Feb 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House Republicans see Biden impeachment slipping out of reach

President Joe Biden, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red and blue tie, puts on aviator sunglasses while outside.

President Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

House Republicans are staring down increasingly bleak prospects of their investigations into President Biden resulting in an actual impeachment vote.

Why it matters: It's a blow to what Republicans had hoped would be the culmination of more than a year of digging into Biden and his family.

What we're hearing: "I don't see it going anywhere substantive," said one House Republican, adding that there "aren't close to enough" GOP votes to impeach Biden.

  • There are "easily 40-50" Republicans who would likely vote against impeachment, the lawmaker said.
  • "I don't think it'll go to the floor. There are too many Republicans who will tell the speaker it won't pass," said another House Republican.
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios the inquiry is "helpful," but has "not shown that a specific law was violated by the President as of yet."

Zoom in: Senior staffers working on impeachment briefed the Republican Main Street Caucus several weeks ago, according to two lawmakers present.

  • One of the lawmakers described the reaction from the pragmatist group as "healthy skepticism" about "both the legitimacy of high crimes and misdemeanors by the president and politics of impeachment."

The latest: Republicans' impeachment inquiry took a major hit last week after the indictment of Alexander Smirnov, whose explosive allegations about Biden and his son Hunter played a prominent role in the probe.

  • The FBI informant has admitted that Russian intelligence was involved in his claims, according to the Justice Department.
  • Republicans have also struggled to tie Biden to his family members' business dealings, with witnesses routinely disputing any links.

What they're saying: Even staunch impeachment supporters are pessimistic. "Would we have the will to do it? I doubt it. I doubt it would get through the House," Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told Axios.

  • "Look at the effort it took to get Mayorkas impeached," Nehls said. "You're going to probably see the same three or four that voted against Mayorkas ... and I think you'll even have more Republicans rejecting it."
  • Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told Axios a lot of his colleagues "don't want to be put in a tough position," and said retiring Republicans can ignore pressure from the base and have the "courage to vote however they feel."

Between the lines: Nehls argued that Republicans should embrace impeachment as a 2024 campaign weapon for former President Trump.

  • "You know what Joe Biden's going to do ... [he'll say], 'Well Donald Trump you've been impeached twice,'" he said. "But Donald Trump could look back at him and say, 'Well, Joe, you've been impeached also.'"

What's next: The investigation is still chugging along, with the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees scheduled for a long-awaited deposition of Hunter Biden on Tuesday morning.

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