Is the threat of impeachment the new presidential normal?

Impeachment fever: chronic or curable?

Kevin McCarthy, Joe Biden, Donald Trump
Kevin McCarthy, Joe Biden, Donald Trump
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images / AP Photo)

To be the president of the United States is to exist under pressures virtually unimaginable to nearly everyone else on Earth; you control a vast arsenal of weapons capable of destroying the planet many times over; you sit at the top one of of the most powerful, complex economies in history; the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people depend on your decisions; and to top it all off, you could, theoretically, be fired at any moment. But while impeachment has always been a Damoclean sword hanging over every president's head, it's historically loomed largely as an abstract concern, rather than an acute threat — until recently.

Speaking with Fox News' Sean Hannity this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) asserted that his party's ongoing investigations into President Biden and his family's business dealings were "rising to the level of impeachment inquiry" — a statement he defended the following day, comparing the Biden administration to that of disgraced former President Richard Nixon. McCarthy's comments, although conspicuously vague and lacking any concrete timeline, "mark the furthest he's gone on a potential impeachment inquiry," Politico said. And although McCarthy denied any pressure from former President Donald Trump to push forward with impeaching Biden, his comments this week came amid "pressure from the hard right" of his party which has made investigating the president and his family a hallmark of Republicans' narrow congressional majority.

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.