeachment, and why they are doing so.
President Joe Biden speaks during a Monday event about high-speed internet infrastructure, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
It’s far from clear that most Republicans want to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Biden.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) introduced a procedural measure to force a floor vote on her impeachment articles, which led to internal sparring and a days-long clash between GOP leaders and the congresswoman. The House voted to punt the resolution to committees and avoid making lawmakers vote on it on the floor.
The resolution, which many Republicans deemed as premature, accused Biden of “a complete and total invasion at the southern border.” The resolution includes two articles related to Biden’s handling of matters along the U.S.-Mexico border — one for dereliction of duty and one for abuse of power.
During the last Congress, GOP lawmakers in the minority introduced several impeachment resolutions against Biden, targeting him on immigration, the COVID pandemic and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Boebert’s move was an escalation that threatened to put vulnerable moderates in the caucus in a tough spot if they had to vote on it.
There are other voices in the GOP calling for Biden’s impeachment.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley told Fox News this week that congressional Republicans “absolutely should” look into impeachment. Her comments followed an IRS whistleblower’s claims about tax crime investigations into the president’s son Hunter Biden.
But Boebert’s push has been dismissed by some in her party as frivolous.
“I’ve got a pretty high bar for impeachment,” Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said last week. “I fear that snap impeachments will become the norm, and they mustn’t.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee answers a question during a hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2024 budget for the Department of Justice on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Greg Nash)
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) brought up impeaching Garland this week, tying it to the Department of Justice’s handling of the investigations into Hunter Biden.
McCarthy said an impeachment inquiry could be warranted over alleged political bias and DOJ “weaponization.” The push has been fueled by an IRS whistleblower’s claims, denied by Garland, that there was political interference in tax crime investigations into Hunter Biden.
“Someone has lied here,” McCarthy said Wednesday on Fox News. “If we find that Garland has lied to Congress, we will start an impeachment inquiry.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed articles of impeachment against Garland last summer over the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents.
“If the whistleblowers’ allegations are true, this will be a significant part of a larger impeachment inquiry into Merrick Garland’s weaponization of DOJ,” McCarthy said in a tweet.
McCarthy’s focus on Garland is a change in how he has handled calls from Republicans to impeach other members of the Biden administration. He has vowed any impeachment proceedings would not be political.
The White House has bashed the idea of a Garland impeachment inquiry, saying it is an effort to distract from the economy and other topics top of mind for Americans.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at a March 10 news conference ahead of the lifting of Title 42. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Republicans, led by Greene and fellow Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Pat Fallon (Texas), have targeted Mayorkas with articles of impeachment over the flow of migrants at the southern border.
House Republicans have held multiple hearings focused on what they describe as Mayorkas’s “dereliction of duty,” and mishandling of border policy, pointing to surges of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border that set records in 2022.
“I just think that more and more people are starting to come around to the necessity to impeach the guy,” Biggs said.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) recently announced the panel would kick off a formal investigation of Mayorkas as a necessary step ahead of an impeachment inquiry.
The focus on Mayorkas has drawn criticism from Democrats who believe Republicans are resorting to impeachment over what amounts to a disagreement over immigration policy.
Homeland Security also has pushed back on GOP arguments over the border while largely blaming Congress for the problems.
The push to impeach Mayorkas has also been complicated by a drop in apprehensions at the southern border in the weeks after the Biden administration ended Title 42, which had been in place since 2020 and allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants.
FBI Director Christopher Wray
FBI Director Christopher Wray gives an opening statement during an April 27 hearing to discuss President Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget request for the FBI. (Greg Nash)
Greene in May said she would target Wray and introduce articles of impeachment against him.
The congresswoman argued that Way turned the FBI into Biden and Garland’s “personal police force” and that the FBI has “intimidated, harassed, and entrapped” U.S. citizens who have been “deemed enemies of the Biden regime.”
While citing some FBI actions that she argued show the agency overreached, Greene referred to the plot that multiple men had in 2020 plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). She noted that two of the men were acquitted after defense attorneys argued that the FBI entrapped them and convinced them to engage in the conspiracy.
She also mentioned that the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents, arguing that the former president didn’t break any laws. Trump has been indicted by a Miami jury over his handling of the records.
Wray is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on July 12.
The hearing comes after the Republican-led House Oversight Committee threatened to hold Wray in contempt over his initial refusal to turn over a document detailing an unverified tip that GOP lawmakers claim shows then-Vice President Biden’s involvement in a bribery scheme. The panel later backed off its contempt threat.
The FBI and Justice Department as a whole have become common targets for conservatives, who have repeatedly claimed federal law enforcement is biased against Republicans and has been weaponized. Those claims have been supercharged by the federal indictment of Trump on charges over his retention of classified government documents after he left office.
Source: The Hill