Bark but no bite: Despite intense criticism, the GOP's main impeachment targets remain safe

GOP efforts to impeach Mayorkas, Garland, Wray and Buttigieg have so far fallen flat.

Published: November 15, 2023 11:00pm

The GOP's main targets for impeachment within the Biden administration all remain safe for the time being despite the introduction of multiple impeachment resolutions.

Efforts to impeach Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have so far fallen flat in the GOP-led House of Representatives.

Mayorkas has drawn the ire of Republicans in Congress over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border as illegal immigrant encounters have reached record levels.

“Since President Biden took office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has logged more than 5.4 million illegal border crossings, plus at least 1.5 million ‘gotaways’ – that is, border crossers who were detected by CBP technology, but who were never apprehended,” according to the office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

An impeachment resolution against Mayorkas was introduced and it ultimately received a House floor vote this week. It was killed on the House floor after 8 Republicans joined House Democrats in voting to refer the resolution to the committee level.

Newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson had signaled that an impeachment effort might not move move forward in the House during a Fox News interview on Nov. 2. 

“I mean, it’s inexcusable what he’s done. I believe he’s committed impeachable offenses, but we only have so much time and resources to go after that,” Johnson said.

Republicans have raised the possibility of attempting to impeach Garland over his handling of the raid on former President Trump's home as well as the case involving Biden's handling of classified documents. He has also faced sharp criticism from Republicans after whistleblowers claimed higher-ups at the U.S. Justice Department tried to influence the Hunter Biden probe. 

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, introduced an impeachment resolution against Garland in January but it has not moved forward. 

"Attorney General Garland has failed to faithfully uphold his oath and has by his actions, validated the belief of many Americans that the Department of Justice has been transformed into an unstoppable, partisan, Federal weapon used to officially punish political opponents," read Perry's resolution. 

"Furthermore, devoting valuable Department of Justice resources to demonizing parents expressing constitutional speech—such as questions about alleged sexual assaults—as domestic terrorists would dangerously limit the credibility and ability of the Department of Justice to prosecute verifiable terrorist threats," it also read.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has introduced an impeachment resolution against Wray, partly in response to the bureau's abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The resolution references Wray’s handling of the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida, arguing that Wray is abusing his power by going after Biden's political foes. That resolution has not been voted on yet on the House floor.

Buttigieg has a long list of failures which legislators have loudly attacked. He was criticized by lawmakers in both parties for not responding immediately to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that happened on Feb. 3, 2023. In January of this year, Buttigieg reportedly declined a request for a call with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, claiming that he was on "maternity leave" after the birth of his adopted baby, according to The Daily Mail

Members of Congress from both parties also publicly criticized his job performance when Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel thousands of flights during the holidays last year. In addition, Republicans have opposed his push for incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles with taxpayer dollars, arguing that it limits choices for consumers. 

Some House conservatives, including Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., have floated attempting to impeach Buttigieg. Since then, the GOP-led House approved an amendment offered by Greene to reduce Buttigieg’s salary to $1 under the transportation appropriations bill. The full legislation has not yet passed in the chamber and Buttigieg remains in his position.

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