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Trump ramps up calls to Congress to impeach Biden

Former president Donald Trump escalated his calls for Congress to impeach President Biden, just one day after House Republicans voted to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

At a rally Wednesday evening in North Charleston, S.C., Trump said Biden should be impeached for “weaponizing” the Justice Department, a reference to the former president’s criminal cases. Special counsel Jack Smith and Attorney General Merrick Garland have said Smith’s charging decisions were made independently of the White House and in compliance with Justice Department rules.

“Congress ought to impeach crooked Joe Biden for attacking his political opponent by weaponizing the DOJ, the FBI, and even the local DAs and attorney generals against his political opponent,” Trump said. “They ought to impeach him because that is the most undemocratic thing that you can do. This happens in certain countries but never happened in our country.”

Trump’s remarks were the second time in less than 24 hours that the former president has pushed for Biden’s impeachment. Trump, who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination, faces a total of 91 charges across four criminal cases and has repeatedly sought to portray himself, without evidence, as a victim of a weaponized legal system. While House Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden last year, it is not related to Trump’s court cases.

The Trump campaign is pursuing a strategy of trying to blunt the charges against the former president by leveling similar accusations against Biden. Trump has also described Biden’s impeachment as a way to get even for his two impeachments. As president, Trump was impeached twice. He was first charged with abusing his office and obstructing Congress in relation to his attempt to withhold military aid to Ukraine and pressure for its government to investigate Biden, who was then a former vice president. He was impeached again on charges of inciting an insurrection, after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Senate acquitted Trump both times.

Wednesday’s statement comes after House Republicans impeached Mayorkas by a single vote Tuesday, after failing to do so last week. That process, however, may not go far in the Democratic-led Senate, where some Senate Republicans have signaled they do not believe the Homeland Security secretary’s actions qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the threshold for a conviction. Mayorkas is the first sitting Cabinet secretary to be impeached.

Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden in the fall that focused on whether the president benefited from his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, among other issues. House Republicans, however, have yet to provide evidence that Biden directly benefited from those transactions.

In December, GOP House members formally authorized an impeachment inquiry against the president in hopes that their subpoena requests could hold up in court, with no Democratic support. But several House Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from impeaching the president, largely saying that voters should decide whether to keep him in office at the ballot box. Vulnerable incumbents in particular do not want to vote on such a politically controversial issue.

Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said: “Tonight, Donald Trump confirmed House Republicans are operating as an arm of his campaign and executing on his orders with their baseless impeachment inquiry. Trump is running a campaign fit for a dictator — focused on revenge and retribution while President Biden focuses on how he can finish the job and deliver for American families.”

Trump’s remarks in North Charleston came after making similar allegations against Biden on Truth Social.

“THE HUR REPORT SHOWS THAT PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING JOE BIDEN SAID WAS A LIE. ADDITIONALLY, HE HAS ILLEGALLY WEAPONIZED THE DOJ & FBI, TOGETHER WITH LOCAL D.A.’S & ATTORNEY GENERALS, AGAINST HIS POLITICAL OPPONENT, ME!” Trump posted. “NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED IN THE USA BEFORE, AND FOR THIS HE SHOULD BE IMPEACHED!”

Trump has sought to capitalize politically on special counsel Robert K. Hur’s recent report, which concluded Biden carelessly kept classified documents and notebooks at his home but found that the evidence wasn’t enough to charge him with a crime. In that report, Hur drew a distinction between Trump’s and Biden’s handling of classified documents, noting that “after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.”

Trump’s speech in South Carolina comes as the Feb. 24 primary is approaching. The former president continues to hold formidable polling lead in the Palmetto State against former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.

Isaac Arnsdorf and Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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