GOP Senator Says Biden Actions Before He Became President Are Not Impeachable

GOP Senator Says Biden Actions Before He Became President Are Not Impeachable


Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) speaks about impeachment effort.

A Republican senator said Dec. 15 that President Joe Biden cannot be impeached for actions he took while he was vice president.

GOP senators have communicated to colleagues in the House of Representatives, “give us an airtight case,” Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), a former congressman, said during an appearance on Newsmax.

“We don’t want to play politics with impeaching a president like the Democrats did with Trump. So if they send us a case, make sure it’s convictable. And the bar’s real high, there’s no question about it, it’s got to be a misdemeanor, high crime, or treason, and the other part, it has to be committed while he was in office, the current office he holds,” he added.

In an impeachment, the House can charge a president or another federal officer for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” the U.S. Constitution states.

If the House approves one or more charges, then the Senate decides whether to convict or acquit the charged official after holding a trial.

Former President Donald Trump was impeached twice but was acquitted both times by the Senate.

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Impeachment requires simply a majority, and Republicans have a narrow majority in the House. Conviction requires a supermajority. Democrats hold 51 Senate seats at present.

Mr. Mullin’s position isn’t unique regarding crimes committed before an official takes office.

Evan Davis, who worked for the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry when the House was investigating President Richard Nixon, said that impeachment has to be for offenses committed while in office as president.

“After detailed study, we concluded that ‘because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.’ What does that then preclude?” he wrote in an op-ed. “First, it requires that a president be impeached only for offenses committed while serving as president. There can be no violation of the constitutional duties of the presidential office until one becomes president.”

The House this week approved an impeachment inquiry into President Biden that had previously been launched without a vote.

“Our impeachment inquiry will continue to follow the facts and hold President Biden accountable for his lies, corruption, and obstruction,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who is helping lead the probe, said in a statement.

He noted that evidence uncovered so far has undermined some of President Biden’s claim, including that he did not speak with his son’s business associates.

A former associate of Hunter Biden told the panel that President Biden dined multiple times with associates, including Russians, and called into other meetings.

Republicans have largely focused on the actions of the Bidens from 2009 to 2017, when President Biden was vice president, and from 2018 to 2020, when President Biden was out of office.

President Biden in a statement called the inquiry a “baseless political stunt” that “is not supported by facts.”

Mr. Mullin said that if the Senate is presented with an impeachable offense, then senators should convict President Biden.

“If it’s an impeachable offense … then we absolutely should convict him regardless of the politics behind it,” he said.

Mr. Mullin said he’s spoken with some Democrat colleagues and that five moderate Democrats, whom he declined to identify, would “definitely be looking to convict” if the case were strong.

Publicly, Democratic senators have criticized Republicans for investigating President Biden.

“We have urgent priorities that need to be addressed before the end of the year, but what are MAGA House Republicans doing?” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Continuing to ram their sham impeachment through the House.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), after the Senate passed a defense bill, wrote: “While the Senate is strengthening American national security, House Republicans are wasting time on a clown-car impeachment inquiry that will go nowhere.”

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