McCarthy threatens motion to oust Pelosi if she moves forward with impeachment

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyFormer acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel The fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump MORE (R-Calif.) on Wednesday threatened to introduce a motion to oust Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP senator knocks Biden for 'spreading things that are untrue' in voting rights speech Sen. Ron Johnson: Straight from the horse's mouth Clyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' MORE (D-Calif.) if she attempts to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE or Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe enemy within: Now every day is Jan. 6 Dems worry they'll be boxed out without changes to filibuster, voting rules  This week: Democrats face crunch time on voting rights MORE as a delay tactic to prevent the Senate from confirming Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Some have pushed for Pelosi to impeach Barr or Trump, for a second time, as a stall tactic to keep empty the seat vacated by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSecond gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House Former colleagues honor Reid in ceremony at Capitol Congressional Progressive Caucus backs measure to expand Supreme Court MORE until after the presidential election. Appearing Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Pelosi said, “We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now.” 

McCarthy blasted the comments and said he believes the president is correct in moving forward with a nomination ahead of the election. 

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“The president is supposed to move forward and they will. The Senate is supposed to take the action and they will — it's their constitutional right and they are following through,” he told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday. 

“And I will make you this one promise, listening to the Speaker on television this weekend, if she tries to move for an impeachment based upon the president following the Constitution, I think there will be a move on the floor to no longer have the question of her being Speaker. She may think she has a quiver — we do too,” he added.  

Democrats have been highly critical of the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE’s (R-Ky.) decision to move forward, arguing they are breaking the precedent they themselves set in blocking the confirmation of former President Obama's nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandFBI arrests Oath Keepers leader on Jan. 6 charges Thousands of federal inmates being released this week under law signed by Trump Dangers of human smuggling and Biden's border policy MORE in 2016. Republicans argue that since the White House and the Senate are held by the same party, the circumstances are different and they should proceed. 

Even prior to the Supreme Court vacancy, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus were advocating for McCarthy to introduce the motion to vacate — essentially a motion to oust the Speaker — with some arguing it could be an effective way to demonstrate to voters that they are pushing back against Pelosi's agenda and critical remarks about Republicans. 

The topic was discussed during a closed-door House Republicans meeting on the upcoming election at the Capitol Hill Club Wednesday morning. Lawmakers emerging from the meeting said the discussion was civil and that McCarthy mostly just listened to the various arguments from the Freedom Caucus and other members. 

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"It was civil, and considering we're so many days from Election Day, it was very civil," Rep. Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasProviding affordable housing to recruit our next generation of volunteer firefighters Republicans divided on how hard to push vaccines On The Money: Schumer pressured from all sides on spending strategy | GOP hammers HUD chief over sluggish rental aid | Democrat proposes taxes on commercial space flights MORE (R-Okla.).

But sources in the room said McCarthy also warned colleagues that forcing a floor vote to oust Pelosi before the election could give frontline Democrats, those facing the toughest reelections, a free pass to vote against Pelosi and distance themselves from the Speaker — something that could be politically advantageous for them this fall. 

Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), said they did not think McCarthy would pursue the motion to vacate before the election.

Other senior GOP sources said that the likelihood of moving forward is unlikely due to a lack of quorum within the House Republican Conference. 

Scott Wong contributed.