House Republicans push impeachment resolution against David Chipman as move looms for moderate Senate Democrats

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Some House Republicans are pushing a resolution to impeach David Chipman, President Biden’s candidate for head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) – even before it’s confirmed by the Senate.

The effort, which is more of a political message than anything else, is being led by Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont. It comes as at least five moderate Democrats remain undecided on the controversial candidate with a history of working for major gun control groups, and the timing of Chipman’s final confirmation remains uncertain.

The White House and a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday on when Chipman’s nomination could be put to a vote. This is despite the fact that Chipman left the Senate Judiciary Committee in a party line vote nearly a month ago.

“David Chipman’s confirmation to the ATF would be a direct threat to Americans’ Second Amendment rights and the rule of law,” Rosendale said in a statement regarding his impeachment resolution. “Not only has Chipman already given false testimony in Congress, but his gun control statements are proof that his confirmation would be a failure to uphold and defend our constitutional rights. If appointed, both are offenses punishable by impeachment and deserve Congress to consider its removal. “

In this September 25, 2019 file photo, Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Chipman is now President Biden's candidate to lead the ATF.  (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, file)
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In this September 25, 2019 file photo, Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington. Chipman is now President Biden’s candidate to lead the ATF. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, file)
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The impeachment resolution includes two articles, one alleging that Chipman failed to “support and defend” the Second Amendment and thus the Constitution, and a second alleging that he lied to Congress when he denied them. allegations that he lost his service weapon as an ATF agent. .

Senators asked if Chipman had ever lost his service weapon, and at least one staff member said his office had received information contradicting Chipman’s denials. But claims that Chipman lost his service weapon remain unverified, and the ATF previously told Fox News that there is no record of Chipman losing track of his weapon.

The impeachment resolution has 11 Republican co-sponsors in addition to Rosendale: Reps Bob Good, R-Va. ; Jeff Duncan, SRC; Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga .; Ralph Norman, SRC; Jody Hice, R-Ga .; Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn .; Scott Perry, R-Pa .; Alex Mooney, RW.Va .; Andy Harris, R-Md .; Paul Gosar, R-Arizona; and Andrew Clyde, R-Ga.

The resolution will almost certainly never be seriously considered by the Democratic-controlled House, and it is unlikely to gain traction with even much of the Republican conference. But it underscores the GOP’s staunch opposition to Chipman on the part of Republicans – a sentiment not confined to fiery conservatives.

Moderate Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, spoke out against Chipman’s confirmation weeks ago, calling him “unusually confrontational” and saying he had “made statements that demean gun owners to law-abiding fire ”.

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Collins was probably referring to a comment Chipman made about Cheddar News last year about an increase in firearms purchases.

Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., In 2020. The tester was not decided whether he would vote to confirm David Chipman to lead the ATF.  (REUTERS / Leah Millis / POOL)

Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., In 2020. The tester was not decided whether he would vote to confirm David Chipman to lead the ATF. (REUTERS / Leah Millis / POOL)
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“They might think they’re all ready to go,” Chipman said of the new gun owners. “But unfortunately, they are more like Tiger King and they put themselves and their families in danger.”

Chipman was also criticized for comments he made in a 2019 Reddit “Ask Me Anything”. He claimed that people who did not check their background to buy a gun often commit crimes afterwards and said: “This is a perfect opportunity to arrest people before they commit crimes.”

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, called Chipman’s remarks “the kind of thing reserved for bad post-apocalyptic dystopian novels and films.”

It is against this backdrop that at least five Democratic senators have yet to publicly pledge to support Chipman’s nomination, and the White House and Schumer are unsure of when the candidate could potentially speak.

Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., Is still undecided on Chipman’s appointment, according to his spokesman Andy Bixler.

Senator Angus King, I-Maine, wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Representative John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, May.  5, 2020 (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Senator Angus King, I-Maine, wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Representative John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, May. 5, 2020 (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, Pool)
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“As a proud gun owner, Senator Tester believes the ATF needs a strong leader to support the agency’s law enforcement mission,” Bixler told Fox News Wednesday. . “Senator Tester will continue to review David Chipman’s case and testimony to ensure he supports our courageous law enforcement officers and respects the Montanan’s Second Amendment rights.”

Senator Angus King, I-Maine, “continues to consider his nomination,” spokesman Matthew Felling told Fox News.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Is also undecided, and his office did not respond to a Fox News request for comment on Wednesday.

Senators Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Also did not take a public position on Chipman, and their offices did not respond to requests for comment. Manchin admitted in June that “there is a lot of controversy” around Chipman, according to Politics. “I am really undecided,” he said.

At least one moderate Democrat has entered Chipman’s column – Senator Maggie Hassan’s office, DN.H., told Fox News it supports Chipman.

Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., chairs a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the infrastructure needs of the U.S. energy sector, western water and public lands, at the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday 23 June 2021. Manchin has not publicly announced how he will vote on the nomination of David Chipman to lead the ATF.  (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., chairs a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the infrastructure needs of the U.S. energy sector, western water and public lands, at the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday 23 June 2021. Manchin has not publicly announced how he will vote on the nomination of David Chipman to lead the ATF. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The White House defended Chipman. Spokesman Michael Gwin previously told Fox News that Chipman “served honorably in law enforcement for 25 years – promoted to positions of trust and management at the ATF, participating in complex investigations and becoming endangering as a member of the Bureau’s SWAT team. “

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Gwin also recently told the Wall Street Journal that the president “looks forward to the Senate voting quickly on Chipman’s appointment as director of the ATF.”

Some Republicans, meanwhile, are lambasting Democrats that they won’t reject Chipman, who is backed by powerful gun control groups Brady and Giffords.

“Senator Schumer has ceded all control to anti-gun groups, and he will not stand up to them, even if it hurts vulnerable Democrats like Maggie Hassan,” a Republican aide told Fox News.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.

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