Speaker McCarthy supports expunging Trump’s impeachments over Ukraine and Jan. 6

Speaker Kevin McCarthy holding a gavel as he stands at his desk in the House chamber
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) opens the joint meeting of Congress on Thursday in preparation for an address by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he supports the idea of expunging the two impeachments of Donald Trump, as hard-right Republican allies of the former president introduce a pair of proposals to treat the historic charges as though they never happened.

McCarthy told reporters Friday that he agrees with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik, who want to erase the charges against Trump from his impeachments in 2019 and 2021.

“I think it is appropriate,” said McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). “Just as I thought before — that you should expunge it, because it never should have gone through.”


Pressed on his views, McCarthy confirmed that he agreed with expunging both of Trump’s impeachments — the abuse of power charges in 2019 over pressing Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on rival Joe Biden, and the 2021 charge that he’d incited the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection as he and his supporters tried to overturn Biden’s election.

In both cases, Trump was acquitted by the GOP-led Senate after his impeachment by the Democrat-led House, despite bipartisan Senate votes in favor of conviction.

The prospect of a nuclear-armed superpower falling into disarray terrified neighboring countries throughout Europe and put the White House on alert.

June 24, 2023

The effort to expunge his impeachments is the latest by Trump’s allies to rewrite the narrative of the defeated president’s tenure in office as he seeks another term in the White House. And it underscores the pressure McCarthy is under from his right flank.

Just this week, McCarthy sidelined a proposal from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) to impeach President Biden, sending it to committees for review.

Explaining his views, McCarthy said he believed Trump’s first impeachment, in 2019, should have never happened, and conflated it with a separate investigation by the Justice Department into Russian interference in the 2016 election. As for the 2021 trial the week after the attack on the Capitol, he said it “had no due process.”

McCarthy gave no indication that he would move quickly to have the House vote on the expungement proposals from Greene (R-Ga.) and Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the chamber’s fourth-ranking Republican. Pressed on whether the proposals were a priority, he listed other GOP goals.


Asked whether he had spoken with Trump about expunging the impeachments, McCarthy said he had not.

Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be twice impeached.

Democrats have defended their decision to quickly impeach Trump a second time after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol in 2021.

They argue that the evidence played out for the world to see as the defeated president rallied his supporters to Washington and encouraged them to march to the Capitol as Congress was certifying Biden’s election.

Trump was first impeached in 2019 after it was disclosed that he had encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up political dirt on then-White House rival Biden — while Trump was withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine as it faced Russian aggression.