Wednesday, February 28

GOP ponders the I-word – POLITICO

With an assist from Nicholas Wu and Jordain Carney

IMPEACHMENT PROSPECTS SPLIT GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) will “absolutely” be introducing articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden next year. Just as she did this year.

But with a GOP majority within grasp, Republican leaders and would-be committee chairs have been crafting a careful strategy of investigations and headline-grabbing probes against the president and his cabinet. Impeaching Biden, which could have an unpredictable fallout for the party, is not agenda item No. 1.

“I hope we don’t” impeach Biden, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told Jordain. “I would argue we all know, at the end of the day, there’s not going to be a conviction in the Senate. It just injects poison into the system, causes a lot of turmoil.”

But other Republicans are out for blood. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wants to keep his conference unified.

Remove the image: A senior Democratic aid, addressing McCarthy on condition of anonymity, warned that a narrow GOP majority would embolden his right flank to his peril: “Those members will have his balls in such a vice grip that when they say ‘jump,’ he’ll say ‘how high,’ and it’ll be too late before he realizes the fall will kill them.”

Likely targets: Biden isn’t the only target for impeachment. Republicans, even those mum on a presidential impeachment, say they’d be open to ousting Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said he would also file a Mayorkas impeachment resolution next year, predicting “plentiful” support from GOP colleagues.

Words of caution: “We’ll request information, we’ll dig, we’ll do anything,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), an Oversight Committee chair hopeful, said of GOP investigations next year. “But I’m not putting my name on anything that’s not factual.”

Jordain has more on what’s cooking as Republicans weigh their investigative agenda.

RELATED:Federal agents see chargeable tax, gun-purchase case against Hunter Bidenby Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein at The Washington Post

BUENOS DIAS! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Friday, October 7, where we’re still catching up on sleep lost during the two Trump impeachments.

HUDDLE’S WEEKLY MOST CLICKED: You were dying to see Paul Kane’s getaway day dispatch in instagram reel form.

NOTE:We’ll be off this Monday for the long weekend but will be back in your inboxes on Tuesday.

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GET YOUR AUDITION TAPES READY— Comer is already getting approached by GOP colleagues who want a spot on the Oversight Committee next year. Comer told Jordain that “last Congress it was the most requested committee for the freshmen class. You had Greene and Boebert and you know Madison [Cawthorn], they all wanted to be on.” (For those keeping track at home, your Huddle host notes that none of them are, or in Greene’s case were, on the committee.)

If the House flips, Republicans will have seats to fill on the panel—how many depends on the size of their majority. Though a core group of Republicans, typically stacked with leadership allies, formally makes recommendations for filling the spots, Comer noted “they get input from me.”

FIRST IN HUDDLE: JAYAPAL HITS THE ROAD — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is hitting the trail this fall to help protect frontline Democratic lawmakers and to turn out voters in seats Democrats hope to flip. Jayapal, who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chairs its PAC, is set to visit New Mexico’s 1st District to support incumbent Rep. Melanie Stansbury (DN.M.) and the new Oregon 6th district to boost Andrea Salinas, among other districts , as part of the “Defend the Majority tour.”

“The midterm elections will be one of the most consequential elections for our country,” said Jayapal in a statement. “I am honored to be helping so many of our great candidates in their fight to protect our right to choose, to healthcare, and to free and fair elections.”

Touring: The October tour is likely to include districts in California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, and it comes as she explores a potential bid for the upper runs of House Democratic leadership next Congress. The Progressive Caucus’ PAC has also become more active in recent campaign cycles, and a slew of retirements this year has allowed progressive members to earn the PAC’s endorsement in open seats (the PAC doesn’t endorse primary challengers to incumbents).

SAYONARA, SASSE — Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is expected to resign his Senate seat to become president of the University of Florida. Sasse will be down in Gainesville, Fla. as soon as next week. He is set to visit campus Monday to meet with students and faculty.

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Sasse is only two years into his second term in the Senate and his vacancy would be filled by an appointment by Republican Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. His appointed replacement would serve until 2025, putting both of Nebraska’s senate seats up for election in 2024.

Sasse has been a reliable conservative vote in the Senate and he made a name for himself as a critic of former President Donald Trump. Sasse was one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial. While the news came as somewhat of a surprise, the academy gig is a return of sorts for Sasse, who previously led Midland University and has been interested in returning to the world of higher education, according to Republicans familiar with his future plans. Burgess and Marianne have more on Sasse’s next steps.

RELATED:Biggest question in Nebraska politics: Does Pete Ricketts want to be a US senator? from Henry J. Cordes at The Omaha World-Herald

WWZLD?That’s right: What Will Zoe Lofgren Do? That’s what some Democrats are wondering as the caucus throws elbows to position themselves for primo committee slots in the new Congress. Right now, she is at the helm of the small-but-mighty House Administration Committee and she isn’t expected to decide if she’ll stay there until after the election. (The panel has jurisdiction over everything from elections to the Capitol Police to office mice problems.)

Jumping for science? But Democratic aides are floating that Lofgren, who represents Silicon Valley, could make a play for the party’s top spot on the Science, Space and Technology Committee. If Lofgren doesn’t make the jump, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) will run for the Science panel’s top Democratic spot. But it’s “very unlikely” that she’d run against Lofgren, an aid told Jordain.

Musical chairs: If Lofgren jumps to Science, Space and Technology, some Democrats have privately discussed a domino effect that could impact a crowded committee race: Oversight. Three Democrats are currently running to succeed current Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.), who is leaving Congress after losing her primary: Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). The musical chairs could lead Raskin, who is already the second most senior Democrat on the Administration Committee, to the party’s top spot on that panel next year. (Membership on House Admin would be hand-picked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).)

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Key caveat: Raskin debunked that idea, saying that he is “fully committed” to trying to win the party’s top Oversight Committee spot.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWNThe Jan. 6 select committee scheduled what is expected to be its final hearing for Thursday, Oct. 13 at 1 pm There won’t be more wild, live witness testimony, according to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) . But he did promise the panel’s final hearing could feature a “compilation of information we have assembled that we have not shared with the public.” Nicholas has more.

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING — After two Russians reached a remote Alaskan island and requested asylum in the US, Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are asking for more security support in the Arctic region. Nancy has more.

Caffeine withdrawal… The folks at Rako coffee say they are “looking at Tuesday” for reopening the Cannon coffee cart, but that’s not solid yet.


Henry Cuellar isn’t apologizing for being a moderatefrom Stephen Neukam at The Texas Tribune

‘Let it go’ or fire back: GOP candidates face tough choice under Dems’ abortion ad assaultfrom Ally Mutnick


jimmy draper is now a legislative correspondent for Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). He most recently was a legislative correspondent for the Senate Judiciary Committee


The House convenes at 1:30 pm for a pro forma session.

Senate convenes at 10 am for a pro forma session.


Barely to peep post-pro forma.

THURSDAY’S WINNER:Mike Albano correctly answered that Bobby Richardson was a New York Yankee second baseman from 1955 to 1966 and an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1976 as a Republican from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, losing to incumbent Democrat Kenneth Holland.

TODAY’S QUESTION from Mike: A number of mayors and former mayors have sought the presidency. Who was the last president elected who was also a former mayor?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]

GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone each morning.

Follow Katherine on Twitter @ktullymcmanus

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