McCarthy Says He Would Consider Expunging Trump’s Impeachments
By Samantha Flom
When asked about the possibility of erasing the impeachments during a Jan. 12 press conference at the Capitol, McCarthy replied that he would “have to look” at the situation, saying, “I understand why members would want to bring that forward.”
“Our first priority is to get our economy back on track, secure our borders, make our streets safe again, give parents the opportunity to have a say in their kids’ education, and actually hold government accountable,” he added. “But I understand why individuals want to do it, and we’d look at it.”
Trump was first impeached by the House in December 2019 over a phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He was charged with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring Zelenskyy to investigate a political opponent, and with obstruction of Congress, but was ultimately acquitted of those charges by the Senate.
In 2021, Trump was impeached again for alleged “incitement of insurrection” following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Again, he was acquitted.
Previous Expungement Attempts
Last year, then-Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led House Republicans’ attempts to expunge Trump’s impeachment record, introducing a resolution to erase the former president’s 2019 impeachment in March.
“So, what we’re doing with the resolution is just simply saying, ‘Hey, listen, Congress made a mistake,’” Mullin, now a senator, said at the time. “‘We impeached a president under Article One, Section Two, that shouldn’t have ever taken place.’”
In May, Mullin followed up the first bill with a second resolution to expunge Trump’s 2021 impeachment. That bill (pdf), citing 2020 election irregularities and the impeachment’s rushed nature, held that the impeachment process had failed to prove that the former president had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” or engaged in an insurrection.
Although both of Mullin’s resolutions garnered some Republican support, neither was ever considered by the Democrat-controlled House.
A ‘Political Hoax’
Trump, for his part, has maintained that both the impeachments and the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s subsequent criminal referrals were simply partisan attempts to “sideline” him and prevent him from holding elected office again.
“The Fake charges made by the highly partisan Unselect Committee of January 6th have already been submitted, prosecuted, and tried in the form of Impeachment Hoax # 2,” the former president noted on Dec. 19 after the committee referred him to the Justice Department for prosecution.
In February 2020, after his first acquittal by the Senate, Trump was asked by reporters about the potential of a future expungement.
“That’s a very good question,” he said. “Should they expunge the impeachment in the House? They should because it was a hoax. It was a total political hoax.”
At the time, it was McCarthy who floated the idea, vowing to erase the impeachment if the Republican Party regained control of the House and he became speaker.
“I don’t think it should stay on the books,” McCarthy said.
Despite opposition from several Trump-aligned Republicans, McCarthy achieved his goal of becoming speaker of the House—with Trump’s backing—last week.
After a contentious week of intraparty negotiations, McCarthy secured the speakership in the 15th vote, attributing the victory to the former president’s support.
“I do want to especially thank President Trump,” he told reporters on Jan. 7. “I don’t think anybody should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning.”
Only two other presidents in U.S. history have been formally impeached by Congress: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon also faced impeachment inquiries, but he resigned before a vote could take place.
Like Trump, neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate.
No president or other elected official has ever had their impeachment expunged, though in 1837, the Senate did expunge a censure of then-President Andrew Jackson over his plans to remove government funds from the Bank of the United States.
The Epoch Times has contacted the offices of former President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for comment.