Sigh—the once-sensible Dusty Johnson says that, even with his conservative compatriots about to shut down the government, his fellow House members ought to expend valuable time and resources conducting an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden:
Dusty, Dusty, Dusty—you are backing the weakest impeachment investigation in history:
“This is very disturbing for people who study past impeachments, because impeachment is really a very extreme measure,” says constitutional scholar Philip Bobbitt, a professor at Columbia Law School and expert on the history of impeachment who co-authored an updated edition of Charles Black’s classic legal text, Impeachment: A Handbook, in 2018. “I honestly don’t know that there is any evidence tying the president to corrupt activities when he was vice president or now.”
Frank Bowman, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri school of law and author of the book High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump, said that McCarthy’s decision did not appear to be based on the evidence House Republicans have gathered thus far.
“Biden’s Republican pursuers have got exactly zero, zip, bupkis, on any matter that might be impeachable,” says Bowman [Mini Racker, “‘Absolutely Shocking’: Impeachment Experts Say Biden Inquiry May Be Weakest in U.S. History,” Time, 2023.09.12].
Republicans have zero evidence justifying this unprecedented partisan moonbattery:
…So far, Republicans have found that Biden’s son, Hunter, made millions of dollars while his father was vice president. Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden’s, has previously testified to the House Oversight Committee that businesses were interested in working with Hunter in part due to his proximity to the Biden “brand.”
One key piece of evidence Republicans have cited from Archer’s testimony is that Biden participated in roughly 20 phone calls with Hunter’s business contacts. However, Archer stressed those encounters consisted of small talk like the weather and not issues of substance. Archer also testified that he hadn’t seen President Biden attempt to use his office to help Hunter advance his career.
Some “evidence,” such as claims Biden engaged in quid pro quo schemes, have been disproved. Others, like testimony from whistleblowers who claim the government gave Hunter Biden lenient treatment in its investigations into potential misconduct, have been largely discredited. As the New York Times explained, “there is no evidence that Mr. Biden ordered that his son get special treatment in any investigation.”
Overall, House Republicans’ investigations have not found any actual, concrete proof of wrongdoing by President Biden. As a result, their decision to open an inquiry is surprising, since it’s historically not been done until there’s significant evidence of misconduct. Republicans have argued that the inquiry is to help them gather this information: It provides a legal framework that could enable these committees to gain more subpoena powers for documents, though the legal precedent for this is unclear, and any subpoenas are likely to be met with lawsuits.
Currently, the House does not yet have a strong case that Biden committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” one of the charges a president can be impeached for. Multiple Republicans — including Senate leaders like John Thune (R-SD) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) as well as House members like Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) — have expressed concerns that the GOP is moving forward on an inquiry without providing clear evidence of the offenses it will center on [Li Zhou, “Republicans’ Unfounded Impeachment Inquiry of Biden, Explained,” Vox, 2023.09.12].
Come on, Dusty, look at the evidence the way you used to on the Public Utilities Commission. Demand facts, not fictitious wishes. Call for an end to this impeachment charade and get your caucus back to solving real problems.