House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed his support on Friday for expunging the two impeachments of Donald Trump. This comes as Republican allies of the former president introduced proposals to effectively erase the historical charges.
McCarthy, along with Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik, is of the opinion that the charges against Trump from both impeachments in 2019 and 2021 should be removed. McCarthy stated that it is appropriate to do so, emphasizing that those charges should never have been pursued in the first place.
When questioned further, McCarthy confirmed his agreement with expunging both impeachments. The first impeachment involved abuse of power charges in 2019, where Trump was accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president to gather damaging information on Joe Biden, his political rival. The second impeachment occurred in 2021 and charged Trump with inciting the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol as his supporters attempted to overturn Biden’s election victory. In both instances, Trump was acquitted by the Senate after being impeached by the House. However, expunging the charges from his record would serve as additional vindication for Trump as he pursues another term in the White House.
This effort by Trump’s allies to rewrite the narrative of his presidency is a continuation of their ongoing endeavors. It also highlights the pressure McCarthy faces from the right-wing faction of his party. Earlier this week, McCarthy rejected a proposal from Representative Lauren Boebert to impeach President Biden, opting instead to refer it to committees for review.
McCarthy explained that the first impeachment in 2019 should not have happened; however, he merged the incident with a different investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election conducted by the Justice Department. Regarding the 2021 trial conducted shortly after the Capitol riot, he contended that it lacked due process.
McCarthy did not indicate any immediate plans to advance the proposals by Greene and Stefanik for House votes. When asked if these proposals were a priority, he shifted the conversation to other goals of the Republican Party. He also confirmed that he had not discussed expunging the impeachment record with Trump, who is currently campaigning for another term in the White House. Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice by the House, although he was acquitted of all charges by the Senate.
Democrats have defended their decision to impeach Trump a second time after the 2021 mob attack on the Capitol. According to them, the evidence presented at the trial showed that Trump encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol while Congress was certifying Biden’s election win. Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 occurred when it was revealed that he had encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to uncover damaging information about Biden while withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.