Periodically over the last year so, an unsettling number of congressional Republicans have raised the prospect of trying to impeach President Joe Biden if the GOP takes back control of Congress. As regular readers may recall, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas went so far as to suggest that such a move is actually likely if his party controls the House next year.
But it’s not just the president, there’s also his cabinet to consider.
On Fox News this week, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan — positioned to chair the House Judiciary Committee in the event of a GOP takeover of the chamber — was asked whether impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland is on the table. The Ohio congressman replied:
“Yes. Everything will be on the table. I want to stress: everything…. Of course it should be on the table.”
A day later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — the would-be House Speaker — also appeared on Fox News and said investigating the attorney general would be part of the Republican agenda in the next Congress.
All of this comes on the heels of reports that House Republicans are “laying the groundwork“ to push for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Referring to Mayorkas, McCarthy said in the spring, “This is his moment in time to do his job. But at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody.”
This is not to be confused with the already pending resolution, introduced by Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, to impeach Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (The resolution has 14 co-sponsors.)
There’s also, of course, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s resolution to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris.
At this point, I suspect none of these officials probably is overly concerned with their professional prospects. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that Republicans will take back the House. For another, even if Garland, Mayorkas, and/or others were eventually impeached as part of some kind of partisan stunt, it’s difficult to imagine the idea of 67 senators voting to remove them from office.
But when thinking about what a GOP majority might do with power handed to them by voters, it’s worth adding impeachment schemes to the list.
Postscript: For those wondering about the historical precedent, only one cabinet secretary has ever been impeached. In 1876, Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached — after leaving office — over alleged bribes. He was later acquitted by the Senate.