McCarthy said in a news conference on January 12 that he could “understand why members would want to bring that forward.”
What Are Those House Republicans Up to Now?
This is not the first time that House GOP members have considered an expungement mechanism to erase Trump’s impeachment past.
Clear Trump’s Impeachment Record
Mullin and a smaller number of GOP lawmakers also brought legislation that would clear the record of Trump’s first impeachment regarding Ukraine and efforts to look into the business activities of Joe Biden while holding back military aid to Kyiv.
Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstructing Congress in that trial in the Senate. The upper chamber failed to remove him.
What Is in the Text of the Measures?
The resolution airs various grievances about the second impeachment such as claiming the president told supporters in the Stop the Steal rally to march over to the Capitol and “peacefully” make your voice heard.
The resolution also claims that Trump did not get due process. The language regarding the first impeachment said the evidence against Donald Trump was “vague innuendo, opinion, and hearsay.” The resolution also said that the impeachment articles did not meet the burden of “clear and convincing evidence.”
Difficult If Not Impossible Path for Full Passage
Since this is a new Congress, Mullin and other legislators would have to re-introduce both resolutions. McCarthy has said he would “look at it.”
This would need all Republicans in the conference to be on board. Last time the measures were sent to the House Judiciary Committee and did not advance past that panel. But now that the Republicans control the chamber and Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio is chair of the Judiciary Committee the expungement bills could get a hearing and favorable report out of the committee.
They could hit the House floor with McCarthy’s and the Rules Committee’s support. So, the effort is plausible.
Joe Biden Would Veto It Anyway
But the whole enterprise would be symbolic as the Senate would not likely take up the resolutions for a vote. Even if the chamber dealt with it on the Senate floor after passing committee, it is unlikely it would have the votes to pass the entire body. Biden would be sure to veto it as well.
Donald Trump Can’t Be Un-Impeachment
Sarah Burris wrote in Salon last summer and disagreed that the president’s impeachment record could be cleared. “It’s worth noting that an impeachment can’t be ‘expunged.’ It’s not a criminal proceeding and it’s already part of the public record. Even if Republicans wanted to vote to eliminate it from the public record, their actions of eliminating it would be recorded in the public record.”
But these negative considerations are not expected to deter Mullin and other Republicans. Once they get the Speaker and Jordan fully on board, this measure could see movement if re-introduced. It would be an exercise in futility and symbolic in nature, but it would also make a statement that many Republicans considered both impeachment efforts to be a sham and a hoax. And this would give former President Trump fodder for his quest to regain the White House. So even though “un-impeach” is a new word that is not in the Constitution, it could enter into Congress again with even more support than the last time the resolutions were introduced.
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.