The decade's most triggering comedy
With 2024 only months away, a flurry of indictments against former President Donald Trump and allegations of corruption against the sitting commander-in-chief set the stage for a major clash in the nation’s capital — if Republicans in Congress choose to take up the fight.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) posted to X this week about how President Joe Biden has “weaponized” government against his leading political foe and Georgia’s “radical” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is “following” suit with her sprawling RICO case against Trump — who is also the front-runner for the GOP’s presidential nomination in next year’s contest — and some of his allies.
“Americans see through this desperate sham,” McCarthy added.
Yet some of the most-liked responses from the Right suggested people envision a House that will do nothing besides raise concerns.
“What are you doing about it besides tweeting?” said the Libs of TikTok account. “Stop tweeting and actually do something about it,” said The Federalist’s Sean Davis. “Based tweets are the new sternly worded letter,” added Blaze TV host Steve Deace.
The GOP-led House may yet choose to escalate, and leadership has choices where to set a focus — most notably with impeachment.
In a recent Fox News op-ed, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) explained there are four committees conducting investigations that are building cases for impeachment on issues ranging from border security to corruption to the alleged weaponization of government.
“My constituents and all of America deserve an honest answer as to how House Republicans are working to hold the Biden administration accountable,” Duncan wrote. “So far, House Republicans have held 565 oversight hearings, forced 561 Biden officials to testify under oath, and issued 45 subpoenas.”
Before the summer recess, McCarthy made headlines when he indicated that the House Oversight Committee’s probe into the financial dealings of the Biden family is “rising to the level” of an impeachment inquiry. The chairman of that panel, James Comer (R-KY), said last week that subpoenas against the Biden family are to be expected.
But there are some factors at play that threaten to derail the momentum.
Multiple reports have come out this month covering how centrist Republican lawmakers are hesitant to dive into impeachment ahead of the upcoming elections in which they may be vulnerable. And even if an impeachment inquiry were to happen, Democrats in control of the Senate are likely to oppose any articles that head their way for a trial. In addition, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was quoted recently saying the use of the impeachment process “ought to be rare.”
While Biden himself has called the allegations of corruption “a bunch of malarkey,” Democrats have been broadly dismissive of the GOP’s investigations.
“We’re investing, they’re investigating,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during an appearance Wednesday on MSNBC, seeking to draw a contrast between his party’s focus on the economy and the GOP’s inquiries into the Biden administration. “All they seem to want to do is this, that, and the other thing. That doesn’t help the American people.”
Of course, it wasn’t long ago when Democrats controlled the House while Trump was in the White House that they marched forth with investigations into the 45th president, his administration, and his family. In the 21st century, there have only been four federal impeachment cases, half of which took aim at Trump during his term in office.
Though Trump was twice acquitted by a then-GOP-led Senate, some Republicans are pushing to have his impeachments expunged, a proposal that seems to have support from McCarthy but has been minimized by some as being a “symbolic” gesture.
Trump is now facing indictments across four cases, prompting the former president to assert he has been targeted in a “witch hunt” by his political enemies. As a New York Times/Siena College poll recently showed, 71% of GOP primary voters want Republicans to stand behind Trump when it comes to the investigations.
Despite calls for action, not all Republicans are keen on sticking with Trump. Geoff Duncan, a former Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia, argued on Tuesday that efforts to “create shiny objects for folks to stare at” will cost his party both chambers of Congress, the White House, and more.
“If we just simply make the next couple of years about the issues: if we make it about the border, if we make it about education, if we make it about the budget, if we make it about the economy, if we make it about national security, we will win. We will win running away with it,” Duncan said during an appearance on CNN. “But if we make it about Donald Trump, it’s going to be a three-ring circus and we will lose. And the only place where we’re going to be able to make our campaign speeches, as Republicans, are going to be on courthouse steps because it looks like every Republican that hung out with Donald Trump is going to get an indictment.”
There is talk of pardons, including among Trump’s GOP rivals for the presidential nomination in 2024. Still, only half the cases are on the federal level and can be waved away by the sitting president. State-level pardons would be needed in the cases brought by Democrat prosecutors in New York and Georgia.
What else can House Republicans do to rein in the Biden administration? One top member who has spearheaded the investigation into the alleged “weaponization” of government recently posited to The Daily Wire that Congress’s “real power” comes with the “power of the purse,” a muscle they can soon flex with negotiations set to ramp up in the coming weeks ahead of the fiscal year ending on September 30.
“We have to use the appropriations process where we allocate taxpayer dollars for the funding of the government and the running of agencies and functions the government has,” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said on the “Morning Wire” podcast last month.
“We have to use that process to say you can’t spend money for certain things,” Jordan added. “You can’t spend money to in any way limit American speech — to infringe on their First Amendment liberties. You can’t have additional money at the FBI to build a new headquarters for goodness’ sake. So there’s a lot of those things that we are looking to put into the appropriations bills. That’s sort of the primary leverage we have and then continue to do the investigation to make sure the country knows what exactly is happening at these agencies.”