When it comes to the House Republicans’ evidence-free impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, one obvious detail stands out: The stated reason for the inquiry doesn’t make any sense. In fact, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy came up with a relatively detailed pitch to justify the partisan move, and a Washington Post analysis found that the California Republican’s claims amounted to little more than “exaggerations, irrelevancies, and dishonesty.”
But that leads to a related question: If the stated rationale is wrong, why exactly did the House GOP leaders do this? As Politico reported, Donald Trump thinks he knows.
Former President Donald Trump has “no idea” whether Republicans will vote to impeach President Joe Biden. But he does have a theory on what motivated House Republicans to launch a Biden impeachment inquiry: revenge.
“They did it to me,” Trump told Megyn Kelly. “And had they not done it to me, I think, and nobody officially said this, but I think had they not done it to me ... perhaps you wouldn’t have it being done to them.”
Of course, this doesn’t much help the former president’s partisan allies. On the contrary, Trump’s rhetoric suggested that the entire endeavor is inherently political and unrelated to actual wrongdoing. By chalking the inquiry up to revenge, the Republican was effectively bolstering the Democratic complaints.
But that’s not the only possible explanation. Consider the Top 10 Reasons House Republicans Launched An Unnecessary Impeachment Inquiry.
10. Some GOP true believers actually think Biden did something wrong. These members’ arguments have been discredited, and the lack of evidence after all of this time should offer them a rather dramatic hint, but some Republicans genuinely seem to believe Biden did something wrong, even if they’re not altogether sure what.
9. This is about satisfying the demands of the GOP base. A variety of congressional Republicans conceded months ago that they were feeling enormous pressure from party voters to at least try to impeach the president, regardless of merit. Now we’re seeing the results.
8. This is about the futile search for evidence. GOP officials have spent months desperately searching for incriminating information to be used against Biden. They’ve found nothing. Some party officials have said, however, that they’re hoping an impeachment inquiry could help justify itself by intensifying the search for evidence that doesn’t appear to exist.
7. This is about fundraising. Almost immediately after the start of the impeachment inquiry began, Republican officials started using the effort as the basis for fundraising appeals. Imagine that.
6. McCarthy lacked the strength to stop this. The House speaker effectively took impeachment off the table last fall. He committed to an authorization vote earlier this month. But the Republican leader couldn’t follow through on his own positions because he’s in too weak of a position to actually lead.
5. Trump is still helping call the shots. It seems the former president too often plays the role of shadow House speaker, and since he wants Biden to face an impeachment inquiry, it’s happening.
4. This is about discouraging the public from seeing Biden as innocent. CNN reported in early August that House Republicans had said privately that “if they don’t move forward with an impeachment inquiry now, it will create the impression that House Republicans have essentially cleared Biden of any wrongdoing.” A month later, here we are.
3. This is about the 2024 elections. Politico spoke to a senior House Republican this week who was quite candid, explaining that the party is hoping “the timing of when this information comes out of Oversight and Judiciary is such that it gets right up to the convention next year. So that it’s damaging to Joe Biden.”
2. This is about blurring the lines. It’s not exactly a secret that Trump, assuming he’s the Republicans’ presidential nominee, will compete in the general election as a scandal plagued, twice-impeached disgrace who’s been indicted four times across three jurisdictions. If the party can smear Biden, too, the hope is that voters might see both men as corrupt in roughly equal measure, reality be damned.
1. It’s obviously about payback. Oddly enough, Trump’s explanation is the accurate one. Republicans haven’t made much of an effort to hide the fact that they’re seeking revenge, and their transparency helps make plain what is obviously true.