From the Left



Impeach Biden First – Then Find Out Why

Bill Press, Tribune Content Agency on

It’s hard to know what to say about House Republicans moving to impeach President Biden, except: it’s insane; it’s totally evidence-free; it’s pure revenge for two impeachments of Donald Trump; and it’s the most outrageous abuse of congressional power in our lifetime.

Impeachments used to be rare. Now they’re almost standard procedure every time the opposition party takes over the House. No president had been impeached since Andrew Johnson, in 1868. But in the last 25 years, we’ve seen three of them: Bill Clinton, 1998; Donald Trump, in 2019 and 2021.

Here we go again. On his own, with no vote in the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy ordered House Republicans to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Which has only one possible outcome. You can’t put ketchup back in the bottle, and you can’t derail the impeachment train. It’s inevitable. Joe Biden will become the fourth president to be impeached. With one big difference.

I remember it well. I was co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” when news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. Suddenly, there was the Ken Starr report. And there was the blue dress. In other words, whether what Clinton did was an impeachable offense or not – I argued not! – there was evidence before any impeachment inquiry was launched.

Same with Donald Trump. For Trump’s first impeachment, there was evidence: the tape of his telephone call offering Ukraine President Zelensky a bribe for opening an investigation into Joe Biden. For his second impeachment, there was also evidence: the assault on the Capitol on January 6, seen in all its horror by millions of Americans on TV.

That’s the difference. For the impeachment of Joe Biden, there is no evidence. Zero. Which Republican lawmakers openly admit. In fact, defying both logic and protocol, they argue that they must first start impeachment proceedings in order to find the evidence – which, so far, they’ve been unable to uncover.

It’s not that they haven’t tried. For years, Republicans have accused Joe Biden, as vice president, of personally and illegally profiteering – even accepting bribes! – from his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. But to date they’ve come up empty-handed.

In 2020, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson conducted a months-long Senate investigation of Hunter Biden. His final report – issued in September 2020, Johnson admitted, in order to help Trump’s re-election campaign – concluded that Hunter’s business activities proved “very awkward” for Biden. Note: Not illegal. Not impeachable. Just “very awkward.”

Last month, House Oversight Chair James Comer announced with great fanfare that he would prove the case against both father and son Biden in a closed-door hearing with Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner. Oops! The hearing transcript revealed that Archer, under oath, instead testified that Joe Biden had never benefited from nor done anything to help Hunter’s business activities and had never been offered, nor accepted, any bribe.


And yet, despite having no evidence, McCarthy triggered an impeachment inquiry on President Biden on the theory that if Republicans just keep digging, sooner or later they’ll find something to impeach him for. In other words, it’s just the opposite of Clinton and Trump. Then it was evidence first, impeachment later. With Biden, it’s impeachment first, and – maybe! – evidence later. As Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri suggests, the headline is: “We Guess Joe Biden Did Something Worth Impeaching and We Can’t Wait to Learn What It Was.”

It's no secret why McCarthy’s making this move. For two reasons. First, because Donald Trump begged him to, on Trump’s ridiculous theory that accusing Biden of breaking the law will take the spotlight off Trump’s own 91 charges of federal crimes. Second, because, for now, it’s the only way McCarthy can save his job from extremists who are actually running the House and could vote him out as Speaker at any minute.

It's a gamble McCarthy will soon regret. In the short term, he may save his job. But, in the long term, he may well lose his job anyway, when Democrats take back control of the House in 2024. A tit-for-tat impeachment is not what the majority of Americans want. It may excite the MAGA base, but it’ll turn off Independents and moderate, suburban voters Republicans need to win.

Which is why, privately, many Democrats are saying about the Biden impeachment: “Bring it on!” It’ll only show how irresponsible today’s Republican Party is. It’ll help Democrats hold on to the Senate and take back the House. And it won’t hurt Joe Biden – it will probably help re-elect him.


(Bill Press is host of The BillPressPod, and author of 10 books, including: “From the Left: My Life in the Crossfire.” His email address is: Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.)

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