Trump has been privately encouraging G.O.P. lawmakers to impeach Biden

September 13, 2023

On a sweeping patio overlooking the golf course at his private club in Bedminster, New Jersey, former President Donald Trump dined Sunday night with a close political ally, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), reports The New York Times.  

Over halibut and Diet Cokes, Greene brought up an issue of considerable interest to Mr. Trump—the push by House Republicans to impeach his likely opponent in next year’s election.

“I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” Greene said in a brief phone interview with the Times.

Trump’s dinner with Greene came just two nights before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his decision on Tuesday, September 12, to order the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, under intense pressure from his right flank.

Over the past several months, Trump has kept a close watch on House Republicans’ momentum towards impeaching Biden. Trump has talked regularly by phone with members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and other congressional Republicans who pushed for impeachment, according to a person close to the former president who was not authorized to publicly discuss the conversations. Trump has encouraged the effort both privately and publicly.

Greene, who has introduced articles of impeachment against Biden, said she told Trump that she wanted the impeachment inquiry to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden.”

She would not say what Trump said in response, but she said her ultimate goal was to have a “long list of names”—people whom she claimed were co-conspirators involved in Biden family crimes. She said she was confident Trump would win back the White House in 2024 and that she wanted “to go after every single one of them and use the Department of Justice to prosecute them.”

A person familiar with Trump’s thinking said that, despite his eagerness to see an inquiry move forward, the former president has not been twisting McCarthy’s arm. Trump has been far more aggressive in pushing several members to wipe his own impeachment record clean, the person said—potentially by getting Congress to take the unprecedented step of expunging his two impeachments from the House record.

Trump has not been expressing concern about the possibility that the McCarthy impeachment effort might backfire and benefit Biden, according to two people with direct knowledge of his private statements over several months. Instead, he wondered to an ally why there had been no movement on impeaching Biden once he learned that the House was back in session.

When asked for comment, Trump’s communications director, Steven Cheung, pointed to the former president’s public statements about impeaching Biden. The former president’s public commentary on the possibility of a Biden impeachment has escalated from wistful musings about the Justice Department’s supposed inaction to explicit demands.

“They persecuted us and yet Joe Biden is a stone-cold criminal, caught dead to right, and nothing happens to him. Forget the family. Nothing happens to him,” the former president said at a rally in March.

Research contact: @nytimes