Rep. Peter Meijer, the first Republican to come out in support of impeachment for then-President Trump for incitement of the insurrection, tweeted after voting with the majority last week: “There is no conceivable interpretation of exec privilege that applies to someone outside of gov’t, conferring with senior gov’t officials, on non-official matters. Holding individuals who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas in contempt is the sole recourse available to Congress to protect its power of inquiry.”
But Republicans knew this vote wasn’t about executive privilege, their role as members of Congress, right and wrong, or the rule of law. Rep. Jim Jordan made it explicit, saying, “You know what this is really about: getting at President Trump.”
In order not to risk Trump’s wrath, Republicans in Congress will instead risk losing non-tribal, swing voters who view Jan. 6 as a grave event and Trump’s embrace of the insurrection as a future threat to democracy. They’re gambling those voters will be indifferent to whatever the committee turns up about Trump and Bannon — all of which Trump will demand Republicans defend.