Marcus Attacks GOP For ‘Shameful Misuse of the Impeachment Power’

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In a surprising development, PBS NewsHour’s Friday weekly news recap featured almost a debate between New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus on House Republicans formally approving an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden with the former wondering what the big deal is and the latter labeling it a “shameful misuse of the impeachment power.”

Host Amna Nawaz took Marcus’s side as she asked Brooks, “David, there’s no evidence linking the president to any wrongdoing yet. Why move ahead with this vote?”

Brooks didn’t see what all the fuss is about considering it is just an inquiry and it was already happening anyway:

Well, it’s easy to go ahead and do an inquiry. There are a lot of Republicans who have no problem doing an inquiry, but there are a lot of Republicans who also say, ‘well, there’s no reason for impeachment. Like, there’s no evidence here.’ And so I do think that the inquiry—the inquiry was already going on. So this just continues something that was already happening. And so I think there are still a lot of Republicans who are like, ‘Okay, fine, let them have their inquiry, but unless there’s some evidence…’

However, Brooks cautioned Republicans that “one of the virtues of being on a book tour is, you get — I have been on like 30 or 40 cities for the last two months, and I have met hundreds and hundreds of people and I have talked about Ukraine and the border and all this. How many people have asked me about Hunter Biden?… Zero… Zero. And so I happen to think it’s one of these issues that’s just not resonating. People have bigger things to worry about than this.”

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Nawaz then asked Marcus for her take, who proceeded to lament that, “My take is that the Republican MAGA base is not going to David Brooks’s book events. That’s my take.”

Marcus then criticized Brooks for his supposed indifference, “I am harsher about this impeachment inquiry. You sort of make it sound like no harm, no foul. Let them go ahead with their inquiry. This is a shameful misuse of the impeachment power and the impeachment process.”

She then recalled, “Michael Gerhardt was on this program just the other night talking about how there had never been a formal impeachment inquiry in American history in the absence of credible evidence of wrongdoing. So, we are looking, as you said, for — it’s a hunt for high crimes and misdemeanors without evidence to do it.”

Marcus then worried that the inertia of the inquiry will lead to a vote on actual articles of impeachment and then pretended to care about the fate of Republicans in blue districts, “And then you put the 18 or so Republicans who are in Biden — districts that Biden won against Trump in a terrible position. They’re either going to invite — depending on the timing, they’re going to invite their base to primary them if they don’t vote for it, or they’re going to have their general electorate mad at them when they’re trying to get re-elected.”

Wrapping up, Marcus claimed “the only smart politics of this are to assuage Trump and to assuage the base. But it’s not to protect your majority.”

Earlier in the segment, Nawaz showed some polling data that showed that support for the inquiry is a 49 percent with 48 disapproving, so it is maybe not as unpopular as Marcus wants it to be.

Here is a transcript for the December 15 show:

PBS NewsHour

12/15/2023

7:40 PM ET

AMNA NAWAZ: David, there’s no evidence linking the president to any wrongdoing yet. Why move ahead with this vote?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it’s easy to go ahead and do an inquiry. There are a lot of Republicans who have no problem doing an inquiry, but there are a lot of Republicans who also say, “well, there’s no reason for impeachment. Like, there’s no evidence here.”

And so I do think that the inquiry—the inquiry was already going on. So this just continues something that was already happening. And so I think there are still a lot of Republicans who are like, “Okay, fine, let them have their inquiry, but unless there’s some evidence…”

AMNA NAWAZ:  When you say let them have their inquiry, you mean?

BROOKS: Jim Jordan, basically. And I will say one other thing, one of the virtues of being on a book tour is, you get — I have been on like 30 or 40 cities for the last two months, and I have met hundreds and hundreds of people and I have talked about Ukraine and the border and all this. How many people have asked me about Hunter Biden?

NAWAZ: How many?

DAIVD BROOKS: Zero.

NAWAZ: Really?

BROOKS: Zero. And so I happen to think it’s one of these issues that’s just not resonating. People have bigger things to worry about than this.

NAWAZ: Ruth, what’s your take?

RUTH MARCUS: My take is that the Republican MAGA base is not going to David Brooks’s book events. That’s my take.

This is — I am harsher about this impeachment inquiry. You sort of make it sound like no harm, no foul. Let them go ahead with their inquiry. This is a shameful misuse of the impeachment power and the impeachment process.

Michael Gerhardt was on this program just the other night talking about how there had never been a formal impeachment inquiry in American history in the absence of credible evidence of wrongdoing. So, we are looking, as you said, for — it’s a hunt for high crimes and misdemeanors without evidence to do it.

And I think it threatened, because once you get this official ball rolling, then how do you stop from giving in to the demands for a vote for articles of impeachment? And then you put the 18 or so Republicans who are in Biden — districts that Biden won against Trump in a terrible position. They’re either going to invite — depending on the timing, they’re going to invite their base to primary them if they don’t vote for it, or they’re going to have their general electorate mad at them when they’re trying to get re-elected.

And so this does not — this — the only smart politics of this are to assuage Trump and to assuage the base. But it’s not to protect your majority.

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