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McCarthy’s Impeachment Theater

Kevin McCarthy faces migraine-inducing dilemmas from the likes of M.T.G. and Matt Gaetz, who’ve threatened to kick rocks in the gears if an impeachment inquiry doesn’t materialize.
Kevin McCarthy faces migraine-inducing dilemmas from the likes of M.T.G. and Matt Gaetz, who’ve threatened to kick rocks in the gears if an impeachment inquiry doesn’t materialize. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
September 7, 2023

House Republicans, shaking off their post-recess stupor, are returning to Washington just in time for a familiar political crisis. Once again, hardline members of the G.O.P. caucus are threatening a government shutdown on September 30 if they don’t get their way—and once again they’ve placed a procedural gun to the head of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. “In order to appease them, Kevin’s gonna have to give them something,” a Republican source familiar with the state of negotiations told me, sounding understandably exasperated.

A few weeks ago, the Freedom Caucus released a list of grievances to be addressed in exchange for their support: the border crisis, the “weaponization” of government, “woke” policies in the military, etcetera. But momentum has coalesced around one demand, in particular: an impeachment, of somebody in the Biden administration, or perhaps even of the president himself.