December 6, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Impeachment is probably coming
We shouldn’t have any illusions about it. I doubt the president does.
President Joe Biden’s guilt is such an article of faith among insurgent Republicans that the conspicuous lack of any evidence of any kind of wrongdoing on his part is treated as a technicality. They know he’s guilty … of something. That much is beyond doubt! The only question is where the evidence is hiding, and that’s just a matter of searching for it.
So they have searched and they have searched – and they have searched. On Monday, Republican investigators announced what they found. They said the president’s son, Hunter Biden, paid his dad “recurring payments”! They said these payments came from Hunter Biden’s company, which they also said received money from China.
Sounds damning! Except the news is old, according to CNN. It turns out that by “recurring payments,” they meant three payments in the amount of $1,380, not exactly impeachment-level money. (Evidently, Hunter Biden paid back his dad for signing for a 2018 truck loan. The profligate son had ruined his credit during his drug-addled days. Dad, by the way, wasn’t president at the time.) All of this was already public record. The only thing new is the Republicans’ renewed outrage.
Insurgent Republicans are going to give their leader what he has been wanting even if there’s no evidence on which to base their prosecution, even if they look like a bunch of assholes in the process.
The accusations are so ridiculous that the White House isn’t pretending to take them seriously. The Republicans continue “to lie and mislead the public with false claims as [they] desperately [try] to keep [their] failing impeachment stunt alive,” spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement to CNN. “The public reporting today has made pretty clear that buying a Ford pickup truck is not an impeachable offense.”
Though ridiculous, we should probably face reality.
Biden’s impeachment is probably coming.
Stupid, cynical, corrupt, based on nothing – all that’s true. But his impeachment is probably coming. To be sure, some “moderate” Republicans would rather not go on record in support of a meaningless impeachment. Some, like Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, might even make a stink. But whatever hesitance the rest once had seems weaker now. Every Republican, including so-called “moderates,” voted to make Mike Johnson the speaker of the House. Johnson is an insurgent.
So we shouldn’t have any illusions about it. I doubt the president does. The House Republicans moved yesterday to take the next step in their impeachment inquiry, a formal vote to authorize it by the full House. The evidence doesn’t compel it. It doesn’t matter. They know Biden is guilty … of something. The only question is where the evidence is hiding, and that’s just a matter of looking for it. The search will continue as long as they have the authority to search. For these insurgents, there’s no sense in waiting to take the next step. (Johnson told the Times he expects unanimous support from his conference.)
But the coming impeachment is about more than the Republicans’ faith in Biden’s guilt. You could say it’s a matter of fate more than faith.
After all, the House Democrats impeached and tried to remove Donald Trump, twice. The criminal former president doesn’t forget people who have “wronged” him. His campaign isn’t really a campaign. It’s a vengeance movement. Trump has been very clear about what he’s planning to do with regained power: reward his friends, punish his enemies, rule the country while standing above the law. Insurgent Republicans have long understood what’s been expected of them.
They understand that their leader wants revenge – that he has wanted revenge since the day the House Democrats impeached Donald Trump for the first time – and they’re going to give their leader what he has been wanting even if there’s no evidence on which to base their prosecution, even if they look like a bunch of assholes in the process.
Well, not too much like a bunch of assholes. That’s the one thing that might prevent the insurgents from going through with impeachment. They have to make it seem serious and high-minded and noble and fateful. In other words, they have to reach a standard of presidential prosecution that the Democrats established in 2019 and 2021.
Even Fox seems to accept that. It cut away from recent impeachment hearings when Republicans on the House Oversight Committee got too stupid for sustained coverage. More precisely, Fox cut away when the Democrats on that panel made the Republicans look like assholes.
If Fox can turn away when insurgent Republicans are trying to give their leader what he’s been demanding for months, I don’t see why their leader wouldn’t turn away from them, too. He wants payback. That much is beyond doubt! But he also wants respect. These insurgents can deliver one of these things. The other, however, is beyond them.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.