Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) says he plans to give Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republicans plenty of space to pursue an impeachment inquiry against President Biden, after saying last month that “impeachment ought to be rare” and “is not good for our country.”
Despite making clear his qualms about pursuing an impeachment inquiry against Biden without what many Senate Republicans would view as compelling evidence, the Senate GOP leader doesn’t want to get mixed up in the political food fight in the House.
“I don’t think Speaker McCarthy needs any advice from the Senate on how to run the House,” McConnell said Tuesday when asked whether he supports McCarthy’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry.
The veteran Republican leader who handled two impeachment trials of former President Trump in 2020 and 2021 said he’s more concerned about other issues at the moment.
“Look, we got our hands full here trying to get through the appropriations process and not have an omnibus, and I don’t have any advice to give to the House. They’ve got a totally different set of challenges than we do,” he said, tacitly referring to the intense political pressure on McCarthy from members of his conference to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.
“So I think the best advice for the Senate is to do our job and see how this plays out later,” he said.
McConnell earlier this summer voiced his concerns about the House lowering the bar for impeachment proceedings, citing the fruitless efforts by the Democratic-controlled House to remove Trump from office.
“I said two years ago, when we had not one but two impeachments, that once we go down this path, it incentivizes the other side to do the same thing,” McConnell told The New York Times.
“Impeachment ought to be rare,” he said. “This is not good for the country.”
Members of McConnell’s leadership team have also voiced skepticism about the House moving ahead with an impeachment inquiry against Biden without what they would view as compelling evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor to warrant removing him from office.
“It really comes to how do you prioritize your time? I don’t know of anybody who believes [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] will take it up and actually have a trial and convict a sitting president,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, told The Hill.
Asked last week if there’s enough evidence to impeach Biden, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), another member of the Senate GOP leadership team, replied: “I do not.”