(The Hill) — Republicans hoping to take control of the House in November are already turning their attention to what is, for many of them, a top priority next year: impeaching President Joe Biden.
A number of rank-and-file conservatives have already introduced articles of impeachment in the current Congress against the president. They accuse Biden of committing “serious crimes” in his approach to a range of issues related to border enforcement, the coronavirus pandemic and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
These resolutions never had a chance to see the light of day, with the Democrats exercising tight control over the lower house. But with Republicans widely expected to win a House majority by midterm, many of those same conservatives want to use their potential new powers to oust a president they deem unfit. Some would like to make it a first order of the day.
“I’ve always said President Biden should be impeached for intentionally opening our border and making Americans less safe,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va, said. “Congress has a duty to hold the president accountable for this and any other failure of his constitutional responsibilities, so a new Republican majority must be prepared to exercise aggressive oversight on day one.”
The Conservative impeachment campaign is reminiscent of one orchestrated by the Liberals four years ago, as Democrats took control of the House in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump. At the time, a small handful of vocal progressives wanted to impeach Trump, largely over accusations that he obstructed a Justice Department investigation into Russian ties to his 2016 campaign. repeatedly rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, including fears it would alienate voters in tough battleground districts.
The tide turned when a whistleblower accused Trump of pressuring a foreign power to find dirt on his political opponent – a charge that got centrist Democrats on the impeachment bandwagon . With moderates on board, Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry in September 2019, eight months after taking the gavel from the President. Three months later, the House impeached Trump on two counts related to abuse of power.
The difference between then and now is that the Liberals at the start of 2019 were fighting a lonely battle with little support. This year, as the midterms approached, dozens of conservatives either formally endorsed Biden’s impeachment or suggested they were prepared to support it.
At least eight resolutions to impeach Biden have been proposed since he took office: three related to his handling of the influx of migrants at the southern border; three targeting his handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year; one denouncing the eviction moratorium intended to help tenants during the pandemic; and yet another related to the overseas business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden.
These proposals will expire with the end of this Congress. But some of the sponsors are already promising to see them again soon next year. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., principal sponsor of four of the impeachment resolutions, is among them.
“She thinks Joe Biden should have been impeached as soon as he was sworn in, so of course she wants that to happen as soon as possible,” Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene, said in an email Monday. -mail.
A vociferous impeachment push from the GOP’s right flank could create headaches for Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader vying to be president, and other party leaders just as the 2024 presidential cycle heats up. warms up.
On the one hand, impeaching Biden could alienate moderate voters and hurt the GOP at the polls, as it did in 1998 after President Clinton was impeached. Already, GOP leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are throwing cold water on the impeachment speech, suggesting it could hurt Republicans midterm politically.
On the other hand, ignoring conservative impeachment demands could spark a revolt by a Republican base eager to avenge the two Democrat impeachments against Trump, who remains the GOP’s most popular national figure. McCarthy knows the dangers of far-right anger well: The Freedom Caucus pushed R-Ohio Speaker John Boehner into early retirement in 2015, deeming him insufficiently conservative, and then blocked McCarthy from replacing him.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The challenge facing Republican leaders in a GOP-controlled House will be to show an aggressive stance toward the administration, to appease conservatives, without alienating moderate voters in the process.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., appears to be toeing that line. Last summer she called Biden “unfit to serve as president,” but stopped short of approving his impeachment.
Stefanik’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
Another strategy GOP leaders can adopt is to impeach a high-ranking member of the administration, but not the president himself. Several resolutions have been introduced to do just that, separately targeting Vice President Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
McCarthy, during a visit to the southern border earlier in the year, had floated the idea of removing Mayorkas if he was found to be “abandoned” in his job of securing the border. And the concept has a lot of support among conservatives.
“Mayorkas and Garland have deliberately made our country less secure, politicized their departments and violated the rule of law. In some cases, they have ordered their subordinates to disobey our laws. This is unacceptable,” Rep. Andy said. Biggs, R-Arizona, who has approved a number of impeachment resolutions this year, in an email.
“Coming January, I expect the House to pursue my Articles of Impeachment against Mayorkas as well as the Articles of Impeachment of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene that I co-sponsored against Attorney General Merrick Garland,” Biggs added.
Yet conservatives like Biggs, the former Freedom Caucus leader, also want to go straight to the top in impeaching Biden. And it remains unclear whether anything less than that will appease the GOP’s restless right flank — a flank that is set to grow next year with the arrival of a number of pro-Trump conservatives vowing to confront anyone they see as part of the political establishment in Washington.
Some Republicans have said whether or not to approve impeachment next year will simply depend on events. Representative Ralph Norman, R.S.C., for example, has approved two impeachment resolutions this cycle related to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but “has not yet made a decision on whether to support the articles of impeachment the next year with Republicans in the majority,” spokesman Austin Livingstone said.
“He’ll be waiting to see what those efforts look like, particularly how they align with Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution,” Livingston said, referring to the section outlining congressional impeachment powers.
But others are eager to use a GOP majority to hold Biden’s feet to the fire. And this energy does not seem fleeting, especially with regard to the border crisis, which could very well remain relevant in six months.
Representative Mary Miller, a staunch Trump supporter who recently won an Illinois primary against more moderate Republican Representative Rodney Davis, said Biden should be fired “for willfully ignoring our immigration laws.”
“Biden and Harris failed in their most basic duty,” Miller said, “which is to keep the American people safe through the security of our borders.”