Dean Phillips: Biden impeachment probe ‘perhaps makes him unelectable’

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The News

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Hunter Biden investigation is a potentially fatal political liability for President Joe Biden, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips told Semafor on Sunday.

While Phillips said he’d vote against the GOP’s impeachment inquiry, he compared it to “the age question” as a factor that would hurt Biden as a general election nominee.

“I don’t see the evidence of it, but yes, when your own son and your own brother are clearly, at the very least unethical and at worst, doing illegal things — my goodness, of course the country pays attention to it,” Phillips said. “People do believe that it perhaps makes him unelectable — somehow, it conflates him with the Trump family’s indiscretions.”

Phillips, who’s challenging Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination, called him a “good man” who most voters had ruled out supporting, and doubted impeachment would rally Democrats to Biden the way that Donald Trump’s first impeachment rallied Republicans.

“I’ve never had anybody in my family indicted, not that I know of,” he said. “I haven’t had a family foundation shut down in New York for being unethical.”

David’s view

The vast majority of Democrats backing Biden view the Republican investigation into his son and brother as a smear job. So does Phillips, who emphasized that he saw nothing tying the president to any wrongdoing. The idea of an impeachment focused on family loans that Biden was paid back when he wasn’t even holding office strikes them as absurd, and likely to backfire on the GOP.

But polling has found that just a third of voters, mostly Democrats, believe the president did nothing unethical. Phillips and every other Biden challenger believes their party is naive about Biden’s weaknesses; voters weren’t this concerned about his age or family members in 2020 and they’re not going to snap back.

Notable

  • Phillips is working to get on the ballot in several key states where’s so far been left off, I reported earlier at Semafor, although some state officials say he’s missed key deadlines and procedural steps.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah is not convinced there’s much to the House probes into Biden and his family members. In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said he hadn’t seen any evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and that he would vote against opening a formal inquiry were he in the House. “We’re not going to impeach someone because of the sins of their kids,” he added.