Keeping The Real Speaker In The Loop

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Despite what the Freedom Caucus claimed in its press conference this afternoon, there are a variety of factors behind House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement today that he would direct House committees to open a bogus impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

It must be said early and often: This impeachment inquiry is a fishing expedition. House Republicans have only tossed out evidence-free accusations about the President’s time as vice president and Hunter Biden bait on Fox News to back up their supposed probes.

Talk of impeaching Biden is sure to score House Republicans some MAGA points back home. And McCarthy has his own rationale for opening the inquiry — including hoping it’ll serve as a bone to hardliners who are demanding spending cuts and culture war concessions in exchange for cooperating enough to avoid a shutdown.

But it’s been clear for some time that a lot of this impeachment talk is meant for an audience of one: Donald Trump, the likely winner of the 2024 Republican nomination and the effective head of the Republican Party who is currently facing more legal battles than most can keep straight. House Republicans have been using their slim majority to go on the offense for Trump, for months opening sham investigations into any investigator known to be looking into the former president.

Now that McCarthy has directed House committees to open an inquiry, Politico is reporting that Trump has not exactly been on the sidelines here. The former president has reportedly been in private talks about a Biden impeachment with a few House Republicans, including loyalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), as recently as Sunday. He’s also been talking to House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) today. Per Politico:

The former president has been speaking weekly with House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who was the first member of Republican leadership to come out in support of impeachment. The two spoke Tuesday, after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Republicans would be pursuing the inquiry, according to two people familiar with the conversation. …

On Sunday night, Trump had dinner at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), an ally of Trump and McCarthy. At the gathering, the topic of impeachment was discussed, according to a person familiar with the conversation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should this evening:

After Securing Impeachment From McCarthy, Freedom Caucus Pretends That Wasn’t Part Of Their Demands

McCarthy Caves To Far-Right, Directs House Committees To Open Baseless Impeachment Inquiry Into Biden

New Lawsuit Filed To Disqualify Trump From Minnesota Primary Ballot

Republicans Are Gambling On A 15-Week Compromise

More: The End of the Pro-Life Movement

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Aileen Cannon Is Taking Her Own Sweet Time In The Mar-a-Lago Case — David Kurtz

What We Are Reading

Republicans Prepare Attack on Loudest Anti-Impeachment Voice in Their Party — TNR

Elizabeth Warren Demands Probes of Elon Musk, SpaceX After Ukraine Revelations — Bloomberg

Trump’s Criminal Defense Strategy: Delay, Disrupt, Throw S–t Against the Wall and Hope Something Sticks — Vanity Fair

Latest Where Things Stand
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