Vulnerable Republicans caught in bind over push to expunge Trump impeachments

The push to expunge former President Trump’s two impeachments is putting vulnerable House Republicans in a tough political spot heading into next year’s election.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is facing growing pressure from the party’s right flank to bring the resolutions to the floor, underscoring the tight grip Trump has on the party as he seeks the GOP nomination for president.

But the moves would also put moderate Republicans at risk, as many of them are running in districts where Trump is highly unpopular. In a sign of just how politically toxic the issue is, some of these Republicans have already started pushing back against the efforts to expunge the impeachments.

“They’re silly,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told The Hill last week. “When do we expunge a not guilty verdict?”

Bacon, who represents a swing district in Nebraska that voted for Biden in 2020, is one of several GOP members representing battleground districts who have voiced frustration over the efforts.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) told reporters that he had questions about the purpose of the expungements given the not guilty verdicts, asking, “What is there to expunge?” Lawler’s district comfortably voted for Biden over Trump in 2020.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) told Politico that he would “probably not” vote for a measure expunging the impeachments. His district narrowly voted for Biden in 2020 but has leaned more in favor of Democratic candidates overall in recent years.

“This is not anything vulnerable Republicans want to talk about on the campaign trail,” said Doug Heye, a national Republican strategist. “They want to focus on all of those issues that have [President] Biden’s popularity so low and not be pulled into some Trump loyalty blood oath.”

McCarthy indicated early in his Speakership that he would consider votes on expunging Trump’s impeachments, but he officially declared his support for the efforts last month.

That came just a day after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) introduced resolutions to expunge the impeachments. Greene’s resolution would annul the first impeachment from December 2019, while Stefanik’s would do the same for the second one from January 2021.

The pressure on McCarthy to move forward with the votes has only intensified recently after comments he made questioning whether Trump was the “strongest” Republican to face President Biden in the 2024 election.

Though he later clarified that he believed Trump is “Biden’s strongest opponent,” Politico reported that he promised the former president to hold the expungement votes ahead of the August recess in an effort to placate him. McCarthy has denied making any promise.

Now, the Speaker finds himself in a precarious position, squeezed between the hard-line members who support Trump and the more moderate members who strategists say don’t want to touch the issue.

Trump was impeached first over a threat that he made to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless President Volodymyr Zelensky launched an investigation into Biden. He was impeached the second time just over a year later for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He was acquitted by the Senate in both cases.

GOP strategists said the issue is becoming something of a third rail for House GOP members in moderate or Democratic-leaning districts.

Heye, the Republican strategist and former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, said a vote on expungement would only harm these vulnerable members in their reelection bids regardless of whether they ultimately vote for or against it.

“It’s a no-win situation for at-risk Republicans, which is why they don’t want to even have the vote over something that may not even be constitutional,” Heye said.

But he said he does not expect the vote on expungement will happen because of the divisiveness within the conference and its questionable constitutionality. 

The Constitution states that the House has the “sole power” of impeachment, and officers of the United States can be removed from office upon conviction in an impeachment trial, but it makes no mention of expunging an impeachment or removing it from the historical record.

Rina Shah, a Republican consultant who has identified herself as the first “Never Trump” delegate in 2016, said those in “MAGA world” who most solidly stand by Trump still have significant influence on McCarthy and in the House Republican Conference because of the small donations that their voters are willing to send when they are passionate about a certain issue, like defending Trump.

She said McCarthy is more focused on satisfying the hard-liners and their voters than Trump himself.

“They are the people more likely to send $5 every time they're fired up about something. So Speaker McCarthy, again, trying to walk and chew gum here doesn't have to do this but is doing it so that he can look more like a leader,” Shah said.

She said the issue facing McCarthy is that he needs the votes of the moderate members for Republicans to keep their majority. She said this situation is only one point of an ongoing balancing act for McCarthy between the moderates and hard-liners.

“That is always the conundrum he finds himself in, is how to do this in a way where he’s making members in tough districts, he’s making them happy while at the same time really sticking his neck out to lead,” Shah said.

Tom Doherty, a New York Republican strategist, said the expungement effort is intended to “throw red meat to the base,” but is not focused on protecting moderate New York Republicans like Lawler. 

“In one way, you’ve stood up to the Washington Republican establishment, which is always more conservative than New York Republicans, but on the other hand, you wind up ticking off your voters,” he said.

Despite a disappointing performance for Republicans nationally during the November midterm elections, GOP victories in House districts in states like New York and California were key to the party winning control of the House. These districts will also be among the top targets for Democrats seeking to regain the majority in the body.

Meanwhile, Democrats warned that these more hesitant Republicans could face “accountability” over their refusal to directly speak out to denounce the effort even if they ultimately vote against the resolutions.

Democratic consultant Antjuan Seawright said moderate Republicans are “hoping and praying” that the resolutions do not come to a vote because their choice will affect them either in their primary race or the general election, as has happened before.

“They should all understand that accountability happens at the ballot box … If they do stand with McCarthy and others, forget about voting, just not speaking out loudly against it in the conversation about it, I think there will be an element of accountability for them in the next election cycle,” he said.

Seawright added that he expects more of a “clown circus show” that puts moderates in tough positions as the next election approaches.

Viet Shelton, a spokesperson for House Democrats’ campaign arm, told The Hill that vulnerable Republican incumbents have avoided addressing the multiple indictments facing Trump, and most have avoided directly and publicly condemning the “preposterous” idea of expungement.

“For the few that have desperately tried to distance themselves from it, voters will see it for what it is: empty rhetoric to distract from their long records of defending Trump no matter what,” Shelton said.

GOP strategists for their part warn that expungements votes could just force those Republicans already facing tough elections to have a steeper hill to climb.

“Why would you put folks that had an uphill race to win the first time around, why would you put them in a more difficult situation going forward?” said Doherty, the New York Republican. 

Graham says Biden impeachment without due process would be ‘dead on arrival’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said an effort to impeach President Biden that lacks due process would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate. 

Graham said during a Friday appearance on “The Hill” on NewsNation that Republicans argued that Democrats did not give former President Trump the right to due process during the impeachment proceedings against him in 2019 and 2021, and he does not believe anyone should be impeached without a hearing being held. 

Graham noted that the impeachment against former President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s went through a process that allowed him to defend himself. 

“But what’s being done in the House to go straight to the floor with articles of impeachment — we criticized the Democrats for not giving Trump any due process. I think this is dead on arrival,” he said. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) introduced a privileged motion in the House this week to force a vote on impeaching Biden over his handling of federal immigration policy and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. But the motion caught many of her own colleagues by surprise and did not have support from several notable GOP members in the House and Senate, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). 

Senate Republicans raised questions about the effort, and some said they considered it to be frivolous and not meeting the level required for impeachment. The motion was ultimately referred to the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, avoiding the vote for now. 

McCarthy said Boebert’s motion is “one of the most serious things you can do as a member of Congress” and an investigative process needs to occur first to move forward. 

“Throwing something on the floor actually harms the investigation that we’re doing right now,” he said. 

Republicans have been pushing to impeach various members of the Biden administration, including Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has introduced articles against all of them as well as the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves. 

Some Republicans warned after Boebert's effort failed that the attempt will give Democrats the ability to paint the GOP as extreme, with one Republican strategist calling Boebert’s effort “frankly stupid.” 

Graham said impeaching any president without “some process in place” is “irresponsible.” 

“It’s important that we follow the process, and if you believe that President Biden has done something this impeachable, take it through the committee, give him a chance to respond, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Senate Democrat on new filing in documents case: Trump lawyers will have ‘bad Christmas’

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said attorneys for former President Trump in the classified and sensitive documents case will have a “bad Christmas” following a recent filing that hints prosecutors have additional evidence beyond what was previously known. 

A court filing from Wednesday states that special counsel Jack Smith has begun providing the evidence he plans to use to Trump, including multiple interviews of the former president, which seems to indicate the government has recordings of Trump discussing the documents he held at Mar-a-Lago beyond what is mentioned in the indictment. 

Whitehouse told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell in an interview Wednesday that the filing tells him Smith has a strong case and feels comfortable turning over the evidence early in the process. 

“It tells me that there’s gonna be bad Christmas for the Trump lawyers as they open the different files of evidence and find out how awful the evidence is against their client,” he said. 

“And it tells me that they want to get Trump’s attention early, by getting his lawyers the evidence that they need to be able to go to their client and say, ‘Hey, you are in real trouble here,’” Whitehouse continued. 

More Senate coverage from The Hill

Judge Aileen Cannon has set a preliminary trial date for the case Aug. 14, but Trump’s team will likely delay the trial past then through pre-trial motions. 

Trump was indicted on 37 federal charges earlier this month in relation to his handling of the documents that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency, including 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act. He has also been charged with obstructing the investigation into his retention of the documents. 

The indictment alleges that Trump had documents containing military secrets and information on U.S. nuclear programs, pushed his attorneys to help cover up that he had the documents, and showed sensitive documents to people who were not authorized to see them at least twice.

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Trump has maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing in the case and the charges are politically motivated. 

Smith defended the integrity of the Justice Department and FBI after the indictment was unsealed and emphasized the “scope” and “gravity” of the charges outlined in the indictment. 

Schiff fundraises off GOP censure vote

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is fundraising off a late Wednesday vote by House Republicans to censure him over his comments criticizing alleged ties between former President Trump and Russia. 

Schiff’s campaign for Senate in California said in an email sent out after the vote that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took up the resolution against him for his efforts trying to hold Trump accountable. 

“This is not just a political stunt to rile up the MAGA base — it’s an attack on all accountability and constitutional oversight,” Schiff said in the email. “But make no mistake: If they thought this was going to deter me from holding Trump and his accomplices accountable or delivering real results for California and our nation, they thought wrong.” 

Schiff is running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) He is also facing California Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee in what could be a hotly contested Democratic primary. He has become a controversial figure among the GOP over his accusations of Trump colluding with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign and his role in leading the first impeachment inquiry against Trump in 2020. 

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper late Wednesday, Schiff said he plans to wear the censure as a “badge of honor.” He noted the resolution to censure him previously failed last week with 20 Republicans voting in favor of tabling it, but Trump warned after that vote that any Republican voting against the resolution should face a primary challenge. 

“So basically, this is Trump and MAGA world going after someone they think is effective in standing up to them,” Schiff said on CNN. 

He also said he does not have any regrets about how he handled the allegations surrounding Trump and Russia and said the investigation into Trump’s misconduct was “very important.” 

The investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election concluded that Russia took steps to interfere with the election and help elect Trump, but investigators did not find evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign. Multiple Trump associates pleaded guilty or were found guilty of charges stemming from the probe. 

Schiff said in his fundraising email that he will continue his work to hold “MAGA Republicans” accountable and called on his supporters to help “push back against these attacks on our democracy.” 

Trump similarly tried to raise money earlier this month off the backlash to his federal indictment for the classified and sensitive documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago property last year, bringing in more than $6.5 million in the days after the charges were unsealed.

Trump slams Republicans who voted to block censure resolution against Schiff

Former President Trump slammed the House Republicans who voted with Democrats to block the resolution that would have censured Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). 

Trump said in a Truth Social post Friday that any Republican who opposed the censure resolution should face a primary challenge for the GOP nomination in their next election. 

“Any Republican voting against his CENSURE, or worse, should immediately be primaried. There are plenty of great candidates out there,” he said. 

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) introduced the resolution last month and brought it to the floor as a privileged resolution Tuesday, requiring the House to take action on it. But Democrats were able to successfully pass a motion to table the resolution, with 20 Republicans joining them and effectively stopping it from proceeding. 

"Anna Paulina Luna is a STAR," Trump wrote Friday, adding, "She never gives up, especially in holding total lowlifes like Adam 'Shifty' Schiff responsible for their lies, deceit, deception, and actually putting our Country at great risk..."

Schiff has received widespread criticism from many in the GOP over his role as one of the leaders of the first impeachment inquiry against Trump. Schiff was serving as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time. 

He also led Democratic accusations that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blocked Schiff from serving on the Intelligence Committee in January, accusing him of lying about Trump’s ties to Russia. 

The censure resolution included a nonbinding clause stating that if the House Ethics Committee found that Schiff “lied, made misrepresentations, and abused sensitive information,” he should be fined $16 million. Luna said the amount is half of the cost of the investigation into the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one of the 20 who voted against the resolution, said he opposed the effort because of the fine, arguing it violates the Constitution. 

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the current chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was also one of the GOP “no” votes. 

Luna is planning to try to bring the censure resolution up again, with the potential $16 million fine removed from the text, Axios reported. At least a couple of the Republicans who voted against the resolution could switch their votes to be in favor without the fine included. 

Schiff said after the resolution was tabled that he was “flattered” by the censure attempt, saying it is only an effort to distract from Trump’s ongoing legal challenges. 

He tweeted Wednesday that Luna told him that she is filing another censure resolution next week that will pass. 

“They aren't giving up. But I’ve got news: neither am I,” he said.

Schiff suggests DOJ’s detailed indictment proves Trump’s ‘maligned intent’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the Justice Department’s detailed indictment proves former President Trump had a “maligned intent” in keeping the documents that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended. 

Schiff told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace in an interview on Friday that the indictment is “stunning” in the amount of detail that was included and the extent to which it demonstrates that Trump was not acting in good faith concerning the documents. 

“First of all, it’s stunning in its detail and in the degree to which it shows so clearly Donald Trump’s malign intent,” the lawmaker said. “The most difficult element, often, to prove is what did the defendant intend.” 

“But here Donald Trump has made so crystal clear in the conversations that are recorded, instructions that he gives to his aide to move the boxes, in his deceitfulness with his own attorneys, it’s just so graphic,” he added. 

Schiff, who served as an impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial, said the decision about whether Trump should be charged was not a difficult one for special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation. He said the evidence included in the indictment is “so powerful that I don’t think special counsel had any choice but to go forward.” 

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, includes several examples of Trump allegedly trying to prevent federal authorities from obtaining the documents that were taken to Mar-a-Lago. On one occasion, he reportedly had an aide — who was also indicted in the case — move boxes of documents out of one room without informing his attorney who was looking for documents that needed to be turned over to comply with a subpoena that was issued. 

The document also includes a transcript of a conversation Trump had in which he asks his attorneys if they could just ignore the subpoena. 

Schiff said he was also “stunned” that the documents include information on military plans, the nuclear capabilities of U.S. enemies and the country’s vulnerabilities. 

“But I think this is the way of special counsel and a speaking indictment, letting all the American people know that this isn’t a paperwork violation,” he said. “These are national secrets that present real national security risks to the country.” 

The California Democrat said after Trump announced on Thursday that he had been indicted that the charges were “another affirmation of the rule of law.” 

“For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been,” Schiff said.

Greene plans to file articles of impeachment against Biden

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) announced plans to file articles of impeachment against President Biden on Thursday, alleging he has violated his oath of office in not securing the country’s borders and protecting national security. 

Greene said at a press conference this will be the “first set” of articles she introduces against Biden, whom she said has purposefully failed to fulfill his responsibilities of the presidency.

“It is with the highest amount of solemnity that I announce my intention to introduce articles of impeachment today on the head of this America-last executive branch, that has been working since Jan. 20, 2021, to systematically destroy this country, the president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden,” Greene said.

Greene made a similar announcement two days ago regarding her plans to introduce articles of impeachment against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Greene said she has also introduced articles of impeachment against Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

The White House called Greene's plan a "stunt," noting Biden is focused on "preventing House Republicans’ default that would crash the economy."

“Is there a bigger example of a shameless sideshow political stunt than a trolling impeachment attack by one of the most extreme MAGA members in Congress over ‘national security’ while she actively demands to defund the FBI and even said she ‘would’ve been armed’ and ‘would have won’ the January 6 insurrection, if only she’d been in charge of it?" said Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations.

Greene initially introduced articles of impeachment against Biden on the first day of his presidency. She also filed articles against Garland in August following the search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago property for the classified and sensitive documents taken there. Neither advanced in the House.

The Georgia Republican and ally of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Biden has refused to enforced immigration laws and secure the border, "deliberately" compromising U.S. national security. She said he has allowed migrants to "invade" the country while depriving border control agents of the resources and policies they need to perform their duties.

Greene said Biden has allowed fentanyl to "flood" into the country and kill Americans every day.

She also slammed the administration over its plan to direct Customs and Border Protection to release migrants into the U.S. without a set court date or way to track them. Under the plan, migrants need to check in with an app until they are given a court date to appear.

Greene said it amounts to "catch-and-release," allowing the migrants to be released instead of being held in custody until their court date.

"His policies, directives and statements surrounding the southern border have violated our laws and destroyed our country," she said. "Biden has blatantly violated his constitutional duty, and he is a direct threat to our national security."

Article II of the Constitution states that the president and other U.S. officials can be removed from office through impeachment and conviction on "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Greene said she wants to take time to gather cosponsors on her impeachment resolutions. She avoided directly answering a question on what exact charges she would file against Biden.

She said she discussed her plans to file the impeachment articles with other members of Republican leadership and said they did not ask her not to move forward.

She said she is introducing the articles because a majority the "base" of Republican voters and other Americans outside it agree with impeaching these officials, describing it as "the right thing to do."

"There's never any consequences for anyone in the federal government when regular American citizens face consequences all the time, and I'm introducing these articles because this is what people are demanding," Greene said.

Mayorkas has faced intense criticism from many Republicans over the situation at the southern border, which experienced a record number of migrant crossings in recent months. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) called for Mayorkas's impeachment last week.

Greene alleges Wray and Garland have turned the FBI and Justice Department into Biden's "personal police force" to prosecute the administration's political opponents. She claimed that those who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection were mostly peaceful, but Garland has still pursued them. A bipartisan Senate report found last year that seven people died related to the attack on the Capitol that day.

Greene said Wray prioritizes his own party above performing his job, wrongly identifying the Republican Wray as a Democrat. He has been director of the FBI since August 2017 and was nominated by former President Trump.

She said she is filing impeachment articles against Graves, the U.S. attorney, over his prosecutions of Jan. 6 defendants, which she said have continued while he has declined to prosecute 67 percent of people arrested by Washington, D.C., police last year.

"That affects people in our nation's capital, just regular innocent people that live and work here. I think as our conference learns more and more on this, they'll understand it," she said.

Greene said employees are fired from their jobs if they are corrupt or are not adequately serving their employers. She said all five officials are corrupt and unfit to hold office, so they must be impeached.

Updated at 12:04 p.m.

Marjorie Taylor Greene moves to impeach FBI director, US attorney for DC

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said on Tuesday that she will move to introduce articles of impeachment against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Greene alleged in a release that Wray has turned the FBI into President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland's "personal police force." She said the FBI has "intimidated, harassed, and entrapped" U.S. citizens who have been "deemed enemies of the Biden regime."

She cited several examples of FBI actions in the past few years during Wray's tenure that she believes demonstrates overreach and improper conduct by the agency.

Greene referenced the plot that multiple men had in 2020 to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), pointing to the couple who were acquitted after defense attorneys argued that the FBI entrapped them and convinced them to engage in the conspiracy.

Multiple other men, including the suspected ringleaders of the plot, were found guilty for their actions.

Greene also noted the search that the FBI conducted on former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents that were taken there. She argued that Trump did not break any laws with his actions, but Biden did not have any authority to possess the documents that were found in multiple locations, including his personal home.

"It is unacceptable for the Director of the FBI or any civil officer to exercise his power in a way that targets one political class while doing favors for the other," Greene said.

Her articles of impeachment accuse Wray of refusing to ensure that the laws Congress passes, and the president signs, are "faithfully executed" and has failed to uphold his oath.

During a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on crime in Washington, D.C., earlier on Tuesday, Greene said Graves had chosen not to prosecute 67 percent of people arrested by D.C. police officers but continues to pursue cases and sentences against Jan. 6 defendants. She said the decision to not prosecute the former is “absolutely criminal.” 

“The time for weaponizing the Department of Justice needs to come to an end. And because you refuse to prosecute real criminals that are violating all the crimes here in Washington, D.C., and you want to talk about D.C. residents — they are victims of your abuse of power,” she said. “And because of that, I am introducing articles of impeachment on you, Mr. Graves.” 

Graves has defended his office’s conduct, telling The Washington Post that he is prosecuting most violent felonies. He said less serious cases were not being pursued for various reasons, including body-camera footage from officers subjecting arrests to additional scrutiny. 

Greene mentioned an example of Matthew Perna, a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and died by suicide last year while awaiting sentencing. Perna entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and stayed inside for about 20 minutes, during which he took video of the crowd there. 

Perna’s family said he died from a “broken heart” and partially blamed the government prosecution for leading to his death. 

Greene said Perna “peacefully” entered the Capitol, did not assault anyone or damage any property and cooperated with the FBI. She said Graves issued a request to delay Perna’s sentencing to allow more time to request a longer sentence for him, despite him not hurting anyone. 

“And this is what you’ve done repeatedly, over and over, for those who pled or were convicted on Jan. 6,” she said. 

Greene has pushed back on the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants in the past two years. She has on multiple occasions called for the release of all security footage taken during the attack and alleged that the defendants awaiting trial were being “mistreated” following a March visit to the D.C. jail where they were being held.

Graves has overseen the prosecution of many of the defendants facing charges over their conduct during the riot.

Greene last summer filed articles of impeachment against Garland over the FBI's search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents.

-- Updated 5:49 p.m.

Democratic rep says he might vote in favor of impeaching Mayorkas over border wall construction

A House Democrat said he might vote in favor of impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the construction of two 30-foot walls at the border with Mexico. 

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said at a press conference on Friday that he might vote for an impeachment resolution if Republicans bring one up against Mayorkas, though for different reasoning than his GOP colleagues. 

While Republicans have slammed Mayorkas and the Biden administration for high numbers of undocumented immigrants coming into the country, Vargas said he might vote to impeach Mayorkas over the issue of the border walls being built at Friendship Park in San Diego. 

The park is located on a cliff over the Pacific Ocean between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, according to Border Report, an outlet owned by Nexstar Media Group that focuses on coverage of the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The Hill is also owned by Nexstar. 

Vargas said he wants Mayorkas and President Biden to halt the construction of the walls at Friendship Park, which Border Report reported has served as a meeting place for families to gather with a wall between them. 

“He told us that he would help us, and he hasn’t done it,” Vargas said, referring to Mayorkas. “He betrayed us.” 

The outlet reported that U.S. Border Patrol officials have said the existing barriers are decaying and have become a danger to the public, migrants and agents in the area. They have said the barriers need to be replaced with the new walls. 

But Vargas, who represents the area in the House, and other local leaders have expressed concerns that the walls will end public access to the area. Vargas said Mayorkas promised him that the construction would be stopped. 

The construction started a few weeks ago and is expected to be completed in six months, the outlet reported. 

The Department of Homeland Security hired an outside law firm last month to help Mayorkas respond to a potential Republican-led impeachment inquiry. Mayorkas has vowed that he would not be pushed out of his position by his opponents. 

Republicans in the House have been somewhat divided about the path forward on Mayorkas, however, as some wanted to impeach Mayorkas immediately upon the GOP taking control of the House, while others wanted to take time to build a case against him. 

Two articles of impeachment have been introduced in the House against Mayorkas. 

Vargas is the first Democrat to publicly say they are open to considering an impeachment vote against Mayorkas.

Raskin mocks Jan. 6 conspiracies: ‘This is not an Agatha Christie novel, we know exactly whodunnit’

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, mocked conspiracy theories about who was responsible for the attack on the Capitol. 

“This is not an Agatha Christie novel, we know exactly whodunnit,” he told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle in an interview on Friday. 

Raskin referred to unfounded right-wing conspiracy theories that antifa was responsible for the attack, saying the proponents of such theories should “bring the evidence forward” if they have any, but the bipartisan committee found no evidence of antifa being involved. 

“It’s just impossible to think of any of this happening without Donald Trump being the central instigator of the whole thing,” he said. 

Raskin’s comments come after the committee released its final report on the attack on Thursday, concluding that Trump was the "central cause" of what happened that day. The committee made four criminal referrals for Trump to the Justice Department (DOJ), the first time a congressional committee has recommended criminal charges for a former president. 

The four charges the committee referred to the DOJ against Trump are obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make false statements and inciting or providing aid and comfort to those participating in an insurrection. 

The committee has also released dozens of transcripts from its interviews with key witnesses, including Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, former Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. 

Raskin said the committee believes it has “comprehensive and overwhelming documentary proof” of all the charges it referred against Trump. 

“We were, if anything, very conservative and very cautious in the charges that we advanced,” he said. 

He said the committee hopes and trusts that the DOJ and special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the department’s investigation, will do their job to hold “kingpins” involved responsible. 

“There needs to be a serious reckoning of individual accountability for the people that set all of these events into motion,” Raskin said. 

He also noted that Trump was the one who got the Capitol rioters to protest on Jan. 6. He said the groups were originally going to protest on Jan. 21, one day after President Biden was inaugurated, but Trump pushed for the day that Congress was set to read the votes of the Electoral College. 

“He was the one that galvanized the extreme right in the country to focus on the peaceful transfer of power as the target of their wrath and violence,” Raskin said. 

He said he believes Republicans who voted to acquit Trump during his second impeachment trial over his involvement in the insurrection are having “quitter’s remorse” as Trump has been “exposed to the world as the person who orchestrated all of these events to try to topple our constitutional order.” 

“They’re very afraid that if they don’t nominate him, he will take 30 or 40 percent of the party with him,” Raskin said, referring to Trump’s candidacy for president in 2024. “And that could be the end of the GOP.”