McCarthy can’t keep his circus together: High jinx from House Republicans undermine GOP power

McCarthy can’t keep his circus together: High jinx from House Republicans undermine GOP power

It’s been an eventful time in both national and international politics, what with the attempted Russian coup, the details of which are still not fully understood, and another Supreme Court decision destroying decades of precedent. The weather is insanely hot in parts of the country and so is the presidential primary with candidates trading insults over their weight and vowing to invade Mexico and God only knows where else. It’s hard to keep up.

But it’s important to keep at least one eye on what’s going on in the U.S. House of Representatives because it’s even crazier than we anticipated. It’s very lucky that the Democrats managed to hold on to the Senate in the last election and that President Joe Biden is in the White House right now because I shudder to think of what would become of this country if these people had a monopoly on power. They have completely gone off the deep end.

First of all, there is the overwhelming obsession with the five years long Hunter Biden investigation, an obsession that has only accelerated with the announcement of his guilty plea to misdemeanor failure to pay taxes on time and a felony charge of lying on an application for a gun purchase. The fact that he was given probation instead of being immediately marched off to solitary confinement has resulted in shrill remonstrations from House Republicans about “sweetheart deals” and “preferential treatment,” buttressed by an alleged IRS whistleblower who claims that the upper reaches of the Justice Department interfered in the case. This is disputed, however, by Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who ran the case, as well as by the attorney general — both have said that Weiss had the ultimate authority to dispose of the case however he saw fit.

This is typical of any investigation run by Republicans. They always turn up a “whistleblower” who almost always later turns out to have had an agenda. (To those of you who are old enough to remember, here’s a name for you: Notra Trulock.) I would expect there will be more of them as the investigations crank up.

The question is why McCarthy is suddenly so gung ho when just last October he said, “I think the country doesn’t like impeachment used for political purposes at all.”

Weiss and Garland have been called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee chaired by the fair and balanced Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan which should be quite the spectacle. But perhaps the most astonishing consequence of this little contretemps is the fact that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appears to be seriously endorsing a possible impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland over this alleged interference. On Sunday he tweeted:

We need to get to the facts, and that includes reconciling these clear disparities. U.S. Attorney David Weiss must provide answers to the House Judiciary Committee. If the whistleblowers’ allegations are true, this will be a significant part of a larger impeachment inquiry into Merrick Garland’s weaponization of DOJ.

He repeated the same thing again on Monday and reportedly Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been strategizing with him about it and expects it to happen. McCarthy can’t stop talking about it:

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

Keep in mind that this latest threat comes on the heels of the House’s kookiest impeachment-related action yet: a proposal by Greene and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to “expunge” Trump’s two impeachments. (I’m not sure how they expect to “expunge” it from the internet, the newspapers and the minds of everyone who knows it happened but maybe “Q” or RFK Jr. have some ideas.) Stefanik issued a statement saying, “It is past time to expunge Democrats’ sham smear against not only President Trump’s name, but against millions of patriots across the country.” McCarthy signed on to that as well.

At the same time as all of this was going on, the Freedom Caucus debated whether to kick Marjorie Taylor Greene out of their group.

Meanwhile, a week or so ago we had “LittleBitchgate” when Greene and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert went at it on the floor over Boebert’s move to force a vote to impeach President Biden on the floor before Greene had a chance to do it. This didn’t go over well with the leadership which seems to want to impeach a few Cabinet members before they get to the president so it was referred to committees until the time is ripe.

The question is why McCarthy is suddenly so gung ho when just last October he said, “I think the country doesn’t like impeachment used for political purposes at all.” It seems to be related to his sudden loss of control a couple of weeks ago when the Freedom Caucus, smarting from the bipartisan debt ceiling bill negotiated by McCarthy, decided to block all legislation resulting in a so-called “power-sharing” agreement with the speaker. As with the secret backroom deals he made with them in order to get the gavel last January, nobody knows exactly what the terms were this time either but it sure looks as though impeachment was on the menu.

At the same time as all of this was going on, the Freedom Caucus debated whether to kick Greene out of their group! Axios reported that two sources said there were complaints about her “unprofessional” behavior among “other things” that were not shared. Evidently, they decided to table the issue for the time being, probably because they were on a natural high from censuring California Democrat Adam Schiff for saying that Trump colluded with Russia (which is true.) 

And then there’s House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer who spends day and night doing hits on Fox News. He’s still chasing down the stale Burisma scandal, which continues to lead nowhere but he’s blowing so much smoke that he’s giving the Canadian wildfires a run for their money. His latest helping of hype is that they now believe Biden and his family may have accepted in excess of $40 million from foreigners in exchange for policy favors. No, he cannot show the money nor does he know which policies they are, but he’s working on it:

The Trumpers are getting restless:

It’s all performative Steve? Say it ain’t so!

This is just a partial rundown of the looney tunes behavior going on day after day in the House of Representatives under Speaker McCarthy. Aside from all the other preposterous maneuvers he’s endorsing,he won the week’s Profile in Courage award for the 18th week in a row when he stuck his neck out and said to a reporter that he wasn’t sure if Donald Trump would be the strongest candidate in the general election in 2024 and then immediately groveled like a beaten dog, begging for forgiveness from Dear Leader for uttering the unthinkable.

This is the person who is second in line to the presidency. We must all fervently hope that both President Biden and Vice President Harris remain in good health and stay safe so McCarthy can stay where he is and keep doing the work of the Freedom Caucus and Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Read more

about House Republicans’ high jinx