According to a CNN KFile analysis of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s prior public remarks, the Speaker is pursuing an impeachment strategy against President Joe Biden that he previously stated could result in “irreparable damage” to the nation when Democrats attempted to remove then-President Donald Trump.
Less than a year before the next presidential election, Democrats launched an impeachment investigation into Trump primarily along party lines. Johnson criticised Democrats for doing the same thing just four years ago.
Johnson attacked Democrats in radio interviews that CNN examined for utilising what he termed “gerrymandered facts” in their 2019 impeachment investigation with the express and “predetermined” goal of impeaching Trump in order to damage his political reputation. He contended that rather than using an extreme measure like impeachment, voters should resolve the Democrats’ complaints about Trump.
“The president can run for office again after four years if you don’t like him,” Johnson stated in a December 2019 interview. It’s election season in eleven months. This is something the people should decide.
In a somewhat prescient statement, he cautioned Democrats that what they were doing was “short-sighted” and claimed that impeaching Trump had opened a “Pandora’s box” that would allow the president to be removed from office by any opposition party with majority in the House, a possibility he claimed the Founding Fathers feared. Additionally, he bemoaned how the endeavour distracted Congress from its primary duty of enacting laws.
- What will occur in a few years, ten years, or twenty years? There is a Republican majority in the House and a Democrat in the White House. Do you believe that the nation’s Republican base will be satisfied? In the interview, Johnson enquired. “They will demand that they be impeached because you have lowered the standard to the point where we are now engaging in tribal politics.” Heaven help us, really, if you think politics were settled before this.
With Republicans in control of the House, Johnson appears to have given up on his earlier fears of being impeached. Instead, he has stated that he fully supports an investigation along party lines that comes so close to a presidential election.
Johnson’s office stated, “The Speaker’s commentary on the House Democrat impeachment effort was true then and is true now,” in response to queries from CNN. The impeachment of President Trump in 2019 is still notorious for having the fewest grounds and the scantest evidence ever used against a president. The House is adopting a distinctly different stance today. The House will only present Articles if the evidentiary record justifies it, after deposing witnesses and gathering evidence and creating a record.
For months, House Republicans have been looking into Biden and his family. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan informed reporters last week that they are looking into potential claims of bribery, abuse of authority, and obstruction against the president.
The main source of the allegations is already debunked material about Biden’s actions in Ukraine that emerged in the early stages of Trump’s impeachment process in 2019, before Biden was president.
The White House has angrily denied that Biden has done anything wrong.
White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations Sharon Yang stated, “Speaker Johnson’s blatant hypocrisy reveals just how nakedly partisan this smear campaign against President Biden is.” “They have demonstrated that they are far more interested in spreading rehashed conspiracy theories to appease the most radical members of their party than they are in addressing the issues that the American people genuinely care about, like cutting costs, generating jobs, and bolstering our health care system, instead of presenting any evidence of wrongdoing by the President.”
Johnson, though, has deemed the argument convincing.
On the podcast he co-hosted with his wife in August, Johnson stated, “The evidence and the allegations against President Biden are the worst in the history of the country—it’s not even close.” “This seems like a piece of cake compared to Watergate.”
He declared that he would probably put the House to a vote this week to begin an official impeachment investigation.
Even some of the impeachment specialists that Johnson used to support Trump’s impeachment indicate that Biden’s case is weak.
For instance, Johnson referenced conservative legal scholar Jonathan Turley in a 2019 radio interview, who had testified on behalf of Republicans that Trump’s impeachment was not warranted. Turley stated in September that while the evidence against Biden was sufficient to start an investigation, it did not yet meet the requirements for impeachment.
Johnson’s support for impeachment, according to five legal experts CNN spoke with, is a political ploy. Some even deemed the case for Biden’s impeachment legally baseless.
Michael Zeldin, a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, stated over the phone that politicians “always use impeachment for political purposes, and they’re unabashed in their willingness to use it against their opponents while previously having defended against its use for their allies.”
Republicans have not yet produced evidence to support their allegations, despite the fact that the 2019 investigation into Trump has “tangible, direct evidence of wrongdoing” at this point in the process, according to Elie Honig, a former state and federal prosecutor and senior CNN legal analyst.
In an email to CNN, he said, “We have disjointed theories based on scraps of evidence that don’t directly implicate the president.”
“If you look at prior impeachments, they’re all related to actions taken by the office holder while in office,” Zeldin continued. In contrast, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence in the Biden case that President Biden has done anything to warrant an impeachment hearing.
Rather, they are employing a time frame that precedes his presidency. That doesn’t seem to be a legitimate reason for impeachment, he stated.
Attempts to use impeachment proceedings for purely political purposes have drawn criticism from some legal experts who claim that this was not what the Founding Fathers intended.