WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with a tattered majority in the House, Republicans doubled this week about using their new powers next year to investigate the Biden administration and the president’s son in particular.

But the interim results have encouraged the White House, which has been preparing for this moment for a long time. Republicans provided a much smaller margin than expectedand aides to President Joe Biden and other Democrats believe voters have punished the Republican Party for relying on conspiracy theories and Donald Trump’s lies in the 2020 election.

They see it as a validation of the administration’s playbook for the midterms and beyond to focus on legislative accomplishments and build on them, unlike Trump-friendly candidates whose complaints about the president’s son have appealed to their most loyal supporters and are too far from weed. for the average American. Democrats retained control of the Senate, and the GOP’s lead in the House is expected to be its smallest majority in two decades.

“If you look back, we’ve picked up seats in New York, New Jersey, California,” said Mike DuHaime, Republican strategist and executive director of public affairs. “These were not voters who came to the polls because they wanted an investigation into Hunter Biden — far from it. They came to the election because they were uncomfortable with inflation. They are worried about gas prices. They are outraged by what is happening with the war in Ukraine.”

But House Republicans used their first press conference after winning a majority to discuss the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and the Justice Department, reviving long-standing complaints about what they say is a politicized law enforcement agency and a stunning corruption case missed by Democrats and the media.

“In their first press conference, these Republicans in Congress made it clear that one thing they’re going to do in the new Congress is investigate, and they’re doing it for political payback for Biden’s efforts on an agenda that helps working people,” – said Kyle Herrig, founder of the Congressional Integrity Project, a recently revived multimillion-dollar effort by Democratic strategists to counter the onslaught of GOP investigations in the House.

Inside the White House, the counsel’s office added staff and increased its communications efforts months ago, and staffers were deep in research and preparations for the attacks. They worked to try to identify their own weak points and plan effective responses.

Representative James Comer, the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said there are “disturbing questions” of extreme importance about the business dealings of Hunter Biden and one of the president’s brothers, James Biden, that require a deeper investigation.

“The eradication of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government is a primary mission of the Oversight Committee,” said Comer, D-Kyiv. “As such, this investigation is a top priority.”

Last week, Republican lawmakers promised reams of new information, but what they’ve presented so far has been a condensed list of complaints about Hunter Biden’s business dealings over the years that go back to conspiracy theories floated by Trump.

Hunter Biden Joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014, around the time his father, then the vice president, was helping implement the Obama administration’s foreign policy toward Ukraine. Senate Republicans said that the appointment may have caused a conflict of interestbut they presented no evidence that the hiring influenced US policy, and they did not accuse Joe Biden of any wrongdoing.

Republican lawmakers and their staff spent the past year analyzing messages and financial transactions found on a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden. They have long discussed issuing congressional subpoenas to foreign entities that have done business with him, and they recently brought in James Mandolf, a former federal prosecutor, to help with the investigation as the Oversight Committee’s lead counsel.

The difference now is that Republicans will have the power to enforce subpoenas, however small their majority may be.

“Republicans are going to move forward,” said Tom Davis, a Republican lawyer who specializes in congressional investigations and legislative strategy. – I think that their members are enthusiastic about it. Look, the 40-year trend is for parties to under-investigate their own and over-investigate the other side. It didn’t start here.”

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

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

Even some newly elected Republicans oppose the idea.

“The main priority is the fight against inflation and the cost of living. … What I don’t want to see is what we’ve seen in the Trump administration, where Democrats have relentlessly gone after the president and the administration,” New York Rep.-elect Mike Lawler said on CNN.

Hunter Biden’s taxes and foreign business dealings are already under federal investigation, and a grand jury in Delaware has been hearing testimony in recent months.

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

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

Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters floated the widely discredited theory that Biden pushed for the firing The chief prosecutor of Ukraine to protect his son and Burisma from the investigation. Biden did push for the prosecutor to be fired, but that was a reflection of the official position not only of the Obama administration, but also of many Western countries, and because the prosecutor was perceived as soft on corruption.

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

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the incoming Judiciary chairman, has long complained about what he calls a politicized Justice Department and the ongoing Trump investigation.

on friday Garland appointed a special counsel 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 uprising and attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump called it “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 for the Hunter Biden investigation to touch on corruption issues, but if it devolves into vile messages floating around in far-right circles, “I don’t know that the public is going to have much patience for that.” “.

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