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Kevin McCarthy denies he made any deal with Trump to try to expunge his impeachments

Former president is only occupant of the White House to be impeached twice

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 20 July 2023 22:56 BST
Trump insists Jan 6 indictment doesn’t ‘frighten’ him

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy insisted this week that he had not made a deal with former President Donald Trump over the issue of expunging the latter’s two impeachments.

The Speaker was asked about the issue by reporters in his daily press gaggle on Thursday, according to Politico, as the chamber considers bills brought by a coalition between Rep Elise Stefanik, a member of leadership, and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene — a far-right bomb-thrower recently expelled from the House Freedom Caucus for cozying up to the Speaker’s team too aggressively.

Mr McCarthy directly denied that he had an agreement or understanding with the former president for the passage of bills expunging the two votes by the Democratic-controlled House in 2020 and 2021 to impeach him, and added that he had no timeline for when those votes would occur: “The process, whatever we do, goes through committee, like anything else.”

It suggested that Mr McCarthy, while personally a supporter of the expungement votes, is not driving his caucus to support the legislation, which is considered politically tough for some members in purple or blue-trending districts.

The Speaker’s relationship with the former president is constantly scrutinised thanks to the single-digit advantage Republicans have over Democrats in total seats in the chamber, as well as the unruly nature of the GOP caucus and the opposition he has faced from his party’s right wing, which through hurdle after hurdle in his way during leadership election in January and have threatened to rebel ever since.

Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy at Mar-a-Lago (Save America)

Mr Trump is largely considered to have the Republican caucus of the lower chamber of Congress in his grip, while Republican leaders in the Senate aligned with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have earned his frustration by remaining fair-weather friends and in some cases overt opponents.

It remains unclear if Republicans will find the votes in the House to pass the legislation expunging Mr Trump’s two impeachments. While some of the party’s messaging resolutions and doomed legislation has picked up a handful of Democrat defectors, this issue is not expected to build any such bridges.

The former president was first impeached in 2020 after it was revealed that he and his allies, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had sought to convince the president of Ukraine to order prosecutors in his country to launch a politically-damaging criminal investigation of Joe Biden during the presidential campaign, then in the primary stage.

He was impeached by the chamber once again in 2021 following the attack on the US Capitol; both efforts ended with Mr Trump’s acquittal by a Republican-controlled Senate.

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