It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – er, it’s beginning to look a lot like Speaker McCarthy is taking the idea of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden a little more seriously, which would be an early Christmas present for many Republicans.
The signals coming from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are that his Republican majority will soon launch a formal impeachment investigation. The final decision hasn’t been announced — and an investigation is still a far cry from a full House vote. But setting up an impeachment committee is an essential first step. Most of his caucus wants to take it.
Most, but not all. The reservations of some Republicans and the calculations behind them are why McCarthy has moved slowly. The speaker’s problem is more than rounding up votes. The other problem is the investigation carries real risks as well as benefits.
An investigation, of course, involves the use of some tools that the House GOP currently doesn’t have at their disposal:
The biggest benefit is a technical, legal one. It gives House investigators the power to compel testimony and documents from all Executive Branch agencies, even the most reluctant, as well as private parties. According to the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice’s in-house legal advisor, “The House of Representatives must expressly authorize a committee to conduct an impeachment investigation and to use compulsory process in that investigation” in order to compel testimony and document production. With that committee, they can go to court directly to demand compliance.
As somebody once said, this is a big fuckin’ deal.
Assuming that the investigation reveals what we all think it will, and assuming that the House does go ahead with impeachment proceedings and succeeds, the entire thing will come to a screeching halt once it reaches Chuck Schumer’s sweaty hands over in the Senate. Unless the impeachment uncovers something horribly egregious (likely) and the Democrats find some last, shrinking vestiges of their integrity and call off one of their members to be Goldwater to Biden’s Nixon and implore him to resign (unlikely), nothing more will happen.
It’s not about propriety any more. It’s not about honesty. It’s not even about not tolerating overt corruption. It’s all about The Side, True Believers, and until we somehow deal with that mind-set, everything else matters not a jot.