WASHINGTON – The era of perpetual presidential impeachment is probably upon us.

Six months after the conclusion of the last impeachment, Republicans have begun calling for President Biden to be removed from office over his handling of the evacuation of Americans and allies from Kabul.

“If we leave one American behind, if we don’t get all those Afghans who stepped up to the plate to help us out, then Joe Biden, in my view, has committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution and should be impeached,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Friday on Fox News.

On Monday, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership, called for Biden’s ousting amid the evacuation chaos at Kabul’s airport. “Joe Biden is unfit to serve as President of the United States of America,” Stefanik wrote on Twitter, a phrase she has reiterated several times since.

Add those comments to the sentiment from GOP provocateurs who draw outsize attention on conservative news, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who announced Thursday night that she would introduce articles of impeachment related to Afghanistan.

It’s now increasingly clear: If Republicans win the House majority, Biden is very likely to be impeached.

He would be the third of the last five presidents to be impeached, after just one of the first 41 commanders in chief, Andrew Johnson, faced an impeachment trial in the Senate in 1868.

Mature analysts in both parties will call that outlandish to predict at this point, barely seven months into a presidency that, as of a few weeks ago, remained fairly popular.

As chaotic as things seem in Afghanistan, the U.S. coalition there has not lost an ambassador, as happened in Libya during a 2012 siege that also cost three other American lives. Nor has there been a months-long hostage siege at the U.S. Embassy, as occurred in Tehran in 1979.

Neither of those crises prompted the impeachment of Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter, respectively. And even if they face a drubbing during the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats will maintain a healthy enough minority to easily to assure Biden’s acquittal in the Senate, making a House-led impeachment mostly symbolic.

But today’s Congress operates on warp speed compared with even a decade ago, with congressional leaders often unable to resist demands from their ideological bases.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spent the first eight months of 2019 defiantly opposed to impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, lecturing fellow Democrats that they needed strong public support that could compel the Senate to convict before she would support the move.

Pelosi feared that a partisan impeachment with a partisan acquittal in the Senate would weaken the constitutional check against a president to something resembling a censure resolution.

“People think all you do: Vote to impeach, bye-bye, birdie. It isn’t that – it’s an indictment. So you need the best possible indictment,” she told reporters in June 2019.

When she first became speaker, in 2007, she resisted calls to impeach President George W. Bush when liberals wanted to hold him accountable for taking the nation into the Iraq War under the false pretense that the Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction.

“I didn’t believe in it then, I don’t believe in it now. It divides the country, unless there’s some conclusive evidence that takes us to that place,” Pelosi told reporters in March 2019.

Less than two years later, Pelosi had presided over two impeachments of Trump, the first for his pressure campaign against Ukraine officials to investigate Biden’s family and the second focused on whether the president incited the rioters that stormed the Capitol Jan. 6 trying to block certification of Biden’s victory.

Both Senate trials ended with an acquittal, although seven Senate Republicans joined 50 Democrats in the Feb. 13 vote for the most bipartisan vote ever against a president, falling 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority required to win a conviction.

Most Senate Republicans said they opposed the second Trump impeachment because he had already left office. And they also warned that, once back in power, they would return the favor.

“If it is a good idea to impeach and try former Presidents, what about former Democratic Presidents when Republicans get the majority in 2022? Think about it,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in late January.

But some Republicans have already begun to call for the impeachment of Biden.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, reminded an interviewer Thursday that he has already called for the impeachment of Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for the surge of undocumented immigrants across the southern border.

“I’ve already said that they should be impeached for their lack of ability to secure the border, and now, because of their complete incompetence, their willful disregard for enforcing what we should be doing in Afghanistan,” Roy said on Newsmax.

Taylor Greene and Roy are both allies of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who stands to become House Judiciary Committee chairman if Republicans win the majority.

Jordan has been careful not to call for impeachment, but he has blasted the president repeatedly on Afghanistan and his handling of the border.

A former political adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made the case that Trump’s first impeachment provides grounds for Republicans to move against Biden.

“The trouble with Dems lowering the bar when impeaching Trump over Ukraine is that Biden has certainly now tripped over it himself. Same elements at play,” Scott Jennings wrote Thursday in a long Twitter thread. Jennings served in George W. Bush’s White House, and is now a commentator on CNN.

With that rationale, the question might be when, not if, Jordan launches impeachment proceedings if Republicans take over in January 2023.

That would be the third impeachment proceeding in less than four years – matching the total number of impeachments in the previous 243.

Those first two had consequence: Johnson survived the Senate trial but was politically weakened and lost his party’s nomination a few months later, and Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, before the full House voted on three articles of impeachment against him.

But Bill Clinton fought his impeachment to a 50-50 draw in the Senate and left office in January 2001 one of the most popular presidents of modern times.

By the time the Senate acquitted him in February 2020, Trump saw his highest approval ratings of his one term, only to lose support for his handling of the pandemic crisis.

While his presidency ended at his lowest popularity levels following the insurrection, Trump’s hold on Republican voters remains strong. He is the clear favorite to win the 2024 nomination should he run again, despite being doubly impeached.

Based on that recent evidence, it seems clear that, as a congressional tool, impeachment grows less powerful the more often it’s deployed against a president.

Yet some Republicans are ready to jump go straight down that path.

“Joe needs to go if he does this,” Graham said Friday.


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