If you wanted a specific reason why Republicans are so incensed about the former guy’s mounting legal battles, it’s because they’re enraged there’s enough evidence for someone to be charged with a crime. Contrary to what they like to say, it isn’t President Biden having Donald Trump arrested (no president has that authority), nor is it even Merrick Garland or the Justice Department – the arrests are happening because assembled juries have determined that there’s enough evidence that Donald Trump committed a crime for a trial to take place. For decades, Republicans used threats of criminal investigations into their opponents, regardless of whether there’s anything to charge them with – hoping that just the appearance of wrongdoing would give them leverage.
This backfired spectacularly following their impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 (who saw his approvals skyrocket to 73% after his trial), and it could backfire even worse if they try the same thing with President Biden, who is already connecting House Republicans and their not so subtle impeachment efforts to efforts to defund FEMA during hurricane season.
Rather than wait for McCarthy to make the first move, the Biden White House is already threatening against any potential impeachment effort – which will of course be based on zero evidence, much less a specific accusation. McCarthy has no good options here – he can charge ahead, at the behest of the loudest crazies in his caucus and risk losing the seats of Republicans in moderate districts (and thus his majority), or he can hesitate and call off the impeachment threat, looking weak in the eyes of everyone – which is just about the worst thing you can do as a Republican politician.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making