By embracing ‘impeachment expungement’ nonsense, McCarthy risks his thin majority

Kevin McCarthy’s brief speakership has been such a shambolic clusterf--k. It’s a wonder he’s retained enough of his wits to keep pretending Donald Trump is a real boy—one with real human feelings beyond hunger, rage, and that concupiscent soup of queasy envy that heats up whenever his weird milksop of a son-in-law comes within Taser-range of his daughter. 

But he’ll keep pretending. Oh, will he ever! Now that his immutable soul is a wholly owned subsidiary of MAGA, Speaker McCarthy’s abandoned his dogged fight against inflation and returned to his true life’s work: continually inflating Donald Trump’s greasy ego. And he’s doing it with the help of his BFF Marjorie Taylor Greene and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who recently introduced a symbolic measure to “expunge” Donald Trump’s two impeachments. Naturally that’ll make us all forget that he extorted a foreign ally and incited an insurrection against the U.S. government.

Fresh off censuring Rep. Adam Schiff for telling the truth about Trump, McCarthy, et al., are fixing to absolve the ex-pr*sident before he even thinks about asking for forgiveness. And, needless to say, that’s left Republican House members from light-blue districts a little spooked.

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In backing the effort, led by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Elise Stefanik of New York, McCarthy is putting his weight behind their goal of removing the charges against Trump from the impeachments of 2019 and 2021.

"I think it is appropriate, just as I thought before, that you should expunge it, because it never should have gone through," the California Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill.

McCarthy said that the 2019 impeachment was "was not based on true facts" while adding that the 2021 vote was taken "on the basis of no due process."

Right? That 2019 impeachment was bullshit! Just read the transcript.

Wait, you’re not actually reading the transcript, are you? 

Who told you to do that?

Stop it!

No more reading now, I mean it!

Anybody want a peanut?

Okay, it’s all right to skim it. Just make sure you stop as soon as you get to the part where Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor, though,” because everything after that is pretty transparently treason-y.

Speaking of treason, the 2021 impeachment was an even easier layup—one that Mitch McConnell, et al., intentionally missed.

But being a Republican in 2023 means you’re expected to defend everything Trump says and does, up to and including installing beige bathroom fixtures that badly clash with one’s ecru classified document boxes and white crystal chandelier.

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That said, some non-MAGA House Republicans are nervous about being forced to vote on anything related to Trump’s guilt or innocence, because he’s fucking guilty and everyone with a functioning brain stem—which includes a not-insignificant number of swing voters and non-MAGA Republicans—knows it.

This week, the Republicans wanted President Joe Biden impeached. The GOP censured Adam Schiff for probing Donald Trump's corruption. The Republican Party declared their intention to expunge Donald J. Trump's impeachments. Trump was impeached twice. We, the people, won't forget.

— Tony - Resistance (@TonyHussein4) June 23, 2023

On Friday, CNN reporter Manu Raju reported on the expungement effort and the bind in which it appears to put some moderate Republicans.

(Partial) transcript!

RAJU: “[I]n a key announcement just moments ago in that same press gaggle, Kevin McCarthy told a group of us he does support this effort to expunge those Trump impeachments. Even though it is symbolic and won’t change the actual record of the impeachments happening, if it were to move forward it would put moderates in a more difficult spot. Some of them simply don’t want to vote on this or take a position backing Trump, particularly when it comes to Jan. 6. One of them, Don Bacon, a member from Nebraska from a district that Joe Biden carried, told me it sounds, quote, ‘kind of weird to go down that route.’ And McCarthy would not promise to bring this to the floor … but he said it would go to the House Judiciary Committee and then they would make a decision. He also told me that, no, he has not spoken to Trump about this.”

Why would he talk to Trump about it? What would Trump say? He didn’t even call off his dogs when they were biting at McCarthy’s heels on Jan. 6. Why would he help McCarthy now? 

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are treating this expungement effort with all the seriousness it deserves.

If I finish rearranging my sock drawer, I will proudly introduce two resolutions to expunge the two expungement resolutions by GOP Reps @EliseStefanik and @mtgreenee. Because this is all pretend stuff anyways.

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 24, 2023

Rep. Dan Goldman, the Democrats’ lead counsel during the first Trump impeachment, pointed out that this was clearly just theater. “It is just a further continuation of the House Republicans acting as Donald Trump's taxpayer-funded lawyers,” Goldman told CBS News. "It’s telling who is introducing them and it’s essentially whoever is trying to curry the most favor with Donald Trump,"

Even Jonathan Turley, a Georgetown University law professor who served as a witness for House Republicans during Trump’s first impeachment, thinks the expungement effort is nonsense. “It is not like a constitutional DUI. Once you are impeached, you are impeached,” Turley told Reuters.

Of course, this is all part and parcel of Republicans’ wider campaign to whitewash our country’s recent history.

For the record, Trump-Russia collusion was proven, no matter how many times Republicans say the Mueller investigation was a hoax and a witch hunt. Trump really did extort Ukraine in a bid to manufacture dirt on President Joe Biden, no matter how many times they tell you to look the other way.

And Trump’s reckless and illegal action (and inaction) on Jan. 6, 2021, really did cause the deaths of Americans and bring our country to the brink of a constitutional crisis. McCarthy should at the very least remember that last incident. It’s pretty hard to forget the day you begged for your life and heard nothing but nonsense back.

Then again, McCarthy helped revive Trump’s political career in the wake of Jan. 6, so as his paper-thin majority continues to tear over trifles like this, he can be confident that he has only himself to blame.

Though something tells me he’d rather point fingers at Hunter Biden.

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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.    

New book: During first impeachment, Ted Cruz admitted all 100 senators knew Trump was guilty

Republicans love their phony bugaboos. Whether it’s graduate-level courses being taught in kindergarten, migrant caravans shoving old women out of the way at the A&P to score the last marble rye, or foreign drug cartels handing out fentanyl to trick-or-treaters for Squad-knows-what reason, the GOP is great at distracting you from the hell demons feasting on your viscera all day, every day, like so much Laffy Taffy.

But if there’s a suspected Russian agent in the White House doing things only a Russian agent would do—well, never mind. We’ll just see how it plays out. How about that, patriots?

In yet another tardy tell-all on the bag of moldering mystery dicks that was the Trump administration—this one titled Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump—POLITICO’s Rachael Bade and The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian detail the mental gymnastics congressional Republicans went through during Trump’s first impeachment, all in order to make him seem vaguely not-guilty. Yet according to no less an authority on evil than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, every single Republican senator actually thought Trump was corrupt to the core. (Or to whatever passes as a Trump “core.” Truth is, all you’re likely to find in there is nougat. Or maybe an old, glitchy CPU from a Furby.)

If you think back to 2,137 hair-on-fire Donald Trump scandals ago, you’ll recall that Trump withheld vital military aid to Ukraine during a shooting war in order to blackmail its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden—who, if you’ll recall from 1,311 hair-on-fire Trump scandals ago, forced Trump to either go on a feral crusade against our democracy or retreat inside his own neck wattle in abject shame. (As you may recall, Trump opted for the former.)

The question at the time was whether Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo to force favors from his Ukrainian counterpart. It was obvious he had, of course, but Republicans weren’t going to give up on their fantasies that easily. After all, they had a country to ruin, and very little time in which to ruin it.

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According to Bade and Demirjian, Republicans were so unimpressed with Trump’s lawyers—who included legendary law professor and Jeff Epstein pal Alan Dershowitz, who’d argued that Trump could do anything he wanted if he thought it would get him elected—they felt the need, as putative “jurors,” to help out Trump’s defense team.


Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Trump’s team afterward to fire Dershowitz on the spot, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned them to switch tactics.

“Out of one hundred senators, you have zero who believe you that there was no quid pro quo. None. There’s not a single one,” Cruz reportedly said at one point, contradicting what Republicans were saying publicly about the charges at the time.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also fumed at Trump’s legal team after they fumbled responding to a senator’s question about calling new witnesses. Trump’s attorneys said that it was simply too late to do so, a line Graham worried would lose Republican votes.

In fact, after that fumble, Graham reportedly opined, “We are FUCKED. We are FUCKED!” as he walked into the GOP cloakroom.

According to the book, even as Republican senators balked at publicly discussing the hearings, telling the media that they needed to remain neutral as “jurors,” Trump’s incompetent legal team forced them to act in private. So then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell twisted arms, ultimately convincing Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander to vote against hearing further witnesses. Particularly at issue was likely testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who’d claimed in a book of his own that Trump had told him his scheme to withhold military aid from Ukraine was definitely part of a quid pro quo.

So why the reluctance to convict a guy whom they all knew was guilty? Because Republicans weren’t quite done handing out goodies to wealthy donors, stealing Supreme Court seats, or generally terrorizing anyone with a working womb.

“This is not about this president. It’s not about anything he’s been accused of doing,” McConnell reportedly told his charges. “It has always been about Nov. 3, 2020. It’s about flipping the Senate.”

GOP Senate leaders weren’t just involved in fixing the vote, of course. They were also forced to coach the Trump team in the fine art of not looking like overt criminals. 

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The book recounts an episode in which McConnell’s top legal counsel, Andrew Ferguson, wrote out an answer to a question Republicans wanted to ask the Trump team during the trial. It was meant to establish a B.S. line of argument that Bolton’s testimony would be moot.

The group gathered around a laptop to weigh in as Ferguson typed. “Assuming for argument’s sake that John Bolton were to testify in the light most favorable to the allegations…isn’t it true that the allegations still would not rise to the level of an impeachable offense? They agreed to ask. “And that therefore…his testimony would add nothing to this case?”

But the senators were worried. Trump’s lawyers had already proven themselves unreliable, even when lobbed the easiest softball questions. “Is Trump’s team going to answer this the right way?” Graham asked.

“I will go down there and tell them to answer it the right way,” Ferguson vowed.

Way to go, “jury”! You saved this monster from himself! Good thing he didn’t go on to incite any insurrections or steal any top secret nuclear documents or anything. Crisis averted! The republic is saved!

When the history of this era is written, Cruz’s quote needs to be italicized, underlined and, ideally, tattooed on every congressional Republican’s forehead. Because it’s the only quote you need to understand the modern GOP.

In fact, their motto might as well be “Yes, we know better—but fuck you anyway, America!” It would be the first honest sentence we’ve heard out of them in years. We’re so close to Nov. 8, and our chance to expand our razor-thin Senate majority. Can you help us keep McConnell, Cruz, Graham, and their ilk in the minority with a donation of just $3 or more to our Senate slate?

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.