Over at MSNBC, Steve Benen contends that Republicans, poised to take back the House next year, keep promising to impeach Joe Biden but “haven’t quite worked out” why. As a big fan of impeachments and congressional investigations, I may have some helpful ideas.
In his conduct while president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has shown a habitual contempt for the rule of law, on numerous occasions willfully violating his constitutional oath by corrupting and manipulating the power of the executive branch.
Take the eviction moratorium. The Supreme Court explicitly ruled that the plan “exceeded … existing statutory authority.” Biden even conceded that the “bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.” And yet, knowing all this, the president decreed it so, openly ignoring the Constitution, admitting to cynically exploiting the slow pace of judicial branch rulings “to keep this going for a month, at least — I hope longer.”
Biden again knowingly subverted the will of Congress when he transferred loan payments for millions of affluent students to taxpayers in hopes of affecting the 2022 midterms. The president does not possess the statutory power to “forgive” or “cancel” loans. Just ask congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi, who correctly noted that “[p]eople think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness — he does not.” He did it anyway. Unilaterally. The president used the emergency powers found in the HEROES Act, passed after 9/11 to help U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, to justify his decree. We know that Biden cynically exploited the bill, because, by his own recent admission on “60 Minutes,” he concedes there is no emergency.
Let’s hope that Republicans don’t limit themselves to a presidential impeachment, either. There might be numerous reasons to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland, but none deserves more scrutiny than his role in chilling dissent by intimidating parents who opposed critical race theory and Covid mask mandates.
In October 2021 the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting the FBI investigate school board protests, offering a handful of alleged acts of criminality as justification to treat millions of parents as potential “domestic terrorism” threats. The letter uses this phrase (twice) to provide the administration with the justification to trigger a PATRIOT Act investigation. Then again, all of it was coordinated. We learned later, through a FOIA request, that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona had likely solicited and helped with the verbiage of the letter. Garland, who regularly ignores violence and threats directed at conservatives, acquiesced and directed the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices to investigate parents.
The NSBA later apologized. The Biden administration, which regularly libels millions of political opponents as would-be violent extremists, never did.
Not every investigation leads to impeachment, sadly. But that doesn’t mean the GOP shouldn’t scrutinize whether the president benefited financially from his brother’s and son Hunter’s leveraging of the family name and the United States government to extract millions from Chinese and Ukrainian energy concerns—for which there is plenty of circumstantial evidence. We already know Biden lied about the extent of his knowledge regarding Hunter’s “work.” And, in a functioning democracy, it is imperative we know everything about the president’s finances.
While they’re at it, it would also be nice if we could learn more about the chaotic and inept Afghanistan pullout that left 13 service members dead and thousands of Americans stranded in theocratistan. Did Biden dismiss intelligence reports warning about a swift collapse of our Afghan allies for political considerations? Why did the administration mislead the public about the number of citizens and green-card holders who were stranded? We have yet to hear a coherent explanation for why the administration handed a list of allied names to the Taliban. Nor do we know the story behind that face-saving drone strike that ended up killing 10 innocent Afghans, seven of them children. Let’s find out.
Maybe they could also get to the bottom of the FBI’s role in limiting speech on social media platforms during the 2020 election. The White House, after all, has proven to be quite comfortable attempting to dictate speech. In July 2021, the White House admitted it was “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” The White House not-so-subtly threatened social media platforms to suppress certain political opinions and stories. Under what constitutional power does the president get to dictate what should be considered mis- or dis-information? And under what power does Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas get to create an Orwellian “Disinformation Governance Board?” How pervasive is the law enforcement agency’s contact with media companies?
If you, like me, believe in the unencumbered free-association rights of everyone, including tech companies, you must be really curious why these corporations, which drop tens of millions every year in lobbying for favorable regulations, allow the state to dictate speech codes. Then again, all of this sounds semi-fascist-y. I’m unsure how impeachment plays in the polls. But, for the survival of democracy, we need to get to the bottom of all of it.