Republicans could face significant pressure to impeach Joe Biden should they win back a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, California congressman Devin Nunes has warned.
Speaking to Fox News anchor Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, the Donald Trump loyalist suggested the GOP’s right-wing fringe could use any newfound power in Congress to push for a revenge impeachment against President Biden after his predecessor became the first commander-in-chief in American history to be impeached twice by the House.
“Republicans have a good chance of taking the House in 2022,” Mr Nunes said. “Now, if that happens, and let’s – for example, we don’t know what’s gonna happen to Hunter Biden’s laptop. We don’t know what’s gonna happen with the [John] Durham investigation [into the origins of the Russia inquiry]. But I could see the pressure would become great for us to actually have to impeach Biden.”
“Now look, I don't want to do that, but you're going to have people that are going to be saying that,” he added.
His allusion to the computer owned by the president’s son refers to a pre-election story popular among Trump supporters concerning the device being handed over by the owner of a Delaware repair shop to prominent Republican lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
He then passed it on to The New York Post tabloid newspaper – owned, like Fox News, by Rupert Murdoch – which claimed it contained emails in which Hunter Biden touted access to his father among overseas clients. During his campaign, Mr Biden said: "I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period."
Mr Biden Jr also played a pivotal role in Mr Trump’s first impeachment, which was sparked when the then-president was recorded in July 2019 asking Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to open an embarrassing anti-corruption probe into his rival’s son’s time on the board of local gas company Burisma.
Mr Trump claimed that Mr Biden, during his time as vice president, had been involved in firing a prosector because he was investigating Burisma. However, Mr Biden said the prosecutor was fired over corruption, and there has been no evidence proving Mr Biden acted improperly.
"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague, have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official US policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing," said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Mr Biden, told the BBC in December.
Mr Nunes, currently the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and best known for suing Twitter for refusing to block parody accounts making fun of his background as a dairy farmer, also speculated that Democrats who had been outspoken in their condemnation of President Trump, like impeachment managers, could be stripped of their committee assignments as part of a future political revenge spree.
“Every one of those damn guys could be removed from their committee in two years,” he said. “That’s where we’re headed if the American people don’t stand up to this nonsense.”
The House is currently finely balanced, with 218 seats out of 435 needed to command a majority and the Democrats currently holding just 221, meaning there will indeed be much to play for in 2022.
Mr Nunes previously appeared on the same Fox programme on 13 January to denounce the decision by the House to impeach Mr Trump for an unprecedented second time, a vote that passed 232-197.
“Look, the president makes a lot of mistakes,” he told Mr Hannity then. “All presidents make mistakes, but the bottom line is to do a snap impeachment has real consequences.”
Joe Biden has actually already been the subject of one retaliatory impeachment effort, with former QAnon believer and Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene introducing articles of impeachment against him on his first day in the White House.
It was swiftly dismissed.
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