During the August congressional recess, the Biden administration bolstered its defense strategy in preparation for what appears to be an inevitable impeachment drive by the Republican-controlled House.
In the past few months, President Joe Biden has reportedly assembled 24 “lawyers, legislative aides, and communications staffers” to defend him in the event of a formal impeachment inquiry, according to an exclusive report from NBC News purportedly based on the statements of eight unidentified sources.
According to NBC, the administration’s planned strategy is “aggressive” and “vigorous,” and the team has spent the last month analyzing past statements from Republicans in order to create messaging demonstrating that any impeachment process would be a “sham.”
Nevertheless, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Sunday that impeachment was “a natural step forward” based on what House Republicans had learned up to that point.
“Only because Republicans took the majority have we found out what President Biden told us when he was running for office is not true,” McCarthy said, according to a transcript from Fox News. “He said he never had any dealings with his son’s business and that he never even talked to them. We’ve now found out that not only did he call in to the meetings, he went to dinner. And after the dinner, Hunter Biden got a new Porsche that there was $3.5 million transferred. We now found out as he was a sitting vice president, the family created 20 shell companies. They received 16 of 17 payments from Romania while he was vice president. We now found that the money would flow to nine family members.”
“We also have a DOJ that gave us tried to give a sweetheart deal to Hunter Biden, and the judge said no,” McCarthy added. “So if you look at all the information we’ve been able to gather so far, it is a natural step forward that you would have to go to an impeachment inquiry.”
The speaker said the Biden family had to answer to the American people for what “looks like a culture of corruption.”
White House staffers, needless to say, disagreed.
“Comparing this to past impeachments isn’t apples to apples or even apples to oranges; it’s apples to elephants,” one White House aide told NBC. “Never in modern history has an impeachment been based on no evidence whatsoever.”
According to a source characterized by NBC as “familiar” with the administration’s defense strategy, the team investigated former President Bill Clinton’s defense in 1998, when the Republican-controlled House impeached him.
During the impeachment process, Republicans lost five seats in the November 1998 House elections and two more seats in the 2000 elections (perhaps not surprisingly, as Texas Governor George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore by a narrow margin).
During the impeachment proceedings that occurred while both Clinton and former President Donald Trump were in office, their approval ratings increased significantly.
Biden presumably expects Republicans to pay a similar political price if they proceed with impeachment this time.
This issue is by no means resolved. A number of Republicans, notably those from districts that Biden won in 2020, have voiced skepticism regarding the suitability of impeachment.