Republican witch hunt for why impeaching Biden is bad for America

The Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ explore the critical issues facing our democracy. The series is in partnership with the Center for Effective Government at the University of Chicago.

Not a day goes by in the Cook County courts without lawyers on one side accusing lawyers on the other of going on a “fishing expedition.”

By this they mean that opposing attorneys have such a weak case that they demand that all kinds of evidence be turned over to them so they can examine it and possibly get involved in something that appears criminal or at least embarrassing.

Any competent judge would say no to that.

But in Congress, some House Republicans want to go on a fishing expedition of unprecedented proportions by impeaching President Joe Biden. They do not pretend to have evidence to justify such a step. Instead, said US Rep. Nancy Mays, R.S.C. “This is the goal of the investigation… to get more evidence,” he said.

Let’s see if we have this right. So far, Republican investigations have turned up nothing but baseless allegations made by people like U.S. Reps. James Comer, R-Ky., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-R. Iowa.

This means, in their view, that the next logical step is an impeachment inquiry to see if that is useful.

On Tuesday, Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy fell for the idea. McCarthy said he ordered the US House of Representatives to open an investigation to hold Biden accountable. McCarthy, whose hold on the speakership was tenuous, has been under pressure from right-wing extremists in his caucus to do so, although he does not appear to have the votes at the moment to pass articles of impeachment.

Former President Donald Trump was urging Republicans in the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Biden. He wrote on his social network earlier this summer, in part: “Either attack the bum, or fade into oblivion. They did this to us!”

Trump clearly wants to impeach Biden to reduce the stigma of the two impeachments. But impeachment without evidence could do far-reaching damage to the federal government. If Biden is impeached, even if he is not convicted in the Senate, impeaching political rivals is a big step closer to being seen as a partisan rebuke, rather than what should remain in the public eye: a serious condemnation of the president’s actions. .

Just as Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into Biden without any reason to believe it would reach any conclusion, Trump does not care if the House impeachment effort turns up any evidence. He goes straight for a made-up story with which he can entertain his supporters and criticize Biden, even if in the end he tells little more than another fishing tale: “You should have seen the big one that got away.”

More politics, rather than avoiding a government shutdown

To see the trend in how the GOP’s far-right bipartisanship views impeachment, just look to Wisconsin, where some Republicans are talking about impeaching newly elected, Democratic-backed Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasevich, for what appears to be no better reason than their own. . They do not want to lose control of the state’s political district mapping in their favour. Furthermore, the Republican-controlled state Senate voted on Thursday to fire Wisconsin’s top elections official, who has been the target of conspiracy theories and threats from people who falsely accused her of being part of a plan to rig the state’s 2020 election. The official, Megan Wolf, filed suit Judiciary to retain her job.

The Constitution stipulates that the president may be impeached only for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But so far, no matter how far Republicans have cast their nets, they have gotten nothing more than the semantic equivalent of discarded plastic bottles and other explosive weapons.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors accused Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, of purchasing a gun in 2018 while lying about his drug use. But this is the son, who holds no federal office, and not the president. It does not constitute a reason for accountability.

We hope Congress is busy considering how to avoid a government shutdown and how to address critical issues that Americans consider important. This would be a much better use of its members’ time than something that would likely end up – excuse the cross-lingual pun – The end of the disaster.

For all its flaws and broken promises, American democracy has been a source of hope for people in many other countries, who dream of a future where individual rights become the norm everywhere.

Partisans who treat the institutions and practices of US government with blatant contempt create a troubling – and dangerous – setback to those aspirations.

This editorial is part of “Democratic Solutions Project” A partnership between the Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ and the University of Chicago Center for Effective Government. Together we examine the critical issues facing our democracy in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

The Sun-Times welcomes letters to the editor and opinion pieces. See our guidelinesaccord.

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