Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch says there is not even the “slightest chance” the Senate will impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen anytime soon.
“That doesn’t have even the slightest chance over here,” the Senate Finance Committee chairman told Politico, regarding plans in the House to impeach Koskinen. “I’m not sure it’s a wise thing to do before the election.”
The House Freedom Caucus has been clamoring for an impeachment vote for months, and its Republican members plan to force a vote on the issue before the election if House Speaker Paul Ryan refuses to schedule one, reports the Hill. But even if they get a vote and the House impeaches Koskinen, the Senate would have to follow suit with a two-thirds majority conviction that is highly unlikely.
Senate leadership is preparing for the possibility of a House impeachment vote, however, planning to use a procedural maneuver to avoid a trial altogether if they can’t convince House conservatives to back down. A simple majority vote to dismiss the impeachment attempt could do the trick, but Republican senators are treading softly.
“I’m reserving judgment until I see what it looks like,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told Politico. “I don’t think we’d be forced to take it up, but I think we’d be forced to take it seriously if the House sees fit to impeach the IRS commissioner. I’m very troubled by what I see is essentially an effort [by the IRS] to block a legitimate inquiry and oversight of Congress over targeting of American citizens.”
Republican Reps. John Fleming and Tim Huelskamp introduced the resolution to impeach Koskinen in July, saying the commissioner misled Congress and violated a subpoena for information regarding the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
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