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Jan 8, 2024, 6:36pm EST
politics

Rep. Matt Rosendale files impeachment resolution against Defense Secretary Austin — but not over medical absence

JUNG YEON-JE/Pool via REUTERS
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The News

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont. is introducing an impeachment resolution against Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin, who has come under fire for not informing President Biden and other administrative officials of his recent hospital stay. The resolution isn’t privileged and won’t come to the floor immediately, if ever. It’s also not clear if Rosendale has significant support for the measure.

Austin went home a day after he underwent an undisclosed medical procedure on Dec. 22 and then returned to the Walter Reed Medical Center’s intensive care on Jan. 1 without informing other top Pentagon officials and the White House until three days later.

That’s not the focus of this resolution, however.

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Rosendale, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, focused on the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and the Chinese spy balloon that flew over the congressman’s home state of Montana last year. U.S. intelligence determined the balloon used an American internet service provider to communicate with China related to the balloon’s navigation, according to an NBC report.

“Sec. Austin has violated his oath of office time and time again and has jeopardized the lives of the American people,” Rosendale said in a statement.

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The news comes against a backdrop of multiple active impeachment resolutions. The Committee on Homeland Security is officially launching impeachment proceedings against Homeland Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday for his handling of the border, and a tri-committee cohort is currently conducting an impeachment inquiry into Biden centered around his family’s business dealings.

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Rep. Cory Mills, a military veteran, introduced a similar resolution against Austin last summer centered around the Afghanistan withdrawal but has since redirected his ire toward Austin’s mysterious hospitalization.

“As an Army Combat Veteran and a member of the Armed Services Committee, I find Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent actions deeply troubling and a dereliction of duty,” Mills said in a statement to Semafor.

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Notable

  • The White House says it’s reviewing Austin’s strange situation but has made clear he has the president’s support.
  • Rosendale is weighing a Senate run that’s put him at odds with Republican leaders, who are backing Tim Sheehy as their candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.
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