House Speaker McCarthy Denies Promises to Expunge Trump's Impeachments Amid Controversy
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the leading Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, denied making any promises to Donald Trump regarding a measure aimed at expunging the former president's two impeachments. This statement came in response to a report by Politico claiming that such an agreement had been made between McCarthy and Trump, who is currently the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump's House allies, including No. 4 House Republican Elise Stefanik and hardline Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, introduced a bill last month with the goal of expunging Trump's impeachments from 2019 and 2021. Both impeachments were passed by the House when it was under Democratic control, but Senate Republicans acquitted Trump in both cases.
Expunging an impeachment has no historical precedent, but Greene is determined to push the measure forward, despite potential resistance from more moderate House Republicans facing tough re-election bids in closely contested districts.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, strongly opposed the idea of an expungement vote, calling it "a disgrace."
Trump, who is the only president to have been impeached twice, revealed that he received a letter from U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith stating that he is a target of a grand jury investigation related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. If indicted, it would be his third criminal indictment since leaving office.
While there is no constitutional provision allowing the House to erase impeachments approved during a previous Congress, the bill introduced by Trump's allies seeks to do just that. However, even if such a measure were to pass, the historical record of the impeachments and the Senate trials triggered by them would remain intact.
McCarthy voted against impeaching Trump both times, asserting that the impeachments were politically motivated and lacked evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
Politico's report suggested that Trump was upset with McCarthy for withholding his endorsement of Trump's third run for the presidency. In response, the report claimed that McCarthy promised to work on passing the expungement legislation before Congress goes on its August recess.