While some voices among the conservative base of the Republican Party may want to see Joe Biden impeached over his steadily worsening classified documents scandal, it looks like that may not be happening. Biden, who has been found to have several troves of classified materials at his Wilmington, Delaware home, originally made the case to the public that it wasn’t the level of classification that was the issue but the mishandling of any classified documents that was wrong – at least, in the case of former president Donald Trump.
But, The Hill is reporting today that GOP Senators are pouring cold water on the idea, especially as the party struggles to deal with the looming debt ceiling and budget fights ahead.
“I don’t think you want to get into where it’s a tit for tat, every two years or four years you’re dealing with impeachment proceedings in the House and Senate,” Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) told The Hill. “There has to be a really good reason, obviously, the constitutional reasons and grounds for that. So we’ll see where it goes.”
Asked whether Biden’s possession of classified documents has the potential to rise to the level of an impeachable offense, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to the Senate GOP leadership team, gave a simple answer: “No.”
Many Republicans thought the Democrats’ first impeachment of Trump over delaying military aide to Ukraine was a partisan overreach. But that means they are also wary of doing the same thing now that their party has the House majority.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reacted similarly.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday dismissed a question about whether Biden’s possession of classified documents could rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
“I don’t have an answer to that hypothetical. I do think that the Justice Department seems to be willing to treat everybody the same and to try to retrieve the documents, and obviously it’s not a great idea to take classified documents away from the archives. We’ll see how they continue to handle it,” he said.
To be completely honest, I am okay with the GOP not pursuing impeachment. I think it is a distraction from the fights that they should be having – the debt ceiling, budget, weaponization of federal agencies, and more – and, even if it’s successful, just puts Kamala Harris in power with a still GOP Senate that doesn’t need her tiebreaking vote anymore. Right now, the Republicans in Congress can’t afford distractions. Their job is hard enough with a host of investigative committees, as well as the typical job of legislating. To add impeachment to the list would be too much.
On top of that, there’s no way you could get near enough votes in the Senate to make it worth the trial portion of impeachment. It would be purely symbolic and a waste of valuable time. But, I do have a problem with McConnell suggesting that the Justice Department “seems to be willing to treat everybody the same,” when that is the opposite of what’s happened here.
When the Mar-a-Lago raid happened, it was a big spectacle. And the subsequent leaks from the DOJ confused the matter (many of the leaks now seem to be based on incomplete information, at best, if not outright wrong conjecture) and were absolutely meant to sway the news cycle. Compare that to the Biden scandal, and there’s no way you can call that the same treatment. The DOJ helped the Biden administration keep the story quiet for two months. At no point was anyone so unprofessional as to leak to the media what may or may not have been in the Biden documents.
I fully realize the two situations are different in terms of the lead-up (Trump insisting he gave everything back/insisting he declassified things vs. Biden being a walking CTE and forgetting about them), but the DOJ’s treatment of the aftermath is pretty significant. They showed clear hostility to one and actively worked to protect the public image of the other. That’s not treating everybody the same.
But, regardless, you know that Biden wouldn’t be impeached even if the GOP wanted to try. I’m okay with them not trying because there are so many other things I’d rather see them go after than a show vote on impeaching someone who could very easily not be running for re-election anyway.
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