GOP impeachment inquiry pronounced dead and ‘dunzo’ after latest hearing flops

On Wednesday, the Republican Party attempted, once again, to slander President Joe Biden. Using their control over the House Oversight Committee to hold yet another stunt hearing, ostensibly in their investigation of the president for possible impeachment. The hearing went so poorly that many are calling the evidence-free impeachment shenanigans officially dead. 

The fact that Florida Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz wore a Vladimir Putin Halloween mask to the committee hearing, in a playful bit of political theater, illustrated how absurd this farce has become. Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz pointed out that even Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Donald Trump’s bestest buddy, chose to bury the hearing on his nightly show. If you can’t get the same bozos who ran your evidence-free propaganda to run it anymore … them’s the breaks. 

Rep. Eric Swalwell used his time to pronounce the sham inquiry “Dunzo. Bye bye. Rigor mortis. Lights out. Curtain drop. Mic drop. Peace. Adios. Sayonara. Au revoir. Or a language that you all understand, ‘Do svidaniya.’” 

Swalwell even put a time on the death of the impeachment!

Like previous Republican-led hearings on the matter, this latest hearing was one Democratic representatives pulled no punches. Rep. Jasmine Crockett took her time to remind everyone that Hunter Biden testified for hours, and the GOP got nothing out of it. Crockett pointed out that the only person Republicans seem to be unwilling to subpoena is the person who generated the “evidence” they claim they are investigating: Rudy Giuliani. 

“But, you know, kind of like when we were trying to get his cell phone, they shut it down, right?” Crockett said. “Like, they don't want the facts.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin allowed former Trump aide Lev Parnas to give some of the most damning testimony, casting absolute doubt on Giuliani’s “fact-finding” mission in Ukraine, and highlighting the complicity of right-wing propaganda operators like Sean Hannity in spreading misinformation.

The GOP “case” against the Biden family has consisted of disappointing "bombshell" evidence and star witnesses who contradict the Republican narrative. Last week, the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee brought in former special counsel Robert Hur in an attempt to characterize the president as mentally unfit for office. It went poorly. Democratic members of Congress put together not one, not two, but three supercuts showing how bizarre Donald Trump is, once again making Biden’s competency as a world leader that much more striking.

Thoughts and prayers.

The president of the Center for American Progress, Patrick Gaspard, joins us to give his thoughts on what the Republican Party’s actual message is.

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Watch Jim Jordan try to explain his ‘facts’ that aren’t facts

Rep. Jim Jordan spoke briefly to the press on Wednesday and tried his mightiest to pretend it’s no big deal that an FBI informant has been charged with lying about Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business ties. 

Alexander Smirnov was the source behind what many Republicans hoped would be smoking gun evidence that proved massive corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his family. But it turns out that one of the GOP’s star witnesses in the bogus push to impeach Biden is at best an indicted liar and at worst a Russian mole

After repeatedly insisting that the facts, as he sees them, are still the same (even if his biggest corroborating witness lied about everything), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee had this delightful exchange with one of the reporters.

Rep. Jim Jordan: So it doesn't change the fundamental facts.

Reporter: How does it not change the facts? Those are no longer facts. They aren’t true.

Jordan: The four things I just said are absolutely true. Did Hunter Biden get put on the board of Burisma? Yes. Was he paid $1,000,000 a year? Yes. Did Joe Biden condition the release of tax money for the firing of the prosecutor who was applying the pressure? Yes.

The first two things on Jordan’s list, which are true, are not against the law. You may not like them, but they’re not illegal—and Republican legislators are not racing to create laws that might curtail these potential conflicts of interest. On the other hand, we might want to do a teensy, tiny bit of investigation into Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the billions in Saudi money he’s received since leaving the White House. 

Jordan’s last “fact” rests on the assumption that by conveying the Obama administration’s conditions that Ukraine fire corrupt prosecutor Viktor Shokin before the United States would give the country aid, then-Vice President Biden was helping out his son’s new employer, Burisma. 

That’s a lie.

In fact, Hunter Biden’s former business partner and previous star witness for the GOP, Devon Archer, took all the air out of Jordan’s bag of bullshit when he testified that President Biden did not help his son’s standing on the Burisma board. In fact, Archer said Shokin’s ouster “was bad for Burisma” because the energy company “felt like they had Shokin under control” and he was unlikely to slap heavy sanctions or oversight on the company.

Unfortunately for Republicans trying their best to target Joe Biden and his family, there is no there there— and there never has been. At every stage of this political theater production, Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan have had to admit they have no actionable evidence. 

Watch as Jordan denies facts for a full five minutes in the clip below.

Democratic voters know Joe Biden is old and MAGA voters like to pretend that Trump isn't just as long in the tooth. Both men were old the last time we did this and the only thing that’s changed is Biden is now a successful incumbent, while Trump is busy juggling trials and indictments.

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GOP senators demand impeachment trial as government shutdown looms

With a government shutdown looming, 13 Republican senators, led by Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas’ pretend cowboy Sen. Ted Cruz, released a letter they said they sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding he make a big stink about holding an impeachment trial for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Lee even posted a copy of the letter with some vaguely legible signatures to his X (formerly Twitter) account. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to dismiss the bogus bit of political theater.

The Republican-led House was able to impeach Mayorkas after one embarrassing failure of an attempt, making it the first time a Cabinet official has been impeached in 150 years. The Senate GOP members making hay out of the impeachment process continue to remind the public how Democratic officials proved (and Republican officials admitted) the entire exercise was disingenuous.

The letter, which was signed by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Eric Schmitt, Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, J.D. Vance, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Budd, Cynthia Lummis, and Marsha Blackburn, contains a lot of what we have come to expect from the do-nothing Republican Party. The general pantomime of the GOP around the impeachment of Mayorkas involves an imaginary belief that the GOP is strong on border security. It is fitting that conservative senators like Lee, who voted against the bipartisan border security deal, would also spend their time trying to create a political theater production of impeachment instead of making the hard compromises and decisions needed to get things done.

Senators like Cruz have used their party’s disarray to take shots at current leaders like McConnell. On Sunday, Cruz told Fox News that “if Republican leadership in the Senate doesn’t like the criticism, here’s an opportunity to demonstrate some backbone.” Cruz and Lee are joined by self-promoters like Sen. Josh Hawley, who has had his own public spats with Republican leadership in recent months.

The government is set to shut down on March 1. House Republicans seem unable to chew gum and … chew gum. Senate Republicans who spent many decades in lockstep with McConnell’s leadership seem to have lost the ability to tie their shoes. The Senate is coming off of an 11-day recess. McConnell has not responded to inquiries from media outlets for his response to the letter as of the writing of this story.

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Ohhhhh yeah! Democrats kicked ass and then some in Tuesday's special election in New York, so of course we're talking all about it on this week's episode of "The Downballot." Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard explain how Tom Suozzi's win affects the math for Democrats' plan to take back the House, then dive into the seemingly bottomless list of excuses Republicans have been making to handwave their defeat away. The bottom line: Suozzi effectively neutralized attacks on immigration—and abortion is still a huge loser for the GOP.

Even Lou Dobbs seems tired of the Hunter Biden investigation

The Republican Party’s evidence-less investigation of Hunter Biden’s business affairs continues to reveal … nothing new or criminal on the part of President Joe Biden. Rep. Andy Biggs is on the Republican Hunter Biden fishing expedition committee, which is chaired by Rep. James Comer. Biggs went on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to discuss all of the nothing he has been able to find on Joe and Hunter Biden.

Biggs tells Dobbs that while they think Hunter Biden is guilty of something, they clearly do not have enough evidence to do anything legal about it. Dobbs, whose painting of Howdy Doody in the attic must look ancient by now, seems pretty fed up with it all.

Congressman, I have to say to you, it sounds to me like we're right where we were six months ago. It really does. I don't see any advancement in this, and a progress toward incriminating evidence for the president. I mean, what we're talking about is a stasis. It's as if everything is frozen right there in time, waiting for either contradiction, invalidation of these statements by people, that I think everyone would assume common sense tells you that they're lying through their teeth and trying to protect someone. But that's insufficient.

It’s hard to argue against the fact that every witness Comer and others have claimed would provide the smoking gun evidence against President Joe Biden has fallen flat or had it blow up in their faces. In fact, these witnesses have ended up supporting the idea that Biden didn’t do anything wrong in regards to supporting his wayward son. 

Oversight Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, have continued to point out that real issues of oversight remain untouched by the Republican-led committees in the House. Issues like the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last year. GOP leaders like Donald Trump were quick to blame Joe Biden and fundraise a lot of cash on the tragedy, but were unwilling to lift a finger to investigate what could be done to mitigate such disasters in the future. 

Republicans and their propaganda outlets have been screeching about how much of a crisis there is on the border, and how badly we need security. Instead of working out a deal, House Republicans begin a constitutionally dubious impeachment stunt against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Then when Senate Democrats worked out a deal with Senate Republicans—a deal that is in no way progressive but might at least help fulfill some of our promised foreign aid obligations—Republicans turned around and tried to kill it.

The Republican Party is a depressingly dangerous political theater troupe at this point. The only thing they seem able to do now is demand action, create committee witch hunts, and when Democratic lawmakers and Joe Biden call them on their bluster, become impotently angry. Whether Dobbs’ seeming exhaustion is indicative of a meaningful trend among any of the people who still pay attention to him remains to be seen.

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It is primary season, and Donald Trump seems pretty low energy these days. Kerry and Markos talk about the chances of Trump stumbling through the election season and the need to press our advantage and make gains in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, the right-wing media world is losing its collective minds about Taylor Swift registering younger Americans to vote!

GOP congressman admits Mayorkas impeachment is bogus

House Republicans caught some friendly fire on Thursday, when Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado went on MSNBC to say that GOP members pushing for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ impeachment would not get his support. Calling the process “wrong,” Buck told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “This is not a high crime or misdemeanor. It’s not an impeachable offense. This is a policy difference.”

The Colorado Republican went so far as to admonish his party, saying, “If we go down this path of impeachment with a Cabinet official, we are opening a door, as Republicans, that we don’t want to open.” When asked if he might change his mind, Buck said that unless new evidence materialized, it was unlikely since he has done his “due diligence” and doesn’t see any impeachable actions on the part of the secretary.

Republicans have repeatedly admitted that their attacks on Mayorkas are purely political. The idea that there might be legal reasons for impeachment seems to have escaped them entirely. For their part, House Democrats have been using these circus impeachment proceedings to point out how deleterious this political theater is to our country while also reminding voters about the absurd “solutions” that  Donald Trump and his MAGA lawmakers have for our country’s problems—the same problems Republicans are choosing not to address with policy, in favor of this this stunt impeachment.

Buck, who is retiring and leaving his seat to the wolves, now seems free to point out some of the more egregious actions of his fellow Republicans. He joins the GOP officials who have fallen out of favor with their political party—for not setting the world on fire—and who have become prone to pointing out how crappy their new members are

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It is primary season, and Donald Trump seems pretty low energy these days. Kerry and Markos talk about the chances of Trump stumbling through the election season and the need to press our advantage and make gains in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, the right-wing media world is losing its collective minds about Taylor Swift registering younger Americans to vote!

Watch: Republicans slammed for ‘debasing and demeaning’ the Constitution

On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee met to discuss the Republican-created articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The entire enterprise against Mayorkas has been an example of one of the most transparent weaponizations of impeachment provisions in our lifetime. 

Rep. Daniel Goldman decided to use his time to give a masterclass on how hypocritical, political, and ultimately dangerous this endeavor is, describing the proceedings as “completely debasing and demeaning the impeachment clause of the United States Constitution, and it is a gross, gross injustice to the credibility of this institution.” Goldman reminded the committee that impeachment has only been used against people who have abused their power and should not be used as a way to attack what you might believe to be “bad” policy. “That is for elections and that is for legislation,” Goldman continued.

He then drilled into the political nature of these proceedings, and how they are an attempt to give Donald Trump and congressional Republicans something to run on during this election cycle: “You are sitting here right now trying to impeach a secretary of Homeland Security for neglecting his duties literally while he is trying to perform his duties and negotiate legislation.” Finally, Goldman detailed the catch-22 of nongovernance being performed by the GOP, and how corrosive it is to our country.

So your own party is sabotaging and undermining this administration's efforts to address the border while you are trying to impeach him by saying that they're not addressing the border. The hypocrisy is the least of it. Your attack on the rule of law and our democracy is the worst of it. And you better be careful about the bed that you make. I yield back.

Mayorkas has been a publicly convenient symbol for Republican attacks on immigration policy. No matter how jaw-droppingly obvious the fallacy of their attacks may seem, it is all that they’ve got. Since the GOP continues to fail to gin up enthusiastic electoral support from its voters by way of culture wars attacking trans children and banning books on race and history, trying to impeach Mayorkas has become their substitute for doing anything substantial about our country’s immigration policies.

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New letter exposes Republicans’ latest absurdity in their impeachment stunt

The Republican-led House Homeland Security Committee kicked off the new year by wasting everybody’s time with new impeachment hearings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And on Wednesday, Chair Mark Green sent a letter to Mayorkas asking that the secretary provide written testimony since he “declined to appear” before the committee.

But that’s not exactly true. Also on Wednesday, NBC News obtained a letter from DHS contradicting Green’s assertion that Mayorkas “declined” anything. According to NBC, after the Republican-led committee originally requested that Mayorkas testify in person on Jan. 18, DHS replied that the secretary could not testify on that date due to scheduling conflicts. Specifically, Mayorkas would be hosting a delegation from Mexico to discuss immigration issues. In other words, the exact issue Republicans are pretending to be interested in working on as lawmakers.

In the letter, DHS explained that Mayorkas remained willing to testify in front of the committee at another date, but as DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg described it in a statement following Green’s letter, Republicans’ “rush to impeach” Mayorkas seems to be taking precedence over having a reason to impeach him.

This is just the latest example of Committee Republicans’ sham process. It’s abundantly clear that they are not interested in hearing from Secretary Mayorkas since it doesn’t fit into their bad-faith, predetermined and unconstitutional rush to impeach him. Last week, the Secretary offered to testify publicly before the Committee; in the time since, the Committee failed to respond to DHS to find a mutually agreeable date.

Instead, they provided this offer of written testimony to the media before any outreach to the Department. [Homeland Security Committee] Republicans have yet again demonstrated their preference for playing politics rather than work together to address the serious issues at the border.

Mayorkas has long been a target for the do-nothing Republicans in Congress because immigration has been an amorphous boogeyman they use to (successfully) frighten their base. Sometimes, though, Republican lawmakers can’t keep their conspiracy theories straight, such as when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene mistakenly claimed during another hearing that the FBI was part of the Department of Homeland Security.

As a DHS official told NBC, Mayorkas has testified 27 times in 35 months—more than any other Biden Cabinet official—and has answered hundreds of questions concerning immigration and the southern border. The first two-hour hearing that Green chaired last week was unable to bring up a single piece of evidence that might rise to the level of impeachment.

Green’s choice to try and paint Mayorkas as dodging these circus-like impeachment proceedings is possibly twofold: It allows Republicans a chance to throw suspicion on Mayorkas’ as guilty of something while also ensuring that the secretary won’t publicly embarrass them the way he recently humiliated Sen. John Hawley.

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Comer isn’t even trying as Jake Tapper makes fun of his Biden conspiracy theory on live TV

On Friday, Rep. James Comer brought his catastrophic mess of an impeachment inquiry to CNN. Speaking with host Jake Tapper, the chair of the House Oversight Committee couldn’t even be bothered to pretend he had any evidence against President Joe Biden and his family and instead tried to promote such a twisted joke of a conspiracy theory that Tapper just made fun of him by repeating it back.

The theory, of course, is that Hunter Biden has been indicted in order to protect him … from indictment.

James Comer: My concern is that [special counsel David] Weiss may have indicted Hunter Biden to protect him from having to be deposed.

Jake Tapper: Ahh yes, yes! He indicted him to protect him. Yes, the classic rubric. He indicted him to protect him. I got it.

Comer: This whole thing, Jake, has been about a coverup, you know, you’ve got two …

Tapper: That's why he decided to do it? To protect him, to cover it up?

Comer:  Well, look, you indict him on the least little things, the gun charge and not paying tax …

Tapper: He's facing 17 additional years in prison! These are felonies.

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Logical question on impeachment had Speaker Mike Johnson changing the subject

House Speaker Mike Johnson took time away from being a homophobe to hold a press conference on Wednesday. He spent most of the time doing what Republican leaders usually do in front of a press corps: equivocate, change the subject, and spew a few empty talking points. In a video posted by reporter Aaron Rupar, Johnson is asked a pretty easy-to-answer question by a reporter.

Of course, the question gets considerably more difficult to answer when the logic of your position is as deplorable as the current Republican speaker’s.

Here’s what Johnson was asked:

The official act that was corrupt that Republicans are alleging today was that when he was vice president, Joe Biden pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor—and this was the subject of the impeachment of Donald Trump—and you had a lot of State Department officials who came in and said, “This wasn't Joe Biden's policy. This was our policy. He didn't do this to benefit his son. He did this because we wanted him to do it.”

So did they all commit perjury, or are you going to bring them back for more interviews? Why are Republicans just ignoring all that testimony.

Johnson’s response is to change the subject. “Look, no one's ignoring testimony,” he said. “Let me tell you the top four pieces of evidence with regard to Biden, if I just give a bulletpoints here. From 2014 to 2019, Biden family members and their affiliated companies received over $15 million from foreign companies and foreign nationals.”

That’s $15 million over five years to anyone connected to Biden, got it! It isn’t great form to play whataboutism, but in this case, let’s remember that during the four years of Donald Trump’s disastrous administration, his daughter and son-in-law reportedly made more than half a billion dollars in “outside” income. Jared Kushner alone received more than $2 billion from Saudi nationals for a business where operations were considered “unsatisfactory.”

Johnson is out of his depth. In his defense, the entire Republican Party is drowning in a swamp of MAGA extremism and anti-democratic authoritarianism.

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Instead of working on keeping government open, Marjorie Taylor Greene tries to impeach head of DHS

On Thursday, the Republican-led House decided that after having wasted weeks arguing about who should be their next speaker, they needed to take a nice long weekend. With eight days left to fund our government, the Republican Party still can’t get its act together long enough to pass anything.

Mere days before Veterans Day, while some House members used their time to commemorate U.S. veterans, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up and spoke for a very long time—and introduced articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

This is nothing new for Greene, who has authored about a half-dozen articles of impeachment against Biden and others in his administration. On Tuesday, instead of working toward a Republican consensus to keep the government open, Greene passed an amendment to have Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s salary reduced to $1.

Greene is not alone. Targeting Mayorkas has been a way for conservatives to pretend the Biden administration has failed to secure America’s borders. Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment appear to be the only things resembling policy for Republicans. The logic of how dismantling the U.S. government’s ability to operate will help improve … its operation … remains a mystery.

Did the Republicans vote on anything else?

Yesterday, 106 Republicans voted to eliminate all staff in the Office of the Vice President. Today, 165 Republicans voted to reduce the salary of the White House Press Secretary to $1

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 9, 2023

With a Republican shutdown looming, the GOP seems able to produce only political theater aimed at hampering the government’s ability to serve the American people. This week’s election results suggest the American people have noticed.

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The band is back together, and it is a glorious day as Markos and Kerry’s hot takes over the past year came true—again! Republicans continue to lose at the ballot box and we are here for it!