House Republicans are launching a baseless impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden for a few reasons: to distract Biden and make him less effective, and to create the public impression of corruption as a 2024 election strategy. And never discount the Republican urge to suck up to former President Donald Trump.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had dinner with Trump on Sunday, The New York Times reports. Greene said that at that dinner, “I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment.” Specifically, she told Trump she wanted the impeachment inquiry to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden.” Gosh, what a commitment to going where the evidence leads and finding the truth.

She would not say what Mr. Trump said in response, but she said her ultimate goal was to have a “long list of names” — people whom she claimed were co-conspirators involved in Biden family crimes. She said she was confident Mr. Trump would win back the White House in 2024 and that she wanted “to go after every single one of them and use the Department of Justice to prosecute them.”

So Republicans are launching an impeachment inquiry without a House vote on doing so, something Speaker Kevin McCarthy had in the past repeatedly insisted was a requirement for such an inquiry. And one of McCarthy’s close allies is openly saying the point of the proceeding is to make the process “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden” and to lead to a “long list of names” to tee up for future prosecution by a Trump Justice Department.

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Sounds above board. Very legal and very cool. 

Greene isn’t the only House Republican talking to Trump about impeaching Biden. Trump has had regular conversations on the subject with members of the Freedom Caucus and other impeachment enthusiasts, the Times reports, although “[a] person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking said that despite his eagerness to see an inquiry move forward, the former president has not been twisting Mr. McCarthy’s arm.” Instead, Trump has been pushing hardest to get his own impeachments expunged.

Greene, though, is a close ally of McCarthy’s. It’s not a stretch to suspect that he’s been hearing about impeachment from her. And Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, has reportedly had weekly calls with Trump, including one on Tuesday shortly after McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry. Even if McCarthy isn’t personally on the phone with Trump or across the dinner table from him at Bedminster, trying to appease him, people close to McCarthy are.

House Republicans have worked throughout 2023 to turn up any kind of impeachment-worthy evidence against Biden, and they’ve failed to do so. Finding that evidence was Plan A. Now they’re turning to Plan B, which is to pretend they did find the evidence and go ahead with an impeachment inquiry, seeking to persuade the public that their lies about finding proof of Biden corruption are true, to cause “excruciating” pain to the president for their own political gain, and to get revenge for Trump’s two impeachments and dozens of criminal charges. They’re yelling lies about Biden’s alleged corruption, while they’re engaged in a completely corrupt abuse of power themselves. And the thing is when that comes from the Republican Party, no one is surprised.

Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.

Laura Clawson

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