Senate GOP says House lacks evidence for impeachment

Senate Republicans say the House GOP doesn’t appear to have enough evidence to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Biden and are skeptical about the prospect of setting up an inquiry with multiple committees already investigating the president and his son, Hunter Biden.  

Republican senators are highly skeptical that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) could even muster enough votes in the House to pass an article of impeachment and warn it would be quickly dismissed if it ever got to the Senate, possibly without going to a full trial. 

Their message to House conservatives is simple: Don’t distract from the issues where Republicans will have the upper hand in the 2024 election — the economy and border security — to pursue a fruitless impeachment effort.  

“It really comes to how do you prioritize your time? I don’t know of anybody who believes [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] will take it up and actually have a trial and convict a sitting president,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team.  

Cornyn noted that House Republicans could investigate the Bidens without launching a formal impeachment inquiry because they control the lower chamber.

“Since they got the majority, they got the chairmen of the various committees, they could do all of that now without going to a formal inquiry,” he said. “Members of the House don’t really care what I think. All I can tell you, it’s unlikely to be successful in the Senate. 

“Rather than doing something they know is unlikely to end the way they would like, maybe they want to emphasize other things.”  

Cornyn is far from alone in his assessment.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) on Monday expressed reservation about linking a bill to avoid a government shutdown to a vote on launching impeachment proceedings.  

“Well, obviously they can launch [a formal inquiry] there without tying it to government funding. Hopefully they can work all that out, how they want to handle those issues in the House,” he said.   

Asked if there’s enough evidence to impeach Biden, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), another member of the Senate GOP leadership team, replied: “I do not.”  

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for his part, said attempting to impeach a sitting president “should generally be avoided for the interest of the country.”  

“It can’t become routine,” he warned. 

Rubio also criticized Democrats for pushing highly partisan articles of impeachment against then-President Trump in late 2019 and early 2020 and then for holding a second impeachment trial after Trump left office in 2021.  

Rubio and other Republicans warned at the time that Democrats would lower the bar for impeaching a president.

Fast-forward more than two years, and they say it doesn’t mean House Republicans should get a green light to launch an impeachment inquiry against Biden without compelling evidence of a “high crimes and misdemeanors.” 

“There are countries like Peru that routinely now impeach whoever the president is, and it’s become almost a national sport,” Rubio said.  

Trivializing impeachment

Rubio noted that House Republicans are discussing a special impeachment inquiry to obtain evidence of criminal behavior that they have not been able to dig up through the House Oversight Committee, but they warned that setting up a special impeachment committee without strong evidence of a crime could “trivialize” the process.  

“My big fear remains that at some point you trivialize this, you make it routine. Suddenly it becomes a weapon or a tool routinely used by a political party against someone from the other party in power,” he said.  

Some Republican senators remember that the impeachment of then-President Clinton backfired politically in the 1998 midterm election, when the president’s party picked up five House seats, a notable break from the historical trend. 

House Republican infighting over a prospective impeachment inquiry has further undermined confidence among Republican senators about the political impact of impeaching Biden.  

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, over the weekend criticized fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (Ga.) conflicting statements about an impeachment timeline as “absurd.”  

Greene, a leading proponent of impeaching Biden, last month said she wouldn’t vote for a government funding bill unless the House votes to begin a formal impeachment inquiry but then last week warned against a rushed impeachment vote.  

“The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden — if there’s evidence linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor. That doesn’t exist right now,” Buck told MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.” 

Schumer last week dismissed House Republican calls for impeachment as “absurd.” 

And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) suggested that articles of impeachment could be dismissed immediately by a majority vote once they reach the Senate.  

“I don’t think the American people believe that impeachment is how we should be spending our time,” he said when asked whether an impeachment charge would receive a trial or instead receive a summary dismissal.  

Democrats decry lack of evidence

House Democrats say the Republican investigation into the Biden family has failed to turn up any evidence that would warrant a formal impeachment inquiry, despite a review of 12,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records, 2,000 suspicious activity reports and interviews with two of Hunter Biden’s business partners. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, in a statement released Monday described the House GOP’s investigation as “a complete and total bust” and “an epic flop in the history of congressional investigations.”

He said the evidence amassed so far only “debunks” what he called “Republican conspiracy theories.”  

Moderate House Republicans, such as Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), say House GOP investigators haven’t found any smoking gun that would warrant voting on formal impeachment proceedings. 

“I think before we move on to [an] impeachment inquiry, we should … there should be a direct link to the president in some evidence,” Bacon told The Hill last month. “We should have some clear evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor, not just assuming there may be one. I think we need to have more concrete evidence to go down that path.” 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted twice to convict Trump of impeachment charges, noted that House Republicans have yet to put forth a specific allegation against Biden.  

“There hasn’t been any allegation yet, any conduct which reaches the constitutional standard for impeachment,” he said.  

Romney said he has not yet seen “any evidence of that nature” emerge from the House committees’ investigations of Biden or from their oversight of the Internal Revenue Service’s or the Department of Justice’s investigations in Biden’s family business dealings.  

But the Utah senator said that millions of dollars in income that Hunter Biden collected by trading on his last name does raise awkward questions for the president.  

“Clearly, the fact that Hunter Biden was running around, if you will, shaking people down by virtue of his relationship with his father opens a question that President Biden could have avoided had he done a better job circumscribing the conduct of his son,” Romney said.  


Even so, Romney expressed reservations about launching a formal impeachment inquiry without setting forth a clear allegation of criminal activity, improper behavior or incompetence. 

“You need to explain to the American people why it is you think an inquiry of that nature is called for and to suggest a possible wrongdoing that would justify investigation. That hasn’t happened yet,” he said.  

“There were some people who called for impeachment before President Biden is even inaugurated, so that is not clearly the reason to launch an inquiry,” he said.  

Greene, who has led the calls for impeachment, filed articles of impeachment against Biden the day after he was sworn into office. She did so, however, without making immediately available text specifying the impeachable offenses committed by the new president.  


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