Biden’s work with House GOP will be affected by its investigations of his son

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Biden’s work with House GOP will be affected by its investigations of his son

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Divided government will test as never before the tension between President Joe Biden’s stated commitment to bipartisan deal-making and his frequent resort to partisan sniping.

It’s a contradiction that dates back to Biden’s 36 years as the Democratic senator from Delaware and his eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president. It also was at the heart of Biden’s 2020 campaign for the presidency. Biden, in his successful run against former President Donald Trump, simultaneously pledged to be an institutionalist who could work across the aisle and a transformational progressive on the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, pursuing radically different voting blocs.

HUNTER BIDEN HIRES JARED KUSHNER’S LAWYER AHEAD OF EXPECTED GOP INVESTIGATIONS

But now Biden faces a Republican-run House for the first time since he arrived in the Oval Office, even though the Senate’s Democratic majority remains intact (and even a bit larger than before) at a 51-49 partisan edge over Republicans.

Democratic strategists told the Washington Examiner that Biden’s first impulse would be to try to work with the new GOP majority until that possibility is exhausted. At that point, he would pivot to the 2024 campaign against Republicans. “Then all hell will break loose,” one said.

But the inevitable congressional investigations into the president’s son, Hunter Biden, could ensure all hell breaks loose earlier than that. The younger Biden is already being scrutinized by federal authorities over his foreign business dealings, with reports of possible tax and gun charges trickling out weeks before the midterm elections.

“The next step is for the U.S. Attorney in Delaware, a Trump administration holdover, to decide on whether to file such charges,” the Washington Post reported in October. Republicans seizing control of House committees and the corresponding subpoena power will add an earlier step.

Hunter Biden’s often-lucrative business ventures in Ukraine and with a Chinese energy company have been under growing scrutiny over the past five years. At a minimum, they raise concerns about whether he is trading on his father’s name for money and influence in close proximity to adversarial foreign regimes.

Republicans set to capture the gavels of the relevant committees go a step further: They worry the president himself is compromised or even profiting directly as the alleged “Big Guy” in correspondence about a planned multimillion-dollar business deal between a Chinese conglomerate, Hunter Biden, and his uncle, presidential brother James Biden. “The Hunter Biden investigation is slowly becoming the Joe Biden investigation,” Rep. James Comer (R-KY) told Time before ascending to the House Oversight Committee chairmanship.

While conceding the optics are poor, many Democrats think Hunter Biden is no worse (or no more indicative of presidential malfeasance) than past first-family black sheep, such as Billy Carter or Roger Clinton.

The president, while acknowledging his son’s affiliation with a Ukrainian energy company even as the father was the Obama administration’s point man in Kyiv was a “mistake,” is reluctant to concede even that much. Joe Biden sees the Republican fixation on Hunter Biden as a malicious attack on his troubled son, now 52, who lost his mother in an automobile accident at a young age and has for years struggled with drug addiction.

Efforts to investigate the Hunter-Burisma matter are inexplicably tied to former President Donald Trump and his first impeachment trial. And it has taken on an even more personal turn for the current president who, since the 2015 death of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, has taken to calling Hunter Biden “my only surviving son.”

“The president is going to have a hard time keeping his famous temper in check,” said a Democrat close to the White House. “Understandably so.”

Hunter Biden has retained attorney Abbe Lowell as legal counsel ahead of the congressional inquiries. Lowell’s past client list reads like a virtual Who’s Who of figures at the center of Washington scandals: former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Trump’s son-in-law and former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

The White House has repeatedly sidestepped questions about Hunter Biden, saying he does not work for the administration in any capacity (unlike Kushner or his wife Ivanka Trump) and referring federal investigation queries to the Justice Department. But the president’s press secretary has been critical of GOP lawmakers who plan to look into these matters.

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“Congressional Republicans ran saying that they were going to fight inflation, they said that they were going to make that a priority — they were very clear about that these past several months,” top Biden spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “Instead what they are doing is they’re focusing … they’re making their top priority, they get the majority, and their top priority is actually not focusing on the American families but focusing on the president’s family.”

As the White House gets ready to push back against Republican oversight on a variety of fronts, this line of argument on Hunter Biden could become a more prominent part of its messaging.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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