House Republicans — fresh off the expulsion of former GOP Rep. George Santos (N.Y.) and unable to pass much of anything — are moving ahead with dual impeachment investigations into both President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
We expect the House to vote as early as next week to authorize the Biden impeachment inquiry. GOP leaders believe they have the votes to do so. The House is currently scheduled to leave town on Dec. 14 and not return until Jan. 9.
Democrats and the White House have ramped up their efforts to push back on the House Republican impeachment drive. There’s clearly an element of payback here for the 2019 impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
Yet it’s also another dramatic escalation of impeachment as a political weapon. This will be the second straight election cycle where the incumbent president faces impeachment and a possible Senate trial in the same year as he goes before the voters seeking another term. And no Cabinet official has been impeached in nearly 150 years. But Republicans are poised now to do both in the coming months.
House GOP leaders face growing pressure from their right as well. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) keeps going to the floor to say the Republican majority is doing nothing, and it looks like GOP leaders may cave on FY2024 spending level.
But Republicans are upping the pressure on Ukraine, as we noted above, and they’re pushing the impeachment button on Biden and Mayorkas.
To get an idea of what the resolution authorizing the Biden inquiry may look like, here’s the 2019 resolution Democrats approved during the first Trump impeachment. In that case, the Intelligence Committee — then chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — took the lead. This time, it will be the Oversight Committee under Chair James Comer (R-Ky.). The Judiciary Committee, however, will oversee Biden’s impeachment if it happens.
The Oversight Committee’s subpoena deadline for James Biden, the president’s brother, is Wednesday. Hunter Biden, the president’s son, faces a Dec. 13 deadline. As we noted last week, James Biden’s lawyers have been in contact with Oversight panel GOP staffers about a possible interview. Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, has clashed with Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) over how the president’s son will testify.
Comer predicted on “Fox News Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo” that there will be enough House Republican support to authorize the inquiry despite the GOP’s razor-thin three-vote margin.
“We are unified at a time when it’s no secret our conference is broken in a lot of ways,” Comer said. “I’m confident we’re going to have the votes to move forward with this impeachment inquiry.”
Comer took a shot at Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a potential “no” vote:
Quick note: It’s “Jamie Raskin,” not “Raskins,” as Comer said twice.
Now let’s focus on Mayorkas. The Homeland Security Committee is leading this probe. We’re told that any impeachment vote for Mayorkas — if and when it happens — will first take place in that panel and then could move directly to the House floor.
The Judiciary Committee, which normally would have jurisdiction here, will instead prioritize Biden, so Homeland Security will have responsibility for Mayorkas.
Judiciary traditionally handles such matters, including preparing articles of impeachment. But House GOP leaders face a serious time crunch on Mayorkas. And there’s no requirement that the panel has to be involved in impeachment cases either.
Speaker Mike Johnson and Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) met privately with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shortly before she pulled a Mayorkas impeachment resolution last week. Greene told reporters that a vote on Mayorkas’ impeachment will happen “very soon.”
But the delay will allow Green to come out with his final report on Mayorkas. And more importantly for him, this will allow the Homeland Security panel to keep its control of the impeachment process on Mayorkas.
— John Bresnahan