Sunday Four-Play: Lindsey Graham admits there’s no ‘smoking gun’ in GOP’s fake impeachment push

It’s keenly ironic that House Republicans acted on a raft of sketchy, Rudy Giuliani-exhumed allegations to launch a presidential impeachment inquiry in the very same week that he was ordered to pay $148 million for lying on Donald Trump’s behalf. But that’s the difference between our courts and our Congress. In court, you have to tell the truth.

Of course, every House Republican—to a person—is now doing what Rudy did years ago: Appeasing their ocher overlord by conjuring nonsense in a cynical bid to put the faux stink of corruption on President Joe Biden. We’ll have to wait to find out if those congressional fiends eventually get their comeuppance. In the meantime, we’ve got Sunday show clips! So let’s get on with it, shall we?


It’s been glaringly obvious for some time now why House Republicans are trying to impeach President Biden: It’s because Donald Trump wants them to. They’re wholly in thrall to a lifelong punchline who steals top secret government documents and sounds like Hitler slipped on the basement stairs and can’t get up. 

Fortunately, some still see the current Republican Party for what it truly is: a pathetic cult of personality.

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen appeared on “The Katie Phang Show” to discuss the GOP’s fake Biden impeachment, and he very quickly got to the crux of the matter.

.@RepCohen on Speaker Mike Johnson's baseless Biden impeachment inquiry: "He went down to see his daddy Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and he told him: 'Go back to Washington and impeach Joe Biden.' [...] This is juvenile." #katiephangshow

— The Katie Phang Show (@katiephangshow) December 17, 2023

PHANG: “Let’s start first … with the absurd impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Republicans on three House committees have been investigating President Biden and his son for months now with zero evidence of wrongdoing being discovered. Can you share with our viewers why there was a unanimous vote by House Republicans? Did you hear anything from your Republican colleagues on why they would do, across straight party lines, a vote in favor of this baseless inquiry?”

COHEN: “Totally political. Unfortunately, we have a child speaker. He went down to see his daddy, Donald Trump, at Mar-a-Lago, and he told him, ‘Go back to Washington and impeach Joe Biden. That will make me feel good because I was impeached twice, and I want to say he was impeached, too.’ So this is juvenile. It’s unfortunately an inexperienced speaker who’s dealing with an irrational man, and the Republican Party basically is responding to that as well. The MAGA Republicans do what Trump tells them to. So they’re going to do that, and they’re doing that with Ukraine, too. To keep his deal going with Putin that was so successful, him getting elected president, that he’s … [he doesn't want] to give Ukraine any money because he wants Putin to win the war and he wants Putin to help him in 2024. Trump’s looking at 2024 and Putin’s looking at posterity, and working together.”

Wow, that sure makes Republicans sound cynical and soulless, doesn’t it? But when you’re right, you’re right. And Rep. Cohen is most definitely right.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: The fake Biden impeachment rolls along, and J.D. Vance forgets Mike Johnson exists


If anyone knows about selling his soul to appease Trump, it’s Sen. Lindsey Graham. So it’s particularly noteworthy that even he can’t figure out what House Republicans are impeaching Biden over.

Graham joined Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” and was asked to weigh in on the GOP’s disingenuous impeachment push. It looked like he would have preferred to discuss just about anything else.  

WELKER: Grassley said he does not see any evidence that the president is guilty of anything. Do you agree with him? LINDSEY GRAHAM: If there was a smoking gun I think we'd be talking about it.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 17, 2023

WELKER: “Okay, let’s turn to the other big story on Capitol Hill, the impeachment, of course—the impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Your colleague Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said that he does not see any evidence, quote, that the president is guilty of anything. Do you agree with him? Is there any evidence so far?”

GRAHAM: “You know, I haven’t really been paying that much attention to it. They have to prove that President Biden somehow financially benefited from the business enterprises of Hunter Biden. We’ll see.”

WELKER: “Have they done it yet, in your mind?”

GRAHAM: “If there were a smoking gun, I think we’d be talking about it ...”

Look, it was obvious from the outset that Republicans would try to impeach Biden for something. But this is really a stretch—particularly since Trump continually took money from foreign interests while he was cosplaying as president, and did so out in the open.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: DeSantis-bot glitches out, and ex-Trump aide says the former guy is 'slowing down'


Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells the truth on exactly one topic: Donald Trump. And he didn’t start doing that until Trump decided he’d try to garrote American democracy. He was fine with Happy Meal Hitler trying to kill him and turning our country into a WWE cage match, but lying about the election and trying to overthrow the government were the final straws. Which is good, of course. He’s ahead of the curve as far as Republicans go. That said, as the following clip shows, Christie always knew about Trump’s strong affinity for indiscriminate murder enthusiast Vladimir Putin, and he still tried to get Trump reelected.

Go figure.

Christie joined Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” to warn America about Trump’s increasingly authoritarian rhetoric.

.@GovChristie hits Donald Trump for echoing Vladimir Putin’s criticism of American democracy in an interview with @jaketapper. “It's time to send Donald Trump back to Mar-a-Lago permanently.” #CNNSOTU

— State of the Union (@CNNSOTU) December 17, 2023

TAPPER: “Gov. Christie, you just heard Donald Trump approvingly quoting Vladimir Putin about American democracy, about the American legal system, attacking the criminal charges against him and the ‘rottenness’ of the American political system, quote, unquote. What’s your reaction?”

CHRISTIE: “My reaction is that he gets worse and worse by the day, Jake. And voters better start paying attention to exactly what he’s saying. He has always been approving of Putin right from the beginning of his presidency. That was something that he and I had regular arguments about going all the way back to 2017. And the fact is that—Vladimir Putin as an expert on democracy? This is a guy who doesn’t even know what democracy is and, quite frankly, has spent most of his life trying to undercut democracy all over the world, and Donald Trump is citing him as his expert witness that he’s being persecuted and is innocent. Look, this is a guy who just believes ‘woe is me, woe is me, I can’t believe that I got caught.’ But let’s remember something, and everyone needs to know this. It’s not going to be Vladimir Putin on the witness stand in Washington, D.C., this spring. It’s not going to be some left-wing prosecutor making the case. Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, has accepted immunity. I did this for seven years, Jake. The reason he’s accepted immunity is because he has admitted he had committed crimes himself, or he wouldn’t need immunity. And he’s going to testify that Donald Trump committed crimes on his watch—a founder of the Freedom Caucus, his former chief of staff who he called the next James Baker. Donald Trump realizes the walls are closing in. He’s becoming crazier. And now he’s citing Vladimir Putin as a character witness, a guy who’s a murderous thug all around the world. It’s time to send Donald Trump back to Mar-a-Lago permanently.”

Hey, thanks for piping up, Chris! Better late than never, right?

Then again, it’s kind of soothing to hear an ex-prosecutor describe exactly how much legal peril Trump is in these days. Hopefully, at least one of the four criminal cases against Trump sees the light of day before he has a chance to send his tank columns into Fulton County, Georgia.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Biden delivers results, Christie swats at Trump, and Musk tanks Twitter


Speaking of Putin, his American Super PAC—aka the GOP—is doing all it can these days to support his Ukrainian war effort. House Republicans are holding up aid to Ukraine so they can play political games with our southern border—a cynical tactic that could help them get elected, which in turn would help Putin, who would then further interfere in our elections on their behalf, and on and on into infinity. 

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen joined Jon Karl on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss this ongoing betrayal of our ally on Putin’s behalf. 

“This is a pivotal moment in American leadership and history,” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen tells @JonKarl as negotiations continue over military assistance for Ukraine. “We need to make sure that we help our Ukrainian friends.”

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 17, 2023

KARL: “What do you think of this idea of having significant changes to the border tied to funding for Ukraine and Israel? Among the changes that Republicans have been demanding are changes to our asylum laws—making it harder for people to declare asylum, restricting that. And even, you know, Republicans want a return to Remain in Mexico, the policy of the Trump administration, which is ‘ask for asylum before you come to the United States and come after, or if, it’s been granted.’”

VAN HOLLEN: “Well, first of all, I think it’s essential that we provide military assistance to Ukraine. This is a pivotal moment in American leadership and history, and we need to make sure that we help our Ukrainian friends against Putin’s aggression—not just to protect their freedom, but because it would send a terrible signal around the world to our allies who would no longer trust us, and to our adversaries, who would be emboldened if we’re not doing that. In terms of border security, I have to look at the details, and the big question, Jon, is, who’s at the table on the Republican side? I don’t mean the individual, but are they really working with the president to try to get border security? Because the president has proposed historical increases in resources for border security.”

KARL: “And they’re asking for policy changes more than resources.”

VAN HOLLEN: “So we have to look at it, you know.”

Well, Republicans ask for a lot of things. Most of those requests are either disingenuous or downright bonkers. After all, Republicans’ proof that Biden favors open borders is that his administration keeps arresting record numbers of border crossers and sending them back. Try to make sense of that one. 

Meanwhile, comprehensive immigration reform would go a long way toward solving our problems at the border, but Republicans prefer they remain unsolved so Fox News can continue scaring its viewers with caravans of brown people. Because if conservatives can’t frighten people, all they’ve got left is a Hitler See ‘n Say as their putative presidential nominee and undisputed standard-bearer.

But wait! There’s more!

That’s all for now! Note: Sunday Four-Play will be on hiatus next week in honor of my annual holiday sugar coma. Hope to see you all again on the cusp of a new year.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

Sunday Four-Play: Auntie Maxine Waters scorches GOP, and Matt Gaetz makes a startling admission

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy almost certainly missed his calling. He should have been a middle-school teacher. That way, when his unruly charges inevitably shoved a chloroform-soaked rag in his mouth, buried him up to his neck in California clay loam, and slathered his gawping, cow-eyed melon in fruit bat pheromones and expired ghee, at least federal workers would have still gotten their paychecks on time.

But no, he had to go into politics, and now his phantasmagorical fecklessness is on lurid display for everyone to see. And we all get to suffer. So as McCarthy turns Congress into a well-oiled machine with a warning sign on it saying in no uncertain terms that you should never, ever put oil in, on, or anywhere near it, the world continues to turn. But you can rest assured that if Congress needed to pass a continuing resolution to keep the world turning and prevent Lindsey Graham from being flung at Mach 3 into the side of an Ikea, House Republicans would be unable to agree on a framework to do so. 

In fact, Evil Opie is so useless, the government is almost certainly shutting down at the end of the month, and we’re all standing around like it was obvious all along that this would happen. Because while getting liberals on the same page is famously like herding cats, keeping Matt Gaetz, et al., in line is like trying to convince cats to stop licking their balls for 10 seconds and pass an appropriations bill. Nigh on impossible, in other words. 

Then again, stranger things have happened. Stay tuned. Maybe the hardliners in the Freedom Caucus will accede to McCarthy’s demands in exchange for a signed and notarized promise to eat a bug on the playground after school. Though it’s marginally more likely that McCarthy will have a penis drawn on his face in permanent marker the next time you see him. 

So as we steam toward yet another GOP-manufactured crisis, we can only hope that Americans are starting to understand who’s really fucking everything up. (Psst, it’s Republicans. It’s always been Republicans. The call is coming from inside the House!)

Meanwhile, the nattering nabobs keep on natterin’ and nabobbin’—particularly on the Sunday political shows. Which is why we’re all here, aina?

So let’s see what’s on tap this week, shall we?


Of course, it’s hard to argue—or negotiate—with political terrorists, which is precisely what Republicans are. We all witnessed their debt ceiling brinkmanship earlier this year, and now they’re fixing to impeach Joe Biden and shut down the government, largely to appease the Malignant Smegma Golem of Mar-a-Lago.   

It’s hard to fathom what they’re actually trying to accomplish, other than turning the country into an enormous kleptocratic Cracker Barrel. Luckily, though, some people in government still see things clearly. We call these people Democrats.

Rep. Maxine Waters appeared on “The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart,” and she made clear that she’s done with Republicans trying to claim patriotism as their exclusive bailiwick. Democrats may not go around waving—or wearing, or humping, or beating Capitol police officers’ heads in with—the flag, but they clearly love America (and, by extension, the people in it) more than the GOP does.

Don’t believe it? Auntie Maxine explains:

"[The GOP] are not patriots, they are basically, not only disrupting this country, they're destroying it, and they cannot claim patriotism anymore. We, who fight for the people, claim patriotism" @RepMaxineWaters reacts to the budget cuts the Republicans want to make #SundayShow

— The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@weekendcapehart) September 24, 2023

CAPEHART: “Congressman [Brendan] Boyle, the ranking member on the Budget Committee, I think he said in one of the … Congressman Matt Gaetz is proposing cuts as high as 23%—budget cuts.”

WATERS: “Oh, yes. Oh, absolutely. And when you take a look at what they’re doing it shows that—you know the Republicans who have claimed patriotism, claimed that they love this country, they don’t care. If they will allow seniors and veterans not to be able to get their disability checks, for example. They don’t care. If they were to allow education to be dismantled in this country—they don’t care. If they don’t care about the people sleeping on the streets, the homeless, and they’re cutting housing vouchers, they’re not patriots. They are basically not only disrupting this country, they’re destroying it. And they cannot claim patriotism anymore. We, who fight for the people, claim patriotism. We’re the patriots, not them. For the Republicans, patriotism is lost. It’s gone.”

Of course, Republicans’ reputation for dewy-eyed patriotism is as unearned as their reputation for growing the economy. Then again, if you define patriotism as lying us into disastrous wars while screwing over veterans and economic success as presiding over enormous job loss and recession, then the Republican Party is for you! If not, you might want to take a moment to listen to people like Congresswoman Waters who aren’t trying to shiv you in the kidneys the second your back is turned.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Actual Black people react to Trump's 'gangsta' street cred, and Tim Kaine returns


I don’t know if Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg would have made a good president—though as the former mayor of a midsized Midwestern town he still has more relevant experience than Trump, who spent the bulk of his tenure shopping for Supreme Court justices who’d make abortion illegal except in the cases of rape, incest, or 468-month-old fetuses named Eric.

That said, Buttigieg is great on the teevee. If he ever gets tired of his transpo gig, he might want to think about advocating for Democrats and Democratic policies full time.

He appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Dana Bash and pointed out Republicans’ hypocrisy when it comes to … well, everything, really. But in this case, complaining about the dire repercussions of budget-slashing and deregulation when they’re the ones out on the wing ripping pieces off the engine

Buttigieg on CNN: "Think about what this means for transportation ... Some of the very same House Republicans who were lining to try to make a partisan political issue of air travel disruptions are proposing cuts that would make it harder to modernize our systems."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 24, 2023

BUTTIGIEG: “And I would add, the shutdown is being used by some House Republicans as leverage to get budget cuts over and above the deal that was made, which would also have an incredibly negative effect on …

BASH: “They didn’t like the deal in the first place.”

BUTTIGIEG: “Yeah, but think about what this means for transportation again. Obviously, I’m speaking mostly to what’s in my lane, but some of the very same House Republicans who were lining up to try to make a partisan political issue of air travel disruptions are proposing cuts that would make it harder to modernize our systems. Some of the very same House Republicans who were lining up to try to make the pain of the people of East Palestine, Ohio, into a partisan political issue would cut railroad safety inspections. It makes no sense.”

Indeed, Republicans’ complaints make no sense. And at this point, neither does any vote for any Republican ever. They’re like the disruptive student who’s invited up to the chalkboard to teach the class. Well, now they’re teaching it, and so far all we’ve learned is how to write “BOOBIES” on our calculators and how a bill doesn’t become a law. 

They’re not interested in governing. They just want to sow chaos and force John Fetterman to wear a suit. Because that’s what’s really important, isn’t it?

Breaking: Sen. John Fetterman to wear a suit to the Senate but it will be a TAN one.

— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 20, 2023


Brand-new “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker took a break from undermining Western democracy this week to interview Chris Christie, one of Donald Trump’s principal detractors. I’d assumed Christie had entered the race merely to enfeeble Trump, but if you can believe anything he says in the following clip (hint: you can’t; he’s still a Republican, after all), he appears to think he can win, despite national polling that shows him just barely ahead of Azzza Hutchinzzzzzon and Doug Burgum, who is either a current GOP presidential candidate or a new, hearty strain of wheat. (Sorry. After briefly being reminded of the existence of Asa Hutchinson, I no longer have the energy to Google Doug Burgum. Or swallow liquid or soft foods, for that matter.)

The bottom line is, Republicans are making the same mistake they made in 2016. Instead of rallying around a marginally coherent, intermittently lucid candidate like former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, they’re splitting the primary vote a dozen different ways, leaving Trump all alone as the prohibitive favorite.

Ah, but Christie doesn’t see it that way.

WATCH: GOP Presidential candidate Chris Christie reacts to the latest NBC News poll, which found him 55 points behind former President Trump. Fmr. @GovChristie (R-N.J.): “If we don’t have a national primary, I don’t spend more than three minutes thinking about it.”

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 24, 2023

WELKER: “Former President Trump is solidifying his lead with GOP primary voters. You’ve been in this race since June, Governor. Why aren’t you gaining more traction?”

CHRISTIE: “Well, Kristen, look, I know you all spent a whole lot of money on national polls, so I don’t mean to go after the polling folks. But the fact is that national polls don’t matter. We don’t have a national primary. If you look at Donald Trump in the latest polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the two earliest states, he is barely at 40 in Iowa and he is under 40, at 34 and at 38, in New Hampshire. That means that between 60 and 65% of Republican voters in those two very important early states want an alternative. And in a place like New Hampshire, I’m in second place behind Donald Trump. So, you know, this whole race is going to change when people actually vote, Kristen. And no offense to any poll that comes out now, but if it’s a national poll, we don't have a national primary, and I don’t spend more than three minutes thinking about it.”

Oh, come on, Kristen. You already know the answer to your question. It’s because Republican voters love chaos, autocracy, and merciless revenge against their enemies, which Trump is offering in spades.

Sadly, tenacious truth-teller Chris Christie appears to be shading the truth here. Yes, Trump polls under 40% in some—but not all—recent New Hampshire primary surveys, and Christie is in second place in at least one of them. But you can be in second place and still be getting your ass kicked. Which Christie is … in the poll he appears to be citing ... by 20 points. 

On the bright side, Welker seems marginally more dignified now that she’s not interviewing a venal tub of McNugget sauce.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: The elephant in the room plops down on 'Meet the Press'


Oh, this is a fun one. Because watching conservatives at each other’s throats is always fun. You might even say these Republicans are in … disarray?

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, an IBS symptom forever in search of a colon to inflame, joined Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” to whine about Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He wants action! And he doesn’t want to have to Venmo anyone in order to get it!

But the best part about this clip? Bartiromo somehow gets Matt to admit the Republican-controlled House is completely useless. We all knew this, of course, but it’s nice to hear it straight from the horse’s arse.

BARTIROMO: To push now to blow up all of the wins that you have had-- GAETZ: Which wins?! Please enumerate them BARTIROMO: How about the fact that McCarthy set up a weaponization committee GAETZ: That's process!

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 24, 2023

BARTIROMO: “Well, [McCarthy’s] doing the four bills next week.”

GAETZ: “Because we’re making him! Because we’re making him!”

BARTIROMO: “But he’s doing it. So to push now, to blow up all of the wins that you all have had now ...”

GAETZ: “Which wins? Please enumerate them.”

BARTIROMO: “Well, okay, well how about the fact that he has set up a weaponization committee to investigate the DOJ, whether they’re involved in a coverup?”

GAETZ: “That’s process!”

BARTIROMO: “Hold on. How about the fact that he has set up the China Select Committee to keep China to account and, of course, he has launched this inquiry into impeachment, potentially, for President Biden. Is that not what you want?”

GAETZ: “None of those things are deliverables. Those are steps in a process. Setting up a committee is an end unto itself only in Washington, D.C. … These committees have done nothing to reduce inflation. They’ve done nothing to actually constrain the Biden government. We can set up committees and have hearings and yell at people, but at the end of the day if we still send the check to fund a weaponized government, having a weaponization subcommittee is little relief to the American people. And if any of this was serious, we would be sending out subpoenas and compelling process the way the Jan. 6 committee did. We should be operating like them. Instead, we’re playing patty-cake with the Bidens. We’re allowing them to get away with it. And we’re funding it. We’re sending the money. If we were serious, use the power of the purse.”

We’re letting the Bidens get away with … that thing we’re sure they did, have no evidence for, and will surely discover just as soon as we impeach the president for high crimes and coffee cup-saluting. Oh, and we’re also taking a hard line against the weaponization of government. And since we know most Republican voters can hold only one thought in their heads at a time—assuming that thought is at least tangentially related to cheesy fries—we're confident no one will notice the irony.

But the big takeaway here? This Republican-led House has been a colossal waste of time.

Thanks, Matt!

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: It's Chuck Todd's last day! And we're ridin' with Biden

But wait! There’s more!

That’s it for now! See you next week.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE