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Republicans Explore ‘Criminal Referrals’ As Biden Impeachment Fails

via Sky News Australia
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Facing difficulties impeaching President Biden due to lack of evidence, House Republicans are exploring issuing criminal referrals against him and associates instead.

Criminal referrals would refer alleged crimes to the Justice Department for potential investigation, avoiding an impeachment vote likely to fail.

“There’s nothing that I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks that says that we are anywhere close to having the votes” for impeachment, Rep. Kelly Armstrong said.

“I’m still interested in why we haven’t gotten better answers on the whole-of-government approach to obstructing all of these investigations,” Armstrong said.

While symbolic, it would allow Republicans to end their inquiry while aligning with Trump’s calls to prosecute Biden.

Top Republicans signaled referrals were under serious discussion as an alternative to impeachment, which is seen as unlikely to succeed given the party’s narrow House majority.

“At the end of the day, what does accountability look like? It looks like criminal referrals. It looks like referring people to the Department of Justice,” Rep. James R. Comer said. “If Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice won’t take any potential criminal referrals seriously, then maybe the next president, with a new attorney general, will.”

“There’s more deliberation to be done on it — that’s for sure,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said.

“He deserves them,” Rep. Matt Gaetz said.

“I don’t think that a sufficient number of Republicans hold the view I do that a bribe can be consummated through a payment to a family member,” said Gaetz.

“The DOJ is about to change hands,” Gaetz said. “It’s about to be under new management.”

Democrats criticized the strategy as an attempt to damage Biden politically ahead of the 2024 election by creating a false equivalence to investigations of Trump.

“They realize that they don’t have the votes for an impeachment because they don’t have the evidence,” delegate Stacey Plaskett said. “But they recognize that by a criminal referral, it’s going to take some time, if there’s a referral, for it to work through the Justice Department, which gives them additional fodder during the election cycle. They’re just trying to create some kind of false equivalency between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which is not there.”

“We don’t refer a seated president for criminal charges,” said Rep. Darrell Issa. “But most of what we’ve discovered they already knew.”

“If our investigation reveals that impeachment is not a righteous pursuit, perhaps a criminal referral is,” Rep. Clay Higgins said.

“It’s a much heavier lift for impeachment. So I would say that no matter what the Oversight Committee does, the American people are going to have an opportunity in November to make a decision.”

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