House GOP pushes Hunter Biden probe despite slim majority

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WASHINGTON (TUSEN) — Even with their worn-out majority in the House, Republicans doubled down this week to use their newfound power next year to investigate the Biden administration and, in particular, the president’s son.

But the interim results have encouraged a White House that has long prepared for this moment. Republicans gained much narrower margins than expected, and aides to President Joe Biden and other Democrats believe voters chastised the GOP for relying on conspiracy theories and Donald Trump-fuelled lies during the 2020 election.

They see it as confirmation for the administration’s playbook for the midterm elections and to focus on and continue legislative performance going forward, unlike the Trump-aligned candidates whose complaints about the president’s son have left their most loyal supporters and were too far in the weeds for the average American. The Democrats retained control of the Senate, and the GOP’s margin in the House is expected to be the narrowest majority in two decades.

“If you look back, we picked up seats in New York, New Jersey, California,” said Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist and public affairs executive. “These weren’t voters coming to the polls because they wanted Hunter Biden investigated — far from it. They came to the polls because they were angry about inflation. They are angry about the gas prices. They are angry about what is going on with the war in Ukraine.”

But House Republicans used their first press conference after winning the majority to discuss presidential son Hunter Biden and the Justice Department, renewing long-held grievances about what they say is a politicized law enforcement agency and a corruption case raised by the Democrats and the media has been overlooked.

“From their first press conference, these congressional Republicans have made it clear that they are going to do one thing in this new Congress, which is investigate, and they are doing it in political retaliation for Biden’s efforts on an agenda that helps working people,” said Kyle Herrig, the founder of the Congressional Integrity Project, a newly launched multimillion-dollar effort by Democratic strategists to counter the onslaught of House GOP probes.

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Within the White House, the office of counsel months ago added staff and strengthened its communications efforts, and the staff delved into research and preparation for the attacks. They have tried to identify their own vulnerabilities and plan effective responses.

Rep. James Comer, incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said there are “troubling questions” of paramount importance about the business dealings of Hunter Biden and one of the president’s brothers, James Biden, that require further investigation.

“Eradicating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government is the primary mission of the Oversight Committee,” said Comer, R-Ky. “That’s why this research has the highest priority.”

Republican lawmakers promised a wealth of new information last week, but what they’ve presented so far is a condensed replay of a few years’ worth of complaints about Hunter Biden’s business dealings, going back to conspiracy theories put forth by Trump.

Hunter Biden joined the board of directors of Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014, around the time his father, then vice president, helped direct the Obama administration’s foreign policy with Ukraine. Senate Republicans have said the nomination may have created a conflict of interest, but they have provided no evidence that the hiring influenced US policy, and they have not implicated Joe Biden in any wrongdoing.

Republican lawmakers and their staff have spent the past year analyzing messages and financial transactions found on a laptop that belonged to Hunter Biden. They’ve long talked about issuing congressional subpoenas to foreign entities doing business with him, and they recently brought in James Mandolfo, a former federal prosecutor, to help with the investigation as general counsel to the Oversight Committee.

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The difference now is that Republicans have the power to execute a subpoena no matter how small their majority.

“The Republicans are moving on,” said Tom Davis, a Republican lawyer who specializes in congressional research and legislative strategy. investigating their own side and over-examining the other side. It didn’t start here.’

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed the GOP focus on investigations as “on-brand” thinking.

“They said they’re going to fight inflation, they said they’re going to make that a priority, then they’ll get the majority, and their top priority isn’t the American family, it’s the president’s family,” she said.

Even some newly elected Republicans oppose the idea.

“The highest priority is tackling inflation and the cost of living. … What I don’t want to see is what we saw in the Trump administration, where the Democrats relentlessly went after the president and the administration,” New York Representative Mike Lawler told TUSEN.

Hunter Biden’s taxes and work abroad are already under federal investigation, with a grand jury in Delaware hearing testimony in recent months.

While he never held office in the presidential campaign or in the White House, his membership on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company and his efforts to close deals in China have long raised questions about whether he traded in public his father’s service, including reported references in his emails to the “great man.”

Joe Biden has said he never spoke to his son about his foreign affairs, and nothing the Republicans have brought forward suggests otherwise. And there is no indication that the federal investigation involves the president.

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Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, have advanced a widely discredited theory that Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor to protect his son and Burisma from investigation. Indeed, Biden pushed for the prosecutor’s dismissal, but that was a reflection of the official position not only of the Obama administration, but of many Western countries and because the prosecutor was seen as soft-spoken on the subject of corruption.

House Republicans have also announced investigations into immigration, government spending and parental rights. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris Wray have been called as potential witnesses.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, incoming chairman of the judiciary, has long complained about what he says is a politicized Justice Department and the ongoing investigations into Trump.

On Friday, Garland appointed special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into the presence of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate, as well as key aspects of a separate investigation related to the January 6, 2021 riot and attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump called the development “the latest in a long line of witch hunts” in a speech Friday night at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Of Joe and Hunter Biden, he asked, “Where’s their special counsel?”

Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political strategist, said it’s one thing if the investigations into Hunter Biden stick to corruption issues, but if it ends up in the kind of petty messages floating around in far-right circles: “I don’t know that the public out there will have a lot of patience for it.”

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