Republicans in the House are debating about whether they should focus their impeachment efforts toward a top Biden administration official rather than on President Joe Biden himself.
After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested that an inquiry be conducted into Attorney General Merrick Garland – which took many House GOPers by surprise – the delegation is now discussing whether to move forward with impeachment efforts against him.
Much of the talk about impeachments from the Republican-led House have focused on either Biden himself or on Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Through all this talk, McCarthy has urged his caucus to be patient and to move deliberately.
However, he has displayed a different kind of vigor when talking about Garland. The attorney general is the frequent target of Republican vitriol, but his name often doesn’t come up when talking about which officials to try to impeach.
The topic of Garland’s potential impeachment first arose last month when McCarthy tweeted his support for an IRS whistleblower who has said that there has been much mismanagement of the investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
McCarthy wrote that the whistleblower’s testimony could end up being “a significant part of a larger impeachment inquiry.”
Some Republican members of the House, though, have questioned whether they have a solid legal case for bringing impeachment charges against Garland. Others believe that some of the other secretaries in the Biden administration Cabinet should be investigated for possible impeachment first.
Representative Darrell Issa from California, for example, said he didn’t “know of a chargeable crime” against Garland.
He added that the president is the one who’s responsible for removing any official who isn’t following orders or isn’t carrying out their duties properly. Congress only steps in, he said, if a president doesn’t act properly to remove an official who has committed a crime.
Issa was asked recently about Freedom Caucus members who have said they want to try to impeach Cabinet officials, something that is rarely done. He responded:
“It’s very, very popular with people in the hinterlands. But, the reality is that if someone is faithfully executing the desires and orders of the president of the United States, then they’re within the bounds of what Cabinet officers do.
“If they’re not faithfully executing the request of the president, then we don’t have to impeach him because they serve at the pleasure of the president.”
During this Congress alone, dozens of impeachment resolutions have already been filed by Republican members of the House. The authors of some of those resolutions have wondered aloud why McCarthy is focusing his efforts on Garland instead of other people who they have suggested impeaching.
Representative Andy Harris from Maryland explained:
“I was one of the original co-sponsors of the Secretary Blinken impeachment. We ought to take that up first for the incredibly, horribly done withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
But, McCarthy’s ire is focused directly on Garland. He wrote an op-ed for Fox News last week that read:
“When a prosecutor shields his boss’s son from investigators, it smells like a cover-up. Garland’s DOJ did not aggressively follow the money. Why? Are they afraid where that trail ends?
“Clearly, someone is not telling the truth, and Congress has a duty to get answers.”