Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries eggs on Republicans in their civil war

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries is having some fun at Republicans’ expense, stirring one of the pots simmering away in their civil war. 

The GOP Tax Scam in 2017 obliterated the State and Local Tax deduction and hurt middle class families. House Republicans in New York promised to fix it. They lied.

— Hakeem Jeffries (@hakeemjeffries) January 30, 2024

Jeffries is needling the so-called “moderates” in the Republican conference who are taking on leadership in what should be a no-brainer tax bill. The bill would extend the child tax credit to help more working families and reduce some business taxes. What more could you want in an election-year tax bill? 

It’s not enough for some of the members of the Biden 17, the group of Republicans in districts that voted Democratic in the 2020 presidential election. They want their specific, parochial tax break for their constituents—increasing the federal deduction for state and local taxes—to be included in the bill. And they’re threatening to take a page out of the Freedom Caucus playbook and shut the House down if they don’t get it.

SALT FRAY: LaLota suggests unrelated rules could get knocked down and slowing House floor business if they aren’t heard out on SALT for the tax bill. D'Esposito, asked if he’d also consider joining: Absolutely. Perhaps it's time that us rational become the radical.

— Chris Cioffi (@ReporterCioffi) January 30, 2024

“Do it! Do it!” Jeffries seems to be urging them, in a masterful bit of trolling. He’s reinforcing just how vulnerable these members sitting in swing districts are. He’s also poking some fun at just how ineffectual they’ve been in accomplishing anything in the majority.

But Jeffries is also putting just that much more pressure on House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has a very, very tenuous hold on the majority right now and absolutely can’t afford to lose any votes on any bills. Another masterful troller—Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern—pointed out that the GOP’s ranks were so thin Monday that Democrats had the majority. "My Republican friends barely—barely—control the House of Representatives,” McGovern ribbed. “In fact, yesterday there were more Democrats voting than Republicans."


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House approves impeachment inquiry into President Biden as Republicans rally behind investigation

The House on Wednesday authorized the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, with every Republican rallying behind the politically charged process despite lingering concerns among some in the party that the investigation has yet to produce evidence of misconduct by the president.

The 221-212 party-line vote put the entire House Republican conference on record in support of an impeachment process that can lead to the ultimate penalty for a president: punishment for what the Constitution describes as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which can lead to removal from office if convicted in a Senate trial.

Authorizing the monthslong inquiry ensures that the impeachment investigation extends well into 2024, when Biden will be running for reelection and seems likely to be squaring off against former President Donald Trump — who was twice impeached during his time in the White House. Trump has pushed his GOP allies in Congress to move swiftly on impeaching Biden, part of his broader calls for vengeance and retribution against his political enemies.

The decision to hold a vote came as House Speaker Mike Johnson and his leadership team faced growing pressure to show progress in what has become a nearly yearlong probe centered around the business dealings of Biden's family members. While their investigation has raised ethical questions, no evidence has emerged that Biden acted corruptly or accepted bribes in his current role or previous office as vice president.

Ahead of the vote, Johnson called it “the next necessary step" and acknowledged there are “a lot of people who are frustrated this hasn’t moved faster.“

In a recent statement, the White House called the whole process a “baseless fishing expedition” that Republicans are pushing ahead with “despite the fact that members of their own party have admitted there is no evidence to support impeaching President Biden.”

House Democrats rose in opposition to the inquiry resolution Wednesday.

“This whole thing is an extreme political stunt. It has no credibility, no legitimacy, and no integrity. It is a sideshow," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said during a floor debate.

Some House Republicans, particularly those hailing from politically divided districts, had been hesitant in recent weeks to take any vote on Biden's impeachment, fearing a significant political cost. But GOP leaders have made the case in recent weeks that the resolution is only a step in the process, not a decision to impeach Biden. That message seems to have won over skeptics.

“As we have said numerous times before, voting in favor of an impeachment inquiry does not equal impeachment,” Rep. Tom Emmer, a member of the GOP leadership team, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Emmer said Republicans “will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead, and if they uncover evidence of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, then and only then will the next steps towards impeachment proceedings be considered.”

Most of the Republicans reluctant to back the impeachment push have also been swayed by leadership's recent argument that authorizing the inquiry will give them better legal standing as the White House has questioned the legal and constitutional basis for their requests for information.

A letter last month from a top White House attorney to Republican committee leaders portrayed the GOP investigation as overzealous and illegitimate because the chamber had not yet authorized a formal impeachment inquiry by a vote of the full House. Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, also wrote that when Trump faced the prospect of impeachment by a Democratic-led House in 2019, Johnson had said at the time that any inquiry without a House vote would be a “sham.”

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., said this week that while there was no evidence to impeach the president, “that’s also not what the vote this week would be about.”

“We have had enough political impeachments in this country,” he said. “I don’t like the stonewalling the administration has done, but listen, if we don’t have the receipts, that should constrain what the House does long-term.”

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who has long been opposed to moving forward with impeachment, said that the White House questioning the legitimacy of the inquiry without a formal vote helped gain his support. “I can defend an inquiry right now,” he told reporters this week. "Let's see what they find out.”

House Democrats remained unified in their opposition to the impeachment process, saying it is a farce used by the GOP to take attention away from Trump and his legal woes.

“You don’t initiate an impeachment process unless there’s real evidence of impeachable offenses,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, who oversaw the two impeachments into Trump. “There is none here. None.”

Democrats and the White House have repeatedly defended the president and his administration's cooperation with the investigation thus far, saying it has already made a massive trove of documents available.

Congressional investigators have obtained nearly 40,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records and dozens of hours of testimony from key witnesses, including several high-ranking Justice Department officials currently tasked with investigating the president's son, Hunter Biden.

While Republicans say their inquiry is ultimately focused on the president himself, they have taken particular interest in Hunter Biden and his overseas business dealings, from which they accuse the president of personally benefiting. Republicans have also focused a large part of their investigation on whistleblower allegations of interference in the long-running Justice Department investigation into the younger Biden's taxes and his gun use.

Hunter Biden is currently facing criminal charges in two states from the special counsel investigation. He’s charged with firearm counts in Delaware, alleging he broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018, a period when he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. Special counsel David Weiss filed additional charges last week, alleging he failed to pay about $1.4 million in taxes over a three-year period.

Democrats have conceded that while the president's son is not perfect, he is a private citizen who is already being held accountable by the justice system.

“I mean, there’s a lot of evidence that Hunter Biden did a lot of improper things. He’s been indicted, he’ll stand trial,” Nadler said. “There’s no evidence whatsoever that the president did anything improper.”

Hunter Biden arrived for a rare public statement outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, saying he would not be appearing for his scheduled private deposition that morning. The president's son defended himself against years of GOP attacks and said his father has had no financial involvement in his business affairs.

His attorney has offered for Biden to testify publicly, citing concerns about Republicans manipulating any private testimony.

“Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry, or hear what I have to say,” Biden said outside the Capitol. “What are they afraid of? I am here.”

GOP lawmakers said that since Hunter Biden did not appear, they will begin contempt of Congress proceedings against him. “He just got into more trouble today,” Rep. James Comer, the House Oversight Committee chairman, told reporters Wednesday.

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Biden campaign: House GOP follows Trump’s ‘marching orders’ with bogus impeachment

The Biden campaign blasted House Republicans Tuesday for being “an arm of Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign” in a memo shared with news organizations. The bogus impeachment resolution Speaker Mike Johnson okayed is expected to come to the floor for a vote this week.

Johnson took his “marching orders” from Trump, Biden-Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler said in the memo. “The only branch of government MAGA Republicans control is following through on Donald Trump’s promise to use the levers of government to enact political retribution on his enemies,” Tyler said. “You know, like the followers of a dictator.”

“The only, single fact in this entire sham impeachment exercise is that it’s a nakedly transparent ploy by House MAGA Republicans to boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,” Tyler wrote. Johnson “is firmly in Donald Trump’s pocket and taking his marching orders from him and Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Tyler said, adding, “It’s no small coincidence Johnson did a complete about-face and announced his plans to bring an impeachment vote days after he endorsed Trump and flew down to Mar-a-Lago to meet privately with the former president.”

That’s all true, and the Republicans in the House are lining up to be the would-be dictator’s foot soldiers. Just one of them is publicly opposed to the impeachment resolution: Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck of Colorado, ironically. “Republicans in the House who are itching for an impeachment are relying on an imagined history,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post in September. He told Politico last week that he hasn’t “seen any new evidence” to make him change his position.

The supposed “moderate” swing-district Republicans, known as the Biden 17 (it used to be 18, including expelled Rep. George Santos) are pretending this is a valid investigation and it’s all about process and their oversight duty. “The administration would do well by honoring the subpoenas of the committees and participating in the investigation. If what is necessary to ensure oversight is this next step, then I’m certainly open to it,” Rep. Marc Molinaro of New York told Politico.

The Biden campaign and House Democrats have warned those supposed moderates about what this means for their political future. "Trump says jump, the MAGA extremists say 'how high?'” Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts said Tuesday. “Donald Trump asks them to impeach Joe Biden, and here we are ... when this is all over, I'm confident that the American people will overwhelmingly agree that this whole impeachment stunt is a national disgrace."


GOP impeachment resolution: A circus without substance

A House Republican tells the truth about the push to impeach Biden

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