Trump Encouraged Republican Lawmakers to Impeach Biden in Private

On a sweeping patio overlooking the golf course at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., former President Donald J. Trump dined Sunday night with a close political ally, Marjorie Taylor Greene.

It was a chance for the former president to catch up with the hard-right Georgia congresswoman. But over halibut and Diet Cokes, Ms. Greene brought up an issue of considerable interest to Mr. Trump — the push by House Republicans to impeach his likely opponent in next year’s election.

“I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” Ms. Greene said in a brief phone interview.

Mr. Trump’s dinner with Ms. Greene came just two nights before Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his decision on Tuesday to order the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, under intense pressure from his right flank.

Over the past several months, Mr. Trump has kept a close watch on House Republicans’ momentum toward impeaching Mr. Biden. Mr. Trump has talked regularly by phone with members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and other congressional Republicans who pushed for impeachment, according to a person close to Mr. Trump who was not authorized to publicly discuss the conversations. Mr. Trump has encouraged the effort both privately and publicly.

Ms. Greene, who has introduced articles of impeachment against Mr. Biden, said she told Mr. Trump that she wanted the impeachment inquiry to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden.”

She would not say what Mr. Trump said in response, but she said her ultimate goal was to have a “long list of names” — people whom she claimed were co-conspirators involved in Biden family crimes. She said she was confident Mr. Trump would win back the White House in 2024 and that she wanted “to go after every single one of them and use the Department of Justice to prosecute them.”

While Mr. Biden’s son Hunter was charged in June with two misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm offense, Republicans have not shown that Mr. Biden committed any crimes. House Republicans are proceeding with the impeachment inquiry without proof that Mr. Biden took official actions as vice president to benefit his son’s financial interests or that he directly profited from his son’s foreign deals.

Mr. Trump has also spoken weekly over the past month to Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican, according to a person familiar with the conversations who was not authorized to discuss them publicly. During those conversations, Ms. Stefanik also briefed Mr. Trump on the impeachment inquiry strategy, this person said.

The former president thanked Ms. Stefanik for publicly backing the impeachment inquiry in July, the person added. Ms. Stefanik, who talked to Mr. Trump again on Tuesday after Mr. McCarthy ordered the impeachment inquiry, had been the first member of House Republican leadership to publicly call for taking the first step in the process of impeaching Mr. Biden.

A person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking said that despite his eagerness to see an inquiry move forward, the former president has not been twisting Mr. McCarthy’s arm. Mr….

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