Mar 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Comer doubles down on shift away from Biden impeachment

Rep. James Comer, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and blue striped tie, speaks to reporters while standing at a microphone in a gray, metallic building.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) is indicating that the "culmination" of his investigation into President Biden will be criminal referrals to lay the groundwork for prosecution by a future Trump Justice Department.

Why it matters: The Oversight Committee chair appears to be abandoning the prospect of impeaching Biden as his Republican colleagues turn against the idea.

  • Comer said in a Newsmax interview last week that he "would vote to impeach Joe Biden right now," but "the best path to accountability is criminal referrals."

Driving the news: In a fundraising email with the subject line "criminal referrals" sent out on Monday, Comer's campaign pointed to the likely demise of Republicans' articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the Senate.

  • "What do you think they would do if we Impeached Biden?" the email asks. "That's why I am preparing criminal referrals as the culmination of my investigation."
  • "When President Trump returns to the White House, it's critical the new leadership at the DOJ have everything they need to prosecute the Biden Crime Family and deliver swift justice," it adds.

The backdrop: Republicans' impeachment inquiry has so far failed to uncover concrete evidence that Biden was directly involved in or profited from his family members' business dealings.

  • The most memorable scenes from a marquee impeachment hearing last week were Democrats repeatedly challenging Republicans to hold an up-or-down vote on impeachment.
  • Some GOP lawmakers believe that, with election day drawing near, the window for impeachment has passed – while others simply say they haven't seen enough evidence to vote for impeachment.

Yes, but: Comer and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are continuing to pursue offshoots of impeachment, most recently threatening to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

  • The two committee chairs are pushing for an audio recording of special counsel Robert Hur's interview with Biden in which the president had repeated memory lapses.
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