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: The fake Biden impeachment rolls along, and J.D. Vance forgets Mike Johnson exists

With the ouster of George Santos and the abrupt resignation of ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, congressional Republicans have begun dropping like flies off Mike Pence’s head. In fact, Mike Pence himself recently dropped like a fly off Mike Pence’s head, precipitating an infinite, M.C. Escher-like regression of flies and Pence heads that goes on as far as the eye can see, like funhouse mirror images in Louie Gohmert’s Carlsbad Caverns of a cranium. In other words, when it comes to the state of the GOP these days, it’s dead flies and Pence heads all the way down. And, frankly, that’s a charitable appraisal.

So will the semi-sentient suzerains of the Sunday shows see it? Or will they find some way to argue that spiraling Republican dysfunction and the party’s abject obeisance to a dyspeptic, four-times-indicted yam golem who can’t stop complimenting Adolf Hitler is somehow bad for Joe Biden?

We’ll see now, won’t we? And you won’t have to wait very long. Let’s get this party started!


Republicans’ fake impeachment effort received a boost this week with the seismic revelation that President Biden’s son repaid his dad—in three increasingly suspicious $1,380 monthly installments—the money he’d borrowed to buy a Ford Raptor truck. Which should be a signal to concerned Americans that either Biden isn’t corrupt at all or is really bad at this corruption stuff. 

I’m skeptical that there’s anything here at all, because they’ve been looking for years and still have bupkis. Meanwhile, over that same period, Donald Trump was passing secret government documents around like all-you-can-eat buffet fliers in Vegas—when he wasn’t trying, and failing, to defend himself against rape accusations.

But that’s the genius of Biden’s Chinese money-laundering scheme. It’s a magnificent, under-the-radar long con. Step 1: Wait for your son to get in bed with the Chinese Communist Party. Step 2: When they finally have their hooks in him, loan that same son nearly $4,200 to buy a truck. (And this part is key: Make sure you do it while you hold no public office.) Step 3: Open a secret bank account in the Caymans and deposit that ill-gotten $4,200 windfall, where it will accrue 0.46% interest for the next decade until you’re ready to retire. Step 4: Become president. Step 5: Hand Taiwan to China. (This one is still pending. Biden might have to wait until his second term, because House Oversight Chair Jim Comer is fully onto him now.)

Of course, as we learned this week, even Fox News is starting to wonder where the fire—or the smoke, for that matter—is.

Fox reporter Peter Doocy, who likely fantasizes about clinging to the bottom of Biden’s bike on weekends like Robert De Niro in “Cape Fear,” was forced to admit on Friday that Republicans have come up empty-headed again.

Peter Doocy: "The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter's overseas business."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2023

But hey, they’re not going to give up, no matter how big a waste of time this is. Because wasting time is what the American people sent Republicans to Congress to do.

Of course, none of that sits well with Ian Sams, the White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, who joined Jonathan Capehart on the “Saturday/Sunday Show.”

"They're moving to a government shutdown...they're going to leave town for the holidays without doing anything to avoid it while voting on an impeachment inquiry that has no basis in reality" @IanSams46 on the GOP pushing forward with a Biden impeachment #SundayShow

— The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@weekendcapehart) December 10, 2023

CAPEHART: “The White House said the president’s going to push back very, very hard. How? What’s that going to look like?”

SAMS: “Well, you see things like, you showed the clip of Peter Doocy, even Fox News hosts, Fox News anchors are expressing skepticism about this. And it’s because we’re continuing to push the facts out every single day. When they make allegations that turn out to be examples of the president being a good dad or a good family member as somehow nefarious evidence of wrongdoing, we’re going to point out the facts, immediately and swiftly. We’re going to come and sell our message on TV and things like this conversation today. But we’re also going to push really hard about what’s happening here. What’s happening here is that the House Republicans have shown that they don’t actually care about any issues that the American people are trying—to try to make their lives better. Instead, they’re focusing on these political stunts to try to get themselves on Newsmax and talk about these things in the right-wing media ecosystem, even though they’re baseless and false. And so, you know, I think that when you see the president every day, you see him talking about things like Ukraine aid, and the need to make sure that they have the resources to push back on Putin. You see him talking about the need to get funding to the WIC program, women and infants, low income, who need food as we head into winter. And these are things that the House needs to pass, they need to pass these funding supplementals, and they refuse to do it. And it’s only going to get more intense over the next month. As you mentioned earlier in the show, they’re moving to a government shutdown in just a few weeks, and they're going to leave town for the holidays without doing anything to avoid it, while voting on an impeachment inquiry that has no basis in fact and reality.”

Ah, whatevs. Babies can starve and Ukraine can kick rocks, so long as President Biden is adequately punished for unconditionally loving his son. It’s the Republican way.

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


Kristen Welker can both-sides anything, can’t she? The next time a tanker runs aground in Alaska, I hope she has the president of the Sierra Club on so she can grill her about all the ducks and sea otters who keep keep running off into the woods with ExxonMobil’s oil.

For some reason, Welker has to pretend that the Republicans’ fake Biden smears are somehow legitimate. She thinks that’s part of her job. If Jim Comer said he’s seen an unredacted whistleblower report about Joe Biden flushing leprechauns down Air Force One’s toilet for fun, she’d likely be all over it.

Welker interviewed Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy on “Meet the Press,” and she was super-curious what he thought about private citizen Hunter Biden’s business activities.

Chris Murphy: "When I look at the Trump family, it seems they have made an industry out of profiting off of Donald Trump's presidency. In fact, as soon as Trump was out of the White House, what did his son-in-law do? Go and raise billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 10, 2023

WELKER: “Mitt Romney was here and he expressed outrage over the broader issue of Hunter Biden profiting off of his last name. Do you think, Senator, that it is inappropriate for a politician’s family member to profit off of their last name?”

MURPHY: “I do—in any case. And, frankly, when I look at the Trump family, it seems that they have made an industry out of profiting off of Donald Trump’s presidency. In fact, as soon as Donald Trump was out of the White House, what did his son-in-law do? Go and raise billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia. And so I think the American public are going to be very concerned about what has happened inside the Trump family since Donald Trump left the White House.”

WELKER: “Senator, respectfully, I asked you about the Biden family. Hunter Biden—do you think it’s inappropriate that he has apparently profited off his last name, and could that hurt the president’s reelection chances?”

MURPHY: “I think Hunter Biden is going to be held accountable in court for any violations of the law that he’s committed, and the American public are going to get a chance to watch that play out in real time. But what I’m absolutely certain of is that the American public are going to see a distinct contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and are not going to be interested in a Trump presidency that’s going to criminalize abortion, that’s going to give more handouts to billionaires and the wealthy. They’re going to see President Biden, who has invested in the middle class, who’s helped this economy recover. That will be the contrast that will matter to the American people.”

Okay, here’s the clear difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats think the rule of law should apply to everyone, and if Hunter Biden is legitimately guilty of something, he should face the consequences. And so Murphy answered in that vein, while also pointing out that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner—who actually worked in the White House, unlike Hunter Biden—got $2 billion from the Saudis after Trump was expectorated from the Oval Office. And Trump himself profited handsomely off his presidency—and did so out in the open—for four years.

So after Murphy answered that, yes, it was inappropriate for Hunter Biden to profit off his last name, maybe Welker should have moved on to more important matters instead of, say, asking him again

But hey, we have to be fair, don't we? Maybe she’ll have Kushner on next week and ask him what Prince Bone Saws bought with his 2 bill. Because if it was a Ford Raptor, Little Lord Fauntleroy will be well and truly fucked. 

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


Sen. J.D. Vance was on CNN’s “State of the Union” pretending to be a man of the people—instead of a manservant to a circus peanut. He wants people to know—or at least believe—that the GOP is a pro-family party, really and for true. Never mind that they slap the hot lunches out of hungry kids’ mouths every chance they get. They really want you to believe that they support families, along with all the kids they’re forcing those families to have against their will.

And how are they doing that? Oh, just listen to J.D. He’s got it all figured out.

JD Vance on CNN on birth control: "I don't think that I know any Republican, at least not a Republican with a brain, that's trying to take those rights again from people." Jake Tapper replies, "I mean, I could provide a list for you if you want it."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 10, 2023

VANCE: “I want to protect as many unborn babies as possible. I also think we have to win the trust back of the American people. And one of the ways to do that is to be the truly pro-family party—I think we are, we’ve got to carry that message forward and actually enact some public policies to that effect.”

TAPPER: “Is birth control part of that policy? Empowering women to be able to make those decisions before they get pregnant?”

VANCE: “Obviously people need to be able to make those decisions. I don’t think I know any Republican—at least not a Republican with a brain—that’s trying to take those rights away from people. But I think it goes deeper than that.”

TAPPER: “I mean, I could provide a list for you if you want.”

VANCE: “Well, okay, not anybody I talk to, Jake. But look, I think the more important question is—I talk to a lot of people, a lot of young families who want to have babies. They can’t afford mortgages, they’re terrified about health care expenses. We’ve got to answer those questions for people. We’ve got to have a role to play, because, look, we have a real problem in this country. Not enough Americans families that want to have children are able to do it. That’s how you destroy a nation.”

Well it’s nice to know that Vance thinks the Republican speaker of the House is brainless, because that dude’s done his darndest to keep people from accessing birth control. In fact, last year, 195 House Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act, which passed only because all 220 Democrats were onboard. 

Of course, another way you destroy a nation—aside from kowtowing to a Hitler-stanning documents thief whose latest EEG reading is about what you’d get if you tossed a hair dryer into a bathtub full of ferrets—is refusing to let people immigrate here because they’re brown. After all, if Vance were really interested in keeping this nation of immigrants prosperous and vital, he’d propose a viable immigration reform plan. But that will never happen. Not in this climate. Which naturally puts an undue burden on American citizens’ often-unwilling uteri.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Republicans are completely screwed on abortion, and Trump (hearts) fascism


Ever wonder what the world might look like now if Palm Beach County, Florida, hadn’t run with that butterfly ballot in 2000 and tricked all those elderly Jewish women into voting for Pat Buchanan? Al Gore would have been president, and we might have actually done something on the climate while we still had plenty of time. And we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. And it’s even possible 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. And maybe the GOP’s cavalcade of increasingly risible presidential candidates would have ended at George W. Bush, instead of finding its terminus in Donald Trump. (This assumes Trump is the last glitching brain stem the GOP will place in the White House and not America’s first dictator. Though if things keep going the way they are, the 2028 Republican presidential nominee is liable to be a bowl of Grape-Nuts.)

Gore joined Tapper on “State of the Union,” where he was asked about Trump’s totally-not-secret plans for authoritarian rule.  

Al Gore on CNN on Trump: "Well, I saw the other day where he pledged to be a dictator on day one. And you kind of wonder what it will take for people to believe him when he tells us what he is"

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 10, 2023

TAPPER: “It does look like the 2024 election will come down to President Biden versus former President Trump. And I’m wondering what you think the world would look like under President Trump being reelected, which is certainly a possibility, not only when it comes to the climate but also when it comes to democracy.”

GORE: “Well, I saw the other day where he pledged to be a dictator on day one, and you’ve got to wonder what it will take for people to believe him when he tells us who he is. And, you know, the solution to political despair is political action, and for those in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party and independents who love American democracy and who want to preserve our capacity to govern ourselves and solve our problems, now’s the time to get active.”

Yes. Yes, it is. Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Vice President. Here’s one way to get started. And, of course, campaigns always need cash. We’ve got our work cut out for us going into 2024, so let’s all keep our eye on the ball. And please—no voting for Pat Buchanan this time around. That was a frickin’ disaster.

But wait! There’s more!

That’s all for now. See you next week, and happy holidays to all!

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.