Trump secretly met with MAGA Republicans to discuss Biden impeachment inquiry before McCarthy announcement

Trump had dinner with Marjorie Taylor Greene at New Jersey golf club, discussing impeachment effort

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 13 September 2023 14:27 BST
Related video: Theresa May on bizarre moment Donald Trump held her hand at Blenheim Palace

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Louise Thomas

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Donald Trump secretly met with MAGA Republicans to discuss the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden before the announcement by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The veiled effort, which also included public missives on Truth Social, to push House Republicans to impeach Mr Biden comprised a discussion with a member of the House Republican leadership ahead of the announcement on Tuesday that an inquiry was being launched.

Mr Trump has been speaking on a weekly basis with New York Representative Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference Chair and the first member of the leadership to publically back impeachment, Politico and The New York Times reported.

They spoke on Tuesday after Mr McCarthy announced that the the GOP would be launching the impeachment effort, two people with knowledge of the conversation told the outlet.

Ms Stefanik is a longtime Trump ally who started out as a critic of the former president. She backed his 2024 run before Mr Trump announced that he would run again and she has been mentioned as a possible running mate if Mr Trump wins the Republican nomination, as it’s expected he will.

Mr Trump had dinner at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course on Sunday night with Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right member who’s been an ally of both the former president and the speaker. Impeachment was one of the topics at the dinner, Politico and The Times reported.

Ms Greene was the one to bring up the issue of impeachment, the paper notes.

“I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” she told the paper.

She added that she told Mr Trump that she wanted the process to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden”.

Ms Greene didn’t say how Mr Trump responded, but added that her final goal was to create a “long list of names” of people she claimed were a part of crimes committed by the Bidens. She argued that she was sure Mr Trump would regain the White House in 2024 and that she wanted “to go after every single one of them and use the Department of Justice to prosecute them”.

The dinner took place just two nights before Mr McCarthy made the announcement that the impeachment inquiry would go ahead after pressure from the right wing of his House conference.

In late August, Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION. THEY DID IT TO US.”

“They persecuted us and yet Joe Biden is a stone-cold criminal, caught dead to right, and nothing happens to him. Forget the family. Nothing happens to him,” he said at a March rally.

Mr Trump’s behind-the-scenes involvement in pushing Republicans to impeach Mr Biden reveals the hold he continues to have over the party as he’s expected to win the GOP nomination for the third straight election cycle.

The involvement of Mr Trump could also lead to arguments from Mr Biden’s team and supporters that impeachment is simply a vehicle to weaken the president ahead of the 2024 election.

But Mr Trump hasn’t been pushing Mr McCarthy to announce an inquiry, instead focusing on arguing to members that his own impeachment record should be cleared, one person told The Times.

Mr Trump was impeached twice when Democrats controlled the House – initially for his effort to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Mr Biden, and subsequently following the January 6 insurrection.

In June, Hunter Biden was charged with two misdemeanour tax violations and a felony weapons charge, but the GOP has been unable to prove that the president has been involved in any crimes.

The GOP has launched the inquiry without being able to back up their claims that Mr Biden took measures to help Hunter Biden’s financial interests during his time as vice president or that he benefitted from his son’s business dealings abroad.

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