Revving the Impeachment Engines

Happy Wednesday! Steve Hayes is out there somewhere breathing a deep sigh of relief that this insane video showing a torrent of red wine cascading down a street was filmed in Portugal and not neighboring Spain.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Chinese naval vessels began amassing in the western Pacific Ocean Monday and Tuesday, marking what is likely the start of China’s largest-ever military exercises in the region. Taiwan’s defense ministry tallied 20 warships in the vicinity of the island—which China considers its property—and Japan also reported eight ships south of Okinawa. The drills follow a series of U.S. joint naval exercises with allies in the region over the last several weeks. 
  • U.S. median household income fell for the third straight year in 2022, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Inflation-adjusted median household income decreased to $74,580 in 2022, a 2.3 percent decline from its 2021 level. The measure has tumbled 4.7 percent since its 2019 high of $78,250. 
  • A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday showed fraudsters stole roughly $1 of every $7 of federal COVID-19 unemployment aid between April 2020 and May 2023, an estimated total of between $100 billion and $135 billion of the approximately $900 billion disbursed. The report indicated that the speed with which Congress passed the expanded unemployment payments—and the Trump and Biden administrations’ haste in disbursing it—made the system vulnerable to fraud. 
  • Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday formally recommended that “everyone 6 months and older” get the latest COVID-19 booster shot following the vaccine’s approval by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on Monday. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 in favor of the broad recommendation for additional vaccination, and the shot could be available at some pharmacies within 48 hours.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday he was directing the House, led by the chamber’s Oversight Committee, to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, likely focused on determining the extent of Biden’s alleged involvement with his son Hunter’s business dealings. McCarthy is not holding a full vote in the House to commence the investigation, a move he had previously declared was necessary to begin an impeachment inquiry. Former President Donald Trump has reportedly been speaking to House leadership regularly in the lead-up to the impeachment inquiry announcement, and the White House called the investigation “extreme politics at its worst.”
  • In an emergency filing late on Monday, the Alabama attorney general’s office asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block, pending appeal, a lower court’s ruling ordering a special master to redraw the state’s congressional maps. The three-judge panel said Alabama legislators disregarded a Supreme Court order earlier this summer to redraw the districts to include a second majority-black district, or something “close to it.” 
  • A federal grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee, handed up an indictment Tuesday against five former Memphis police officers accused of beating Tyre Nichols, a black man, to death during a traffic stop in January. The grand jury indicted the five men—who are also black—on charges of excessive force and failure to intervene in the beating, deliberate indifference, conspiracy to witness tamper, and witness tampering. If convicted of the federal charges, the men could face life in prison. They are also facing a slew of charges, including second degree murder, in Shelby County, Tennessee.

Election Year Impeachment Redux

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy announces a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on September 12, 2023. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy announces a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on September 12, 2023. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019—two weeks after Congress had returned from its summer recess and a little over a year away from a presidential election—then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Almost four years later—the day Congress returned from recess and 14 months before a presidential election—House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Biden.

“House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct; taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption,” McCarthy said yesterday. “That’s why today, I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public.” 

The inquiry comes as McCarthy faces rising pressure from hardline members of the Republican conference, but it remains to be seen whether the move will be enough to placate members dissatisfied with the speaker over not only impeachment but also his handling of appropriations as a government shutdown looms at the end of the month.

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