House GOP quietly preps take two of its border push

House Republicans' ambitious promises to overhaul border security fizzled as soon as they assumed the majority. They’re preparing for a second attempt anyway.

GOP lawmakers have reinitiated their hunt for border and immigration policy changes, hoping to bridge the divide between the conference’s gung-ho conservatives and more cautious centrists. Those competing sides already forced party leaders to torpedo plans for quick passage of legislation in the first weeks of the new Congress, turning a potential political advantage against Democrats into an early lesson about the pitfalls of their own slim majority.

They’ve kept the latest efforts out of the spotlight. Even so, senior members — including Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairs of the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, respectively — are quietly working on a slate of border-related bills, according to four GOP lawmakers and aides, that could be ready to begin moving as soon as the end of the month.

Republicans have pitched ideas like reviving the border wall and cracking down on asylum seekers, policies that stand no chance in the Senate but would let them claim a messaging victory — if they can manage to push them through the House.

Underscoring how quickly one of Republicans’ biggest election talking points turned into a sore spot for old tensions, even those at the center of the intra-party debate aren’t willing to publicly bet against another derailment ... at least, not yet.

“I can’t read minds. I can’t tell fortunes,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who chairs Judiciary’s immigration subpanel, said in a brief interview about the chances House Republicans pass a bill if they can get it out of committee and to the floor.

The GOP’s struggle to unite on border and immigration bills isn’t new — it’s approaching a congressional cliché at this point, as both parties continuously struggle to come to any sort of agreement on comprehensive changes. But the lack of agreement sparked a bitter feud between two Texas members particularly and prompted questions from reporters over Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership.

And it could easily cut against a perennial GOP talking point that Democrats are weak on border security, which the party is sure to reuse in 2024.

Publicly, Republicans have tried to put that message at the heart of their still-nascent majority. They've taken a series of trips to the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight its manifold security challenges, lambasting the Biden administration as their Democratic colleagues boycott some of their field hearings.

The strategy has scored some wins. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz generated headlines Wednesday when asked by Green if DHS had operational control over the entire southern border, he responded: “No.”

Green followed up with a brief clip of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas telling House lawmakers that DHS did have operational control. Ortiz declined to say if he believed the secretary was lying — a charge conservatives have made as they’ve called for Mayorkas' impeachment.

A DHS official, after Wednesday’s hearing, pointed to Mayorkas’ comments during a separate Senate hearing last year. He said then that based on the statutory definition of “operational control,” which Green showed during his hearing, “this country has never had operational control.” (Democrats, and even some Republicans, have defended Mayorkas arguing that the impeachment calls chalk up to policy disagreements.)

But as Republicans publicly keep their rhetorical fire aimed at the Biden administration, they still want to pursue legislative overhauls. A leadership aide, granted anonymity to describe the private discussions, told POLITICO that there are “ongoing talks with members … and leadership about what a border package would look like.”

And they appear to have learned a lesson from their first misstep when their attempts to quickly vote on a border bill in the first weeks of the term imploded. Instead of trying to go straight to the floor, Republicans are expected to first take their next slate of border-related bills through two committees — the Homeland Security and Judiciary panels.

Neither committee has formally scheduled votes as the negotiations continue behind the scenes. But Green is expected to roll out a border bill within weeks, aiming to hold a panel vote in April. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that his goal is to start moving legislation through Judiciary by the end of March — though some aides are privately betting that it will slip into April given Congress' typical pace.

“We’ve got a number of bills we’re gonna look at,” Jordan said in a brief interview. “We’re just trying to be ready.”

Jordan pointed to bills by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Tom Tiffany (Wis.) and Chip Roy (Texas) as options for a border security package that his committee is expected to soon consider. Roy’s bill, which critics even in his own party fear would bar asylum claims as currently known, fueled his party’s legislative heartburn earlier this year by sparking pushback from more centrist conference colleagues. That included Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who is now openly feuding with Roy over border and immigration policies.

Roy rejected his critics’ asylum interpretation but signaled he’s willing to give leadership space, at least for now. He's not currently asking them to move a border package to the floor, instead saying "the plan" was to take it through the Judiciary Committee. (The Homeland Security panel, where it was also sent, isn’t expected to vote on it.)

But even if the bill clears Jordan's panel, it's no guarantee it can withstand scrutiny of the wider conference. Even Republican members admit the committee is more conservatively slanted than the whole of the GOP House, and leadership can only afford to lose a few members in a floor vote if all Democrats oppose any legislation.

If committees are able to advance legislation, leadership will have to decide whether to move the bills to the floor separately or as one package. Some members have floated merging whatever comes out of the Judiciary and the Homeland Security panels into one bill, a risky move that could test Washington’s favorite deal-solving tactic of trying to give everyone buy-in by making a package too big to fail.

But the math, GOP aides privately acknowledge, could be tricky. More border security, at a 30,000-foot rhetorical level, generally unites Republicans — until you drill down into the details. Making hardline changes to asylum policies or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could peel off votes that Republicans can’t afford to lose.

Meanwhile, Roy drew his own red line, warning he won’t support just throwing money at DHS: “We’re going to change the policies or we’re not going to move anything through here.”

Another GOP aide described the effort to unite the conference on border policy as trying to collect “frogs in a bucket.” In further evidence of the challenge, no decisions have been made about when bills would come to the floor, or if it would be one package or several separate votes, according to a leadership aide.

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as well as the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, predicted both panels will vote on border legislation within weeks, saying that he didn’t believe there was “friction” within the conference — at least when it came to timing.

But Bishop added that he would want leadership to put a bill on the floor, even if it might fail.

“I’m indifferent as to whether it will pass or not,” Bishop said. “I think we need to put the right bills on the floor.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Dems name former Trump impeachment officials to GOP investigative panel

House Democrats have tapped a former Donald Trump impeachment manager to lead their counterattack to Republicans’ sweeping investigative panel.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced his picks to sit on the select subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal government, which will be the home of several high-profile, controversial Republican probes — including a broad dive into the FBI and Justice Department.

Jeffries, in a letter to his colleagues, named Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands, as the party’s top member on the panel, putting her at the forefront of the party’s efforts to push back on the GOP investigations. Plaskett was part of House Democrats’ impeachment team during the 2021 Senate trial in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, when a mob of the former president’s supporters breached the Capitol in an effort to subvert President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.

Plaskett, a former prosecutor, made history in the role as the first delegate to serve as an impeachment manager. Fellow impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), now the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, was once her law professor at American University.

Jeffries also nominated three members of the Oversight Committee for the select panel: Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.). Connolly and Lynch ran against Raskin for the top spot on that panel but fell short. And Goldman, a freshman, previously served as counsel for House Democrats during Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Democratic Reps. Linda Sánchez (Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Colin Allred (Texas) and Sylvia Garcia (Texas) also got seats on the select subcommittee. Technically, McCarthy appoints all members of the panel, meaning he’ll need to sign off on the Democratic picks, but the California Republican has said he would let Democrats name their own members for the subcommittee.

Jeffries, in the letter to his colleagues, said that the Democrats leading their party on the committees would need to “stand up to extremism from the other side of the aisle.” In addition to picking Plaskett as the top Democrat on the weaponization subcommittee, Jeffries also picked Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) to be the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee after McCarthy blocked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the longtime lead Democrat, from serving on the panel.

The minority leader also tapped Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) to head Democrats on a select committee on strategic competition between the United States and China and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) to be the party’s top official on a subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic.

“It remains my goal to prioritize and value input from every corner of the Caucus so we may unleash the full potential of our team. The members of the select committees reflect the tremendous experience, background and ability of the House Democratic Caucus, and authentically represent the gorgeous mosaic of the American people,” he added.

Under a fix passed by the House earlier Wednesday, the select panel members were expected to include Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who serve as chair and ranking member of the full Judiciary Committee, as well as an additional 19 lawmakers — no more than eight of whom would be Democrats. But Jeffries, in his announcement, said that Nadler would instead serve as an ex-officio member. The overall break down of the panel is 12 Republicans to 9 Democrats.

Democrats on the subcommittee will be tasked with finding an offensive lane to counter the GOP investigations, with Republicans on the panel expected to expand the scope of their probes to include the intelligence community, the Department of Education, big tech and other targets.

The minority party largely avoided naming any bomb throwers to the subcommittee, but their members are well-steeped in investigative tactics and procedural mechanisms Republicans may choose to deploy as they pursue their own favored probes.

In addition to serving as an impeachment manager, Plaskett was also on the Ways and Means Committee in the last Congress, which was at the center of the fight for Trump’s tax returns. Sánchez is also a member of the tax writing committee.

Connolly, in particular, also has a long history of tangling with Jordan and other GOP members of the panel through their time on the Oversight Committee.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

Posted in Uncategorized

House GOP leaps headlong into divisive Mayorkas impeachment debate

The new House GOP majority is taking its first step Wednesday toward a goal that’s openly dividing its members: booting DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from office.

Republicans started laying the groundwork on two tracks this week to potentially impeach Mayorkas over his handling of the border — a historically rare step that hasn’t been used against a Cabinet member since 1876. Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who would lead any impeachment inquiry, held what he promises will be the first in a series of hearings on the border on Wednesday, while Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) plans to launch his own opening salvo next week.

And while one group of Republicans begins to make their case, another is ready to start impeachment immediately. The House GOP’s right flank has already filed an impeachment resolution and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) rolled out his own proposal Wednesday. Meanwhile, centrists are warning they aren’t on board and recent polls have suggested the public is wary of an excessive focus on investigations.

It marks another test for House GOP leaders, as they try to balance the demands of more moderate members and a base that’s eager to go scorched-earth against President Joe Biden and other administration officials. Not to mention that Republicanswillhave to navigate a barrage of criticism from Democrats and their allies, who accuse the GOP of using the border as a wedge issue to enact political revenge over policy differences.

Republicanswhowantto impeach Mayorkas acknowledge they haven’t reached a critical mass within their own conference, though Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) predicted that there would be “a lot of sentiment” among GOPlawmakers to remove the DHS secretary. Ifaresolution came to the floor, Republicans could only afford to lose four votes within their own party.

“I think when you lay the case out as any impeachment happens, I think [support] grows. Obviously, it’s not going to happen instantaneously,” Hern said when asked if the conference should move toward impeachment without the votes locked down.

Yet other leadership allies are warning against officially moving forward with impeachment without a baked-in result. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), part of a shrinking pool of House GOP pragmatists, warned against forcing members to stake out a stance on a controversial topic if it's not guaranteed of success.

“I just don’t think it’s helpful to put people in that position,” he said.

The eager-to-impeach right flank has so far largely lobbed two broad arguments against Mayorkas: That he’s lost operational control of the border, and that he lied under oath when he told Congress the border was secure. And while their early hearings are focused on the border broadly, GOP lawmakers have signaled they will try to use the bully pulpit of their majority to demonstrate that the administration hasn’t complied with the law.

The administration and congressional Democrats, meanwhile, argue Republicans are overstating what amounts to policy differences over the handling of the border. Democrats, and even some Republicans, are quick to point out that is a far cry from the high bar for impeachment of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Mayorkas has repeatedly defended his handling of the border, signaling he has no intention of giving into the GOP calls for his resignation. Asked during an MSNBC interview on Tuesday about the House GOP impeachment articles, Mayorkas urged Republicans to take up legislation that would fix what he called a “terribly broken” and “outdated” immigration system. The party has attempted sweeping changes to immigration law and border security multiple times in the last decade, to no avail.

“We are doing everything that we can to increase its efficiency to provide humanitarian relief when the law permits and to also deliver an enforcement consequence when the law dictates,” Mayorkas said.

Hill Democrats are privately betting that conservatives’ impeachment pledge will put its moderates in a bind. A House aide, granted anonymity to speak frankly, predicted that “those members are going to start getting real antsy real fast,” as others try to get into “crazy, wacko border security stuff.”

And it’s more than members in purple districts who may feel squeezed by impeachment talk. Republicans will also be playing defense in a cache of blue-leaning seats come 2024 when their thin majority is on the line. Some GOP members in those districts, even if they strongly disagree with Mayorkas’ handling of the border, are openly skeptical their voters want to see him removed.

“I do think what’s going on at the border is negligence, dereliction of duty, but I’m not convinced that impeaching Mayorkas is going to solve the problem. I think we need the election in 2024 to change the White House,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said, though he cautioned that hearings could give a better sense of how voters feel about the issue.

Others, including Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), have warned that they think the party needs to focus on policies like fighting inflation. And then there's border Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), emerging as a vote to watch in the GOP-controlled House, who is viewed as an impeachment skeptic after describing it in January as a “in case of emergency break glass” option.

Gonzales reiterated during a sit-down interview with POLITICO on Tuesday that he wasn’t going to get ahead of any potential proceedings.

Tony Gonzales is viewed as an impeachment skeptic after describing it in January as a “in case of emergency break glass” option.

A recent spate of polling offers its own cautionary tale for Republicans. Fifty-five percent of respondents to a recent NBC News poll said they expected Republicans leading investigations into Biden and the administration “will spend too much time on the investigations and not enough time on other priorities.”

Nearly three-fourths of respondents to a separate CNN poll said they thought Republicans hadn’t yet paid attention to the country’s “most important priorities.” Nearly half named economic issues as the most important topic, compared to 11 percent listing immigration.

So far, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is only pledging an investigation. Asked recently about his November remarks calling for Mayorkas to resign, the California Republican told reporters that the House GOP will conduct their probe and said that could lead to an impeachment inquiry. But he wouldn’t pre-judge an outcome, as many top Republicans hope the case made in committee hearings will win over enough wary colleagues and disinterested voters.

“If a person is derelict in their duties and they are harming Americans and Americans are actually dying by the lack of their work, that could rise to that occasion,” he told reporters.

But supporters of impeaching Mayorkas believe they’ve moved him. Biggs said Wednesday that he was “hopeful” that McCarthy will “be fully on board” by the time any proceedings got under way in the Judiciary Committee.

The panel held a hearing Wednesday that focused on testimony from non-administration officials: Brandon Dunn, the co-founder of Forever 15 Project, a group that tries to raise awareness about Fentanyl poisoning; Dale Lynn Carruthers, a county judge in Texas; and Mark Dannels, a sheriff in Arizona. The latter two have both been critical of Biden’s border policies. It offered few policy surprises, with Republicans driving home their well-established views on border security and immigration.

Over on the Oversight Committee, Comer will hold a hearing next week with Gloria Chavez and John Modlin, two chief Border Patrol agents.

Neither of the two GOP chairs are ruling out using subpoenas to try to get witnesses and documents they want. Their panel members have backed up that strategy.

“We’re going to use the power of subpoena,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said. “And we’ve got to use the power of subpoena to haul Mayorkas in front of the Judiciary Committee.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Dems name new members to combat GOP investigations — including Schiff

House Democrats are placing Rep. Adam Schiff on a high-profile committee at the center of combating Republican investigations for the next two years, fresh off Speaker Kevin McCarthy booting him from another panel.

The California Democrat is one of a roster of party fighters who will now serve on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, with the full lineup of members approved by the House this week. Those Democrats will have to strategize how to counter to some of Republicans most high-profile and politically controversial probes, including into Hunter Biden and the Biden family, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a broad sweep into the FBI and Justice Department.

Much of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic roster, led by ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), is a slimmed-down mirror of last year's line-up — besides the addition of Schiff, who officially launched a Senate bid last week shortly after McCarthy blocked him from the top party spot on the Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.).

Democrats will get their first test run on pushing back against Republicans on the panel, chaired by McCarthy-antagonist-turned-ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), on Wednesday during the committee's first hearing, centered on the border. In addition to investigations, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will be at the forefront of any impeachment inquiries, as Republicans have called for forcibly removing Mayorkas over his handling of the border.

Meanwhile, several new freshmen members have joined the Oversight Committee, including Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), who was counsel to House Democrats during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

The panel's Democrats also named Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to serve as vice ranker, a possibility reported by POLITICO last week. It's a move that could be highly significant if Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has to miss hearings as he undergoes cancer treatment.

The new members “have come from all over America to fight for their communities. Now they join the Democrats on the Oversight and Accountability Committee — the ‘Truth Squad’ — to conduct thorough and fact-based oversight to ensure an effective, efficient, and accountable American government that delivers for the American people,” Raskin said in a statement about Democrats’ line up.

Republicans on the Oversight Committee have vowed to investigate dozens of areas within the Biden administration. But they've signaled panel Republicans' main focus will be targeting President Joe Biden himself, primarily by delving into Hunter Biden’s business dealings and other members of the Biden family; the coronavirus pandemic, including federal government directives and the “origins” of the virus; the border, and the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And the panel includes some of the House GOP’s most right-leaning members, including Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus.

Democrats still need to pick their members for a Republican-run select subcommittee that will look into the “weaponization” of the federal government, a concession McCarthy made to conservatives in order to secure the speakership.

McCarthy unveiled the GOP picks for the panel last week, naming 11 Republicans plus Jordan to lead the sweeping committee — more members than expected. The House is expected to pass a resolution expanding the size of the subcommittee, which would proportionally boost the number of Democratic seats.

Posted in Uncategorized

The House GOP’s investigations: A field guide

Kevin McCarthy has told House Republicans to treat every committee like the Oversight panel — that is, use every last bit of authority to dig into the Biden administration. That work begins in earnest this week.

Several sprawling probes — largely directed at President Joe Biden, his family and his administration — set the stage for a series of legal and political skirmishes between the two sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s all with an eye on the true battle, the 2024 election, as Biden flirts with a reelection run and House Republicans hope to expand their control to the White House.

After two impeachments of former President Donald Trump and a select committee that publicly detailed his every last move to unsuccessfully overturn the 2020 election results, GOP lawmakers are eager to turn the spotlight. And their conservative base is hoping for fireworks, calling on Republican leaders to grill several Biden world figures, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, retired chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci and presidential son Hunter Biden.

But GOP leadership has to mind its swing-district members and centrists, whose jobs are on the line if the strategy backfires in 2024, as early calls to impeach Mayorkas have sparked grumbling in that camp. Striking the right balance will be a difficult lift, even without Democrats constantly blasting the investigations as revenge politics run amok.

Regardless, the GOP’s investigative firehose will leave few parts of the administration untouched. POLITICO has been chatting with lawmakers, aides and outside allies about Republicans’ plans. Here’s a field guide to navigating the investigative landscape, with hearings expected to start this week:

Biden Family

A top priority for Republicans is investigating Hunter Biden, with Joe Biden being the party’s ultimate target of the probe. GOP lawmakers are hunting for a smoking gun that will directly connect the president’s decisions to his son’s business dealings. No evidence has yet emerged to show that the clients taken on by Hunter Biden, who’s been under a years-long federal investigation, affected his father’s decisions as president.

The public phase of the Republican investigation will kick off on Feb. 8, with the Oversight Committee expected to hold a hearing on Twitter and its handling of a 2020 New York Post story on Hunter Biden. Twitter initially restricted users’ ability to share the article, with top officials characterizing the decision as a mistake in the aftermath.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has invited testimony from three former employees — James Baker, former Twitter deputy general counsel; Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former global head of trust and safety; and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former chief legal officer. A GOP committee aide told POLITICO that they “expect” the former employees to testify. (POLITICO has not undergone the process to authenticate the Hunter Biden laptop that underpinned the New York Post story, but reporter Ben Schreckinger has confirmed the authenticity of some emails on it.)

Beyond that, Comer is re-upping questions to a gallery selling Hunter Biden’s art. The chair is also asking for Treasury Department Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, related to Hunter Biden and his associates. Those records are filed by financial institutions and don’t necessarily suggest wrongdoing but are frequently used as investigative leads.

Comer warned he is willing to subpoena the relevant records after Treasury rejected his initial request, saying it needed to engage in discussions with the committee about the thrust of its investigation.

The Kentuckian has vowed that his committee’s Hunter Biden investigation will be "credible," but GOP leadership’s decision to name some of the conference’s most conservative members to the committee, including Reps. Scott Perry (Pa.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), is raising fresh skepticism about that among Democrats and their allies.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) warned that the ascension of Oversight panel conservatives would "infect the credibility of the committee," including on investigations.

Mayorkas and the border

House Republicans will soon formally launch a multi-committee investigation into the nation’s southern border and DHS, all with an eye on Mayorkas.

The Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Feb. 1, focused on the border — with Republicans warning that it’s only “part one” of the public grilling. The Oversight Committee will follow suit during the following week of Feb. 6. Comer invited four Border Patrol officials to testify. In return DHS offered Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz and a member briefing with the four officials Comer asked for, sparking stonewalling accusations and threats of possible subpoenas from the GOP chair.

The GOP’s border hearings come as the party has struggled to reach a consensus about how to move forward legislatively, including a split between two Texas Republicans: Reps. Chip Roy, who’d prefer a more conservative approach, and the more centrist Tony Gonzales.

The border investigations also come as the party faces pressure from both its right flank and its base voters to take the historically rare step of trying to impeach Mayorkas.

Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) recently became the new majority’s first Republican to introduce an impeachment resolution, which targeted Mayorkas. A second group of Republicans, led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), is expected to unveil impeachment articles against Mayorkas this week.

Justice Department/FBI

Republicans are planning to house a wide-ranging probe of the Justice Department and FBI under the Judiciary Committee and a new subcommittee — created as a concession to conservative detractors during the speaker’s race — focused on what the GOP calls the “weaponization” of the federal government.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a McCarthy antagonist-turned-ally who will chair both the committee and subpanel, has fired off a laundry list of requests to Attorney General Merrick Garland in addition to seeking hearings or transcribed interviews with more than a dozen DOJ officials.

Jordan has sent off a similarly lengthy letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. He’s warned both that he’s ready to use subpoenas to get information if they don’t comply with his information requests.

Judiciary Republicans are likely to make Biden’s handling of classified documents and last summer’s FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence part of their sweeping DOJ oversight efforts. Two other panels are currently investigating the broader issue of classified document handling and related law enforcement activity: the Oversight and Intelligence Committees.

The Oversight Committee is requesting documents on the matter from the National Archives and has an interview with a top Archives official on the books this week, while the Intelligence Committee wants a security assessment.


After two years of Democratic-led investigations into the pandemic, Republicans are ready to shift the focus with probes of their own.

The Oversight Committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday about the use of government funding on the coronavirus — homing in on a series of coronavirus relief bills that amounted to trillions of dollars in aid in total. Comer described his focus on coronavirus aid as an attempt to guide the committee toward rooting out “waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.”

But pandemic aid is a topic that the previous Democratic-led House has already visited. A select subcommittee in the previous Congress held a hearing last year with federal watchdogs in charge of overseeing pandemic aid funds.

In addition to investigations by the Oversight Committee, Republicans created their own select subcommittee on the pandemic. McCarthy is vowing that the new Covid panel will probe so-called “gain of function” research, which involves the intentional manipulation of viruses and pathogens in ways that could make them more deadly or contagious.

That goal connects to an unproven theory espoused by some Republicans that the coronavirus was intentionally created in a lab.

Foreign policy

House Republicans will also use their majority to delve into several foreign policy targets, as they seek to push back on the Biden administration’s decisions abroad.

The most prominent investigation so far stems from a new select committee designed to look at “strategic competition” between the U.S. and China, which is expected to be a major focus of the GOP national security agenda heading into 2024. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who was tapped by McCarthy to lead that select panel, has said he’ll focus on supply chains, bolstering the U.S. military and privacy and social media — particularly TikTok.

The vote to set up the panel was largely bipartisan, but Democrats cautioned even as they voted for it that Republicans might steer the select committee toward conspiracy theories or xenophobic language.

Beyond China, GOP foreign policy investigations are likely to focus on two other areas: Afghanistan and Ukraine. The Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 sparked bipartisan outrage, making it a prime target for the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also vowing tougher oversight of additional U.S. aid to Ukraine. That sets the stage for intra-party skirmishes between budget hawks or isolationist-leaning lawmakers and a coalition of more establishment-minded Republicans in both the House and Senate who have pledged to greenlight more help.

Posted in Uncategorized

Conservatives’ latest McCarthy ask: A broad Biden admin investigation

House conservatives are upping their demands on Kevin McCarthy as he tries to lock down the speaker’s gavel.

Their new price: a select committee with a huge scope of targets.

While the Republican leader and soon-to-be committee chairs have already lined up a laundry list of investigations that will largely command the House GOP’s agenda next year, it’s not enough for some McCarthy critics. Some of those opposing and on the fence about the Californian’s speakership bid want him to start a new panel, one that could direct probes against the entities they’ve castigated for years, including the FBI, the Justice Department, the IRS and Anthony Fauci.

Further complicating McCarthy’s position is that other Republicans aren’t on board. Some of his allies are skeptical that such a select committee wouldn't severely overlap with the investigative plans that incoming chairs such as Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and James Comer (R-Ky.) have already worked on for months.

But after largely percolating on the edges of the conference and conservative media, the calls are getting harder for the speaker hopeful to ignore. Several members who McCarthy needs to win over if he’s going to secure the gavel are openly using the creation of such a panel — to investigate what they call a “weaponized government” — as a bargaining chip as the California Republican tries to lock down their votes.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said that the group has had “good conversations” with incoming chairs but that he and other conservatives are pitching the select committee as a way to coordinate the conference’s investigative plans under one roof. They aren’t naming names on who they believe should lead the panel, though at least one skeptical McCarthy ally has argued that, if it has to happen, it should be Jordan.

“It needs to be targeted the right way,” Roy said about the party's investigations. “You don’t get many bites at the apple. You’ve got to get it done right.”

Conservatives say they want to model the panel off the 1970s Church Committee, which conducted a landmark investigation that uncovered significant surveillance abuses among the intelligence community and the IRS, leading to the formation of the Senate Intelligence Committee. But it’s a high bar that’s almost certain to fall short. While the Church Committee was a bipartisan operation, Democrats have frequently criticized the GOP’s targeting of the FBI, and their party is highly unlikely to help fuel probes they’ve already derided as political sideshows.

And Democrats are already gearing up to rebut GOP investigations next year. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, who will be on the frontlines as the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, summed up how he views his party’s responsibilities as it deals with Republican probes: “a truth squad in the sense that we will have to debunk conspiracy theories.”

And a former senior aide to the Democratic senator who chaired the Church Committee has also criticized Republicans for trying to make the Church comparison specifically, accusing them of wanting to invoke “Church’s legacy not to push for real solutions … but to obtain impunity for themselves and punish their enemies.”

But underscoring how much the “Church” rhetoric has injected itself into the party’s thinking, McCarthy, during a recent Fox News appearance, tipped his hand toward the idea, saying that “you’re almost going to have to have a Church-style investigation to reform the FBI.”

McCarthy, notably, didn’t specifically mention setting up a new committee, and those comments would also align with previously planned investigations. The ambiguous comments come as the Californian tries to lock down the votes to claim the speaker’s gavel in a thin majority and wants to avoid alienating any more members. A spokesperson for the GOP leader didn’t respond to multiple questions about whether McCarthy was endorsing starting a new panel, or just an investigation into the Justice Department and FBI, which is already in the works.

It’s hardly the first time he’s faced pressure from his right flank to acquiesce to going further on investigations.

House Republicans say they now expect to probe the treatment of individuals who were jailed for participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, where a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters breached the building as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s win. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) previously pressed McCarthy on an investigation last month during a closed-door conference meeting.

Comer noted that there was an ongoing discussion about which panel “needs to take the lead on that,” adding that the Oversight Committee will have “a lot on the platter but we’ll do whatever we’re asked to do from leadership.”

McCarthy has also threatened to subpoena intelligence officials who signed a letter in 2020 warning that a New York Post story about Biden’s son Hunter might have its origins in a Russian disinformation operation. And conservatives also think they’ve moved McCarthy on impeaching Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He hasn’t officially backed the step, but opened the door initially in April and then signaled an impeachment could be on the table, depending on the results of investigations, during a trip to the southern border in November.

Asked about the California Republican’s remarks, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) — whom McCarthy opponents have used as a figurehead for the opposition — noted that McCarthy’s latest border remarks came “after he knew that he was facing somebody who was going to possibly deny him being speaker.”

But conservatives’ vision for the new select committee could stretch far beyond just the FBI and Justice Department — two long-running targets of the party’s ire — by stepping into other jurisdictional lanes.

Roy pointed to three other entities that could fall under its purview, in addition to the FBI and Justice Department: Fauci and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education and the IRS and money that will let the agency hire new staff. Those are all areas that other committees have indicated they plan to investigate. And while Roy acknowledged that potential overlap, he added, “You still want your best prosecutors prosecuting the case.”

Conservative insist they don’t want to step on the toes of Jordan, above, and Comer — they just want a central, coordinated hub for investigations next year.

Conservative insist they don’t want to step on the toes of Comer and Jordan — they just want a central, coordinated hub for investigations next year. McCarthy has been meeting with incoming chairs, including Jordan and Comer, as they plan out their series of probes next year. But supporters of creating a new panel argue that it could help free up Oversight and Judiciary Committee members, in particular, who are going to be busy juggling multiple investigations.

But Comer himself, and others in the conference, aren’t fans of the attempt to wade into the committees’ turf.

“I feel like we’ve got enough committees already to do all of that. I’m pretty passionate about that. I feel like you’ve got a Judiciary and Intelligence Committee that are very capable of doing that,” Comer said. “I’m not a big select committee or special counsel kind of guy.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), who is close to both Jordan and Comer, said he believes the two GOP chairs “have the bandwidth” already to run the investigations. And if there’s going to be a select committee, he said, they should both sign off.

“If you’re going to form that kind of committee, I want Jim Jordan to be the chair. Turns out, he’s already the chair of the committee who can go after the weaponization of government,” Armstrong said.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), a Freedom Caucus member who is backing the push for a new panel and hasn’t yet signaled whether he’ll vote for McCarthy, said that the committee would “definitely have to be in coordination with Judiciary and Oversight” but that it would send a “strong signal” about GOP priorities.

“We only have so much time,” Clyde said. “It’s the one thing we can’t make more of.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Republicans rage over White House plans to slow investigations

House Republicans are fuming over a recent White House move that will slow roll their investigations, but leaders say it doesn’t change their game plan.

While the House GOP has spent weeks detailing its planned investigations into the Biden administration now that the party has a majority, the White House has stayed mostly silent on strategy. That changed Thursday morning, when White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber announced he plans to effectively reset the clock come Jan. 3 and ignore the long list of investigative requests already sent by Republican Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and Jim Jordan of Ohio — the incoming chairs for the Oversight and Judiciary Committees, respectively.

It's an explosive start to a chapter that won’t even officially begin until next week. The relationship between House Republicans and the Biden White House seemed doomed to go sour from the start, but it’s an unmistakable signal that Biden’s administration won’t quietly go along with investigations — some of which it has openly deemed little more than political noise.

“At every turn the Biden White House seeks to obstruct congressional oversight and hide information from the American people,” Comer said in a statement.

House Republicans were quick to clarify that their investigative plans, which have been in the works for months and have included strategy meetings with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are moving forward regardless of the White House’s position. Comer said in an interview that he had already planned to reissue all of his information requests quickly in the new Congress, including for interviews and documents related to Hunter Biden’s business deals, last year’s Afghanistan withdrawal and the administration’s handling of the pandemic. The White House’s newly articulated position would be little more than a short delay of that process, he noted.

A Jordan spokesperson similarly said Thursday that the White House’s letter wouldn’t change the lawmaker's timeline or strategy for issuing potential subpoenas next year.

And in a further twist of the knife, the Biden White House took unusual inspiration for its newly stated oversight posture: former President Donald Trump. In its letters to Comer and Jordan, the White House counsel’s office cited Trump administration legal opinions that Democrats once derided as extreme and undemocratic.

Former House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) termed the position “the latest in a series of abuses by the Trump administration to operate in a shroud of secrecy.” Even Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, at the time, criticized the Trump White House for construing congressional oversight so narrowly.

A GOP Oversight aide characterized the White House’s stance as an “attempt to delay” that “reveals they are acting in bad faith.” The aide added that “oversight and accountability are coming regardless.”

Meanwhile, Jordan has already sent a slew of letters to the administration outlining documents and interview requests he wants next year as Judiciary Committee chair, warning potential witnesses that while he'd prefer voluntary testimony, he’s willing to use a “compulsory process if necessary.”

The relationship between the Biden administration and a GOP-controlled House was never going to sail smoothly. A majority of Republicans backed attempts to challenge Biden’s 2020 win and have been signposting a sprawl of investigations on everything from the president's son to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing border crisis. And the White House, meanwhile, has been staffing up for months to handle the investigative deluge over the next two years.

But the White House's latest opening salvo appears to have touched a nerve among congressional Republicans.

“The Biden White House is used to House Democrats and the media sweeping essential oversight under the rug. In 5 days, a new Republican majority will have the authority and obligation to get answers for the American people,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted Thursday.

Jordan, and Judiciary Committee staff, also spent Thursday teeing off on social media against the White House’s strategy and amplifying criticism from other corners of the party.

“The difference in how the ‘media’ covered oversight of Trump Administration and how it will cover oversight of the Biden Administration will be staggering. But it won’t stop us from doing our constitutional duty,” Jordan added in a tweet.

The White House's move is likely to spark accusations of hypocrisy from both sides. Democrats remained mostly silent on the announcement Thursday, after expressing indignation at the Trump administration's move years ago. And despite the current GOP fury, Jordan himself refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 committee this term.

Additionally, White House aides, in response to GOP criticism that officials first aired their plans with the media and not with Republicans directly, were also quick to point out that Jordan and Comer went on Fox News earlier this year to announce a letter they sent as part of their coronavirus “origins” probe.

It might be the White House's most controversial move that will delay GOP investigations, but it's hardly the first.

Comer wants the Treasury Department to turn over so-called suspicious activity reports, known as SARs, related to Hunter Biden as part of the GOP investigation into his business deals. But the administration has batted down those requests while Republicans were in the minority, noting that their policy requires that a committee chair or a majority of the members on a panel OK a request for the reports, which are filed by financial institutions.

And Sauber, in his letter to Comer and Jordan, pointed to a similar distinction in Congress’ own rules, in addition to the Trump-era rationale, to make the case that the GOP requests so far don’t have teeth.

“Congress has not delegated such [oversight] authority to individual members of Congress who are not committee chairmen, and the House has not done so under its current Rules,” Sauber wrote.

But the 2017 stance sparked outrage from House Democrats, who were then in the minority.

“We cannot do our jobs if the Trump administration adopts this unprecedented new policy of refusing to provide any information to Congress unless a request is backed by the implicit threat of a subpoena,” Cummings said at the time.

The White House’s position, in theory, would disadvantage House Democrats in the new term as they fall back into the minority, unless they could get a GOP chair to bless their investigative requests. Democrats on the House Oversight and Judiciary panels are expected to spearhead the party’s day-to-day defense against the GOP investigations.

“The Democrats should be offended by that [letter], but considering they haven’t requested any information pertaining to oversight over the past two years, I don’t see them asking for anything over the next two years,” Comer said.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Senate Dems prepare to join the investigative fray

Senate Democrats finally have subpoena power, and they’re ready to use it.

Though their target list is still under discussion, Democrats in the upper chamber have made clear that they intend to use their investigative authority — newly acquired thanks to their functional 51st Senate seat — as a counterpoint to House GOP probes of Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

They’re also mulling picking up the baton from House Democrats on two fights: scrutinizing the oil industry’s culpability for climate change and obtaining former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, according to senators.

The House has been the epicenter of investigations in the current Congress given the deadlocked Senate, but that spotlight will be shared starting next year. Democrats’ loss of the House has created an investigative “vacuum” that party senators intend to fill, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), an investigative-minded former prosecutor and senior Judiciary Committee member.

“There are very definitely investigations that I think now will be possible,” Blumenthal said, referring to Democrats’ inability to issue subpoenas in the current 50-50 Senate because Republicans could block them at the evenly divided committee level.

Democrats’ Senate pickup is welcome news for a party that had agonized over how to push back on a spate of planned House GOP investigations into everything from the president’s son to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to the FBI and Justice Department. For the moment, President Joe Biden’s party is brushing off Republican efforts. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated last week that oversight isn’t just about the executive branch, but also the private sector.

A senator set to lead that sort of private-sector oversight — Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — said it was “premature” to discuss subpoenas but outlined a laundry list of areas he plans to investigate next year.

“We’re talking about incredible greed in the pharmaceutical industry, very high prices. We’re paying the highest prices in the world for healthcare, we’re talking about union busting. … I think those are issues the American people want us to look at,” he said.

But that doesn't mean Senate Democrats are going to immediately start firing off subpoenas. Its 51-49 majority has given the party more power, but that authority remains fragile — a fact underscored by Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s decision to become an independent. Sinema is expected to keep her committee assignments, importantly, with Democrats and Schumer seeking to tamp down the ramifications for their majority by vowing that Democrats would still be able to “exercise our subpoena power.”

However, they'll have to carefully navigate aggressive investigations for another reason: a difficult 2024 Senate map. Several of their seats in red and purple territory are up next term, where partisan probes may not pay political dividends.

Among those up for reelection, besides Sinema, are Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who chair the energy, veterans' affairs and banking committees, respectively. And all hail from states that voted for Trump in 2020, two by overwhelming margins.

Brown shrugged off a question about new investigative priorities once he gets boosted committee powers: “Nothing jumps to mind, but perhaps.”

Despite past intra-party criticism of the Biden administration, from a rule to decrease methane emissions to the botched pullout from Afghanistan, Democrats are less than keen on conducting oversight on the current head of the executive branch. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who is poised to chair the Budget Committee, said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if there were members within the conference who thought that anything negative about the administration “was kryptonite.”

But Democrats are already leaving a trail of bread crumbs pointing to what they could dig into next year, likely picking up long-awaited threads that the 50-50 Senate has prevented them from pursuing.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chair of the Finance Committee, and outgoing House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) are asking for records related to Trump-son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family business. And in line with Schumer’s corporate focus, Wyden sent a letter last week to Amgen, a biotech company, as part of a probe into pharmaceutical companies' compliance with tax laws.

Wyden pointed to the Kushner-related effort as a sign that Democrats “believe in strong oversight” and signaled that he’s also interested in Trump’s tax returns. But he sidestepped committing to using subpoenas next year.

“All the options are on the table,” Wyden said. “But as my wife always says, ‘you know there’s some history here.’ I wrote the first Trump-related tax bill.”

Whitehouse, one of the caucus’ most outspoken voices on climate change, pointed to Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) investigation into whether fossil-fuel companies had been misleading and spreading misinformation on the impact of climate change as an example of an area Senate Democrats could take over next year.

“I think it can be quite busy and quite productive,” Whitehouse said about the forthcoming Democratic investigations.

Judiciary Committee Democrats have also signaled an interest in investigating decisions made by the Trump-era DOJ. They’ve previously signaled that they wanted to talk to former Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions, a goal they had to temporarily abandon in the 50-50 Senate.

And Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the homeland security and governmental affairs panel chair, said Democrats are still mulling how to handle House Republicans' Hunter Biden investigation — a topic Democratic senators have had to navigate before. In the run-up to the 2020 election, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) teamed up to investigate the Biden family, issuing subpoenas through a Senate oversight panel over Democratic objections.

That probe sparked warnings from their Republican colleagues about inadvertently spreading Russian misinformation heading into the presidential balloting.

“We are in the process right now of putting together some of the investigations we’re going to do for the next two years,” Peters said, adding that the House GOP's Hunter Biden investigation was one issue that was top of mind "when we think about our calendar.”

Posted in Uncategorized

GOP senators tune out House conservatives’ impeachment calls

House conservatives want their party to go big on impeachment next year. Across the Capitol, Senate Republicans on their would-be jury are not ready to convict.

While House GOP leaders feel intense pressure from their Donald Trump-aligned base and colleagues to impeach President Joe Biden or a top member of his Cabinet, many of the party’s senators want nothing to do with it. In fact, some Republican senators are openly signaling that even if impeachment managed to squeak through the House, it would quickly die in their chamber — and not just at the hands of the Democratic majority.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close ally of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said he “hadn’t really given any thought” to impeaching Biden or a Cabinet official like Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom Kevin McCarthy singled out last month as a primary target of future House investigations. Cornyn said he hasn’t seen any actions that meet the bar for an impeachable offense: “Not really, no.”

And Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the only GOP senator to twice convict former President Trump, put it more bluntly: “Someone has to commit a high crime or misdemeanor for that to be a valid inquiry. I haven’t seen any accusation of that nature whatsoever. There are a lot of things I disagree with … but that doesn’t rise to impeachment.”

Cooling their counterparts’ impeachment fever is just one of many tricky tasks facing the Senate GOP over the next two years in its relationship with an incoming House majority where pro-Trump conservatives often shout the loudest. While those House Republicans look to ding Biden’s administration after six years trapped in the minority, the party’s senators are picking battles more carefully.

A big reason behind the different strategies: House Republicans will hold the party's biggest megaphone on Capitol Hill heading into 2024, with some of their own GOP centrists already feeling heartburn — and hearing Democratic warnings — that pursuing impeachment will backfire in the next election.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2, subtly urged House Republicans to focus on specific investigative targets that could help the party put pressure on Democrats. He added that the border was a “debacle” and that Mayorkas should be called in for “oversight,” but underscored that what specific actions should spin out of such investigations was not yet clear.

“I think there is a legitimate need for oversight … but, I mean, I think it needs to be focused on some specific areas,” Thune said. When asked about the possibility of impeaching Biden himself, Thune repeated that they should outline certain investigative targets and "see if we can’t pressure the Democrats into working with us on a few things.”

It's an ongoing pattern for Republican Senate leaders, who have mostly tried to avoid the pitfalls of Trump-related probes. While House GOP leadership has leaned hard into publicly pushing back on the Democratic-run panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, their Senate counterparts have largely sidestepped tangling with the select committee.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy walks to his office from the chamber during final votes as the House wraps up its work for the week, at the Capitol, Dec. 2, 2022.

Meanwhile, McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign or face possible impeachment during a trip to the border last month. The Californian first opened the door to impeaching the Homeland Security secretary earlier this year, and his most recent remarks dovetail with his efforts to lock down support from conservatives who have threatened to oppose his speakership bid.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who lost to McCarthy for the conference's speakership nomination last month, has introduced a resolution to impeach Mayorkas that's supported by several of the minority leader’s most vocal critics.

Spokespeople for McConnell, who teed off on the administration’s border policy from the floor Monday, didn’t respond to a question about impeaching Mayorkas. The GOP leader also quashed calls to impeach Biden last year that were sparked by a widely criticized Afghanistan withdrawal.

Because Senate Republicans will be stuck in the minority for at least the next two years, they can't do much to contribute to House GOP investigations. And for some GOP senators, questions about their counterparts’ impeachment dreams elicit responses that put a new spin on M.C. Hammer's 1990 hit: They can't, and won't, touch this.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, one of the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump last year, said with a laugh that she was “not going to get into the machinations of the House.”

“That’s not something I’ve heard discussed over here,” Collins said about impeaching Biden or Mayorkas.

And Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, brushed off questions about if he supports a Biden or Mayorkas impeachment: “I can’t do anything about what the House does.”

It was always a long shot that the Senate would convict in any impeachment trial next Congress, given it would require 67 votes in favor. No presidents have been found guilty and the one Cabinet official who was the subject of an impeachment trial was acquitted. But House Republicans' roughly five-seat margin next year means that dreams of even passing an impeachment of Biden or his top lieutenants through their own chamber might have already died on the vine.

Still, the staunchest pro-impeachment House Republicans aren't deterred by the reality that their efforts would ultimately fail across the Capitol — or even alienate some in their own party. They see it as their business to take on the Biden administration, and winning the majority means business is about to pick up.

“I would say back to them: 'Then why enforce any laws? Why do anything?' I think we always have to hold people accountable. We have to do our job in the House, regardless of what is going to happen in the Senate,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has pushed impeaching Biden since he took office.

And Greene's camp does have some Senate Republicans in its corner when it comes to impeaching Mayorkas. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was an impeachment manager against former President Bill Clinton, sent a letter to Mayorkas arguing that his actions, if not corrected, could provide “grounds for impeachment.”

In addition, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) accused Mayorkas of having “misled” him and members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and being “unresponsive.” He added in a brief interview that “I think an impeachment there is probably warranted" and could be used to get information from the agency.

But asked about the prospect of impeaching Biden, Hawley, who has disavowed any interest in a run of his own in two years, pointed to the 2024 election as the better venue.

“You know, I’m not a fan of the president. … But impeaching a president is a very, very, very high bar,” he said. “The American people, pretty soon here, are going to have a chance to weigh in again.”

Posted in Uncategorized