Former Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel is running for the state Supreme Court

Former Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Thursday that he is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court against incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in 2025, casting the race as a chance for conservatives to win back a majority and serve as a check on liberals.

Bradley is part of a 4-3 liberal majority that took control of the court in August. She has said she will run for a fourth 10-year term. Schimel, a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge, is the first candidate to announce plans to challenge Bradley in the April 2025 election, but other conservatives are considering getting in the race.

In his comments announcing his candidacy as prepared for delivery, Schimel said: “There is no check on this new liberal Supreme Court majority.”

“The only check on them is to take back the majority by winning in 2025,” he said.

Schimel has been outspoken on abortion and some other political issues that are almost certain to get more attention during the race. Abortion was a key issue in the Supreme Court race this year won by liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz, who ran as a supporter of abortion rights.

As Waukesha County district attorney in 2012, Schimel endorsed a Wisconsin Right to Life legal white paper that argued for keeping on the books the state's ban on abortions except to save the mother's life. A challenge to that ban is expected to come to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, though Planned Parenthood has been offering abortions since September based on a circuit court judge's interpretation of the law. As Wisconsin's attorney general, Schimel supported laws in Indiana and Ohio that limited abortion access.

Schimel also was a staunch supporter of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which he suggested may have been why former President Donald Trump won the state in 2016. Schimel, as attorney general, joined a multistate coalition that sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He also defended Republican-drawn legislative maps that are being challenged before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Schimel, 58, served one term as attorney general starting in 2015. He lost his reelection bid in 2018 to Democrat Josh Kaul. Then-Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, appointed Schimel as a judge after his own defeat but shortly before they both left office. Before being elected attorney general, Schimel spent 25 years as a Waukesha County prosecutor.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said in a statement Thursday night that Schimel "doesn't deserve a promotion to our state’s highest court.”

“Wisconsinites rejected Brad Schimel after a single term as attorney general because his extreme politics and inept mismanagement became too great to ignore, with thousands of rape kits left untested at the State Crime Lab and millions of dollars wasted on partisan efforts to suppress voting rights and push new restrictions on abortion access," Wikler said.

Bradley, 73, was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1995 and is the longest-serving justice on the court. She won her last election in 2015 by 16 points.

Bradley did not return a text message seeking comment.

The court is weighing several high-profile cases that were filed after Protasiewicz's win in April gave liberals a majority. In addition to the redistricting challenge, the court is considering whether to hear cases seeking to overturn Wisconsin's private school voucher program and to weaken powers the Republican-controlled Legislature have used to block pay raises for University of Wisconsin employees.

Protasiewicz's race was the most expensive judicial contest in U.S. history. With majority control in play again in 2025, Bradley's race is likely to break spending records.

Republicans have floated the possibility of impeaching Protasiewicz over comments she made during the campaign voicing her opposition to an abortion ban and Republican-drawn electoral maps.

Schimel said the Protasiewicz race set a dangerous precedent.

“We need to restore confidence in the people of Wisconsin that the justice system will be fair and impartial,” Schimel said in his prepared remarks. “I will be honest about my principles, but will never prejudge a case and will never put my views above the law.”

Campaign Action

Former Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel is running for the state Supreme Court

Former Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Thursday that he is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court against incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in 2025, casting the race as a chance for conservatives to win back a majority and serve as a check on liberals.

Bradley is part of a 4-3 liberal majority that took control of the court in August. She has said she will run for a fourth 10-year term. Schimel, a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge, is the first candidate to announce plans to challenge Bradley in the April 2025 election, but other conservatives are considering getting in the race.

In his comments announcing his candidacy as prepared for delivery, Schimel said: “There is no check on this new liberal Supreme Court majority.”

“The only check on them is to take back the majority by winning in 2025,” he said.

Schimel has been outspoken on abortion and some other political issues that are almost certain to get more attention during the race. Abortion was a key issue in the Supreme Court race this year won by liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz, who ran as a supporter of abortion rights.

As Waukesha County district attorney in 2012, Schimel endorsed a Wisconsin Right to Life legal white paper that argued for keeping on the books the state's ban on abortions except to save the mother's life. A challenge to that ban is expected to come to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, though Planned Parenthood has been offering abortions since September based on a circuit court judge's interpretation of the law. As Wisconsin's attorney general, Schimel supported laws in Indiana and Ohio that limited abortion access.

Schimel also was a staunch supporter of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which he suggested may have been why former President Donald Trump won the state in 2016. Schimel, as attorney general, joined a multistate coalition that sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He also defended Republican-drawn legislative maps that are being challenged before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Schimel, 58, served one term as attorney general starting in 2015. He lost his reelection bid in 2018 to Democrat Josh Kaul. Then-Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, appointed Schimel as a judge after his own defeat but shortly before they both left office. Before being elected attorney general, Schimel spent 25 years as a Waukesha County prosecutor.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said in a statement Thursday night that Schimel "doesn't deserve a promotion to our state’s highest court.”

“Wisconsinites rejected Brad Schimel after a single term as attorney general because his extreme politics and inept mismanagement became too great to ignore, with thousands of rape kits left untested at the State Crime Lab and millions of dollars wasted on partisan efforts to suppress voting rights and push new restrictions on abortion access," Wikler said.

Bradley, 73, was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1995 and is the longest-serving justice on the court. She won her last election in 2015 by 16 points.

Bradley did not return a text message seeking comment.

The court is weighing several high-profile cases that were filed after Protasiewicz's win in April gave liberals a majority. In addition to the redistricting challenge, the court is considering whether to hear cases seeking to overturn Wisconsin's private school voucher program and to weaken powers the Republican-controlled Legislature have used to block pay raises for University of Wisconsin employees.

Protasiewicz's race was the most expensive judicial contest in U.S. history. With majority control in play again in 2025, Bradley's race is likely to break spending records.

Republicans have floated the possibility of impeaching Protasiewicz over comments she made during the campaign voicing her opposition to an abortion ban and Republican-drawn electoral maps.

Schimel said the Protasiewicz race set a dangerous precedent.

“We need to restore confidence in the people of Wisconsin that the justice system will be fair and impartial,” Schimel said in his prepared remarks. “I will be honest about my principles, but will never prejudge a case and will never put my views above the law.”

Campaign Action

House Republicans issue a subpoena to federal prosecutor in Hunter Biden’s case

House Republicans issued a subpoena Tuesday to a federal prosecutor involved in the criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, demanding answers for what they allege is Justice Department interference in the yearslong case into the president's son.

Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Lesley Wolf, the assistant U.S. attorney for Delaware, to appear before the committee by Dec. 7, according to a copy of the congressional subpoena obtained by The Associated Press.

“Based on the Committee’s investigation to date, it is clear that you possess specialized and unique information that is unavailable to the Committee through other sources and without which the Committee’s inquiry would be incomplete,” Jordan wrote in an accompanying letter to Wolf.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The subpoena to Wolf is the latest in a series of demands Jordan and fellow Republican chairmen have made as part of their sprawling impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. His youngest son Hunter and brother James received subpoenas last week as Republicans look to gain ground in their nearly yearlong investigation, which has so failed to uncover evidence directly implicating the president in any wrongdoing.

The inquiry is focused both on the Biden family's international business affairs and the Justice Department's investigation into Hunter Biden, which Republicans claim has been slow-walked and stonewalled since the case was opened in 2018.

Wolf, who serves with David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware in charge of the case, has been accused by whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service of “deviating from standard investigative protocol” and showing preferential treatment because Hunter Biden is the president's son.

Republicans have claimed that it was clear that the prosecutors didn’t want to touch anything that would include Hunter Biden’s father. In one instance, Gary Shapley, an IRS employee assigned to the case, testified that in a meeting with Weiss and Wolf after the 2020 election, he and other agents wanted to discuss an email between Hunter Biden associates where one person made reference to the “big guy.” Shapley said Wolf refused to do so, saying she did not want to ask questions about “dad.”

Other claims relate to an August 2020 email in which Wolf ordered investigators to remove any mention of “Political Figure 1," who was known to be Biden, from a search warrant. In another incident, FBI officials notified Hunter Biden’s Secret Service detail in advance of an effort to interview him and several of his business associates in order to avoid a potential shoot-out between two law enforcement bodies.

Justice Department officials have countered these claims by pointing to the extraordinary set of circumstances surrounding a criminal case into a subject who at the time was the son of a leading presidential candidate. Department policy has long warned prosecutors to take care in charging cases with potential political overtones around the time of an election, to avoid any possible influence on the outcome.

Weiss himself appeared for a closed-door interview this month and denied accusations of political interference.

“Political considerations played no part in our decision-making,” he told the committee.

Nonetheless, Republicans are demanding Wolf appear before lawmakers as she has “first-hand knowledge of the Department’s criminal inquiry of Hunter Biden,” and refused a voluntary request to come in over the summer.

Jordan wrote in the letter to Wolf: “Given your critical role you played in the investigation of Hunter Biden, you are uniquely situated to shed light on whether President Biden played any role in the Department’s investigation and whether he attempted, in any way, to directly or indirectly obstruct either that investigation or our investigation.”

Campaign Action

Wisconsin Supreme Court hearing arguments on redistricting that could result in new maps for 2024

The liberal-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a redistricting case that Democrats hope will result in new, more favorable legislative maps for elections in 2024 that will help them chip away at the large Republican majority.

The case is being closely watched in battleground Wisconsin, a state where four of the past six presidential elections have been decided by fewer than 23,000 votes, but where Republicans have built large majorities in the Legislature under maps they drew over a decade ago.

Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley immediately interrupted the first attorney arguing for new maps, questioning why they waited until after August when liberal justices took majority control of the court. She noted that the newly elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz said during her campaign that the current maps were “rigged.”

“Everybody knows that the reason we’re here is because there was a change in the membership of the court," Bradley said. "You would not have brought this action, right, if the newest justice had lost her election?”

Attorney Mark Gaber, from the Campaign Legal Center, said the election result had nothing to do with the timing of the lawsuit. He said the challenge over whether the districts are unconstitutionally not contiguous would have been filed regardless of the makeup of the court.

“I don't see that as a partisan issue,” Gaber said.

The lawsuit was filed the day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court became controlled 4-3 by liberal justices in August.

Arguments began shortly before 9 a.m. and were slated to run all morning. The court was expected to issue its ruling no later than early in 2024. The state elections commission has said maps must be in place by March 15 if the new districts are to be in play for the 2024 elections.

Democratic voters who filed the lawsuit heard by the court Tuesday argue that the maps passed in 2022, which vary little from those drawn in 2011, are unconstitutionally “unsalvageable” and must be struck down and redrawn. The Legislature counters that Democrats are exercising “raw political power” and trying to take advantage of the new liberal majority on the court to overturn its 2021 ruling that adopted the current maps.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is controlled 4-3 by liberal justices, following the April election victory by Protasiewicz. She called the GOP-drawn maps “unfair” and “rigged” during the campaign, leading Republicans to threaten to impeach her before she had even heard a case. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos backed off, for now, but has kept the threat alive if she votes to strike down the maps.

Democrats want the court to strike down the legislative maps, draw new ones, and order elections under those maps for all 132 state lawmakers in 2024. If the court were to rule that way, the case would certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and it's unclear whether there would be a ruling in time for the 2024 election.

The Legislature argues that if new maps are ordered, nothing should be enacted any sooner than the 2026 election.

Litigation is ongoing in more than dozen states over U.S. House and state legislative districts enacted after the 2020 census. New York is among the most prominent. The state’s highest court heard arguments last week on whether an independent redistricting commission must take another crack at drawing congressional districts. Democrats are hoping a redraw could help them gain seats and, potentially, the House majority.

New Mexico’s Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on an appeal of a lower court ruling that rejected assertions the Democratic-led Legislature had illegally gerrymandered the state’s congressional districts. Last week, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled that state legislative districts drawn by the Republican majority violated the voting rights of two Native American tribes and must be redrawn by Dec. 22.

The Democrats' case in Wisconsin centers on whether the current districts are not contiguous and if they violate the Wisconsin Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.

The majority of current legislative districts — 54 out of 99 in the Assembly and 21 out of 33 in the Senate — violate the state constitution’s contiguity requirement, attorneys challenging the maps argued in filings with the court.

That makes Wisconsin an outlier nationally, with 46 other states having no noncontiguous districts, and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Tennessee having a total of nine noncontiguous districts, attorneys argued.

Wisconsin’s redistricting laws, backed up by state and federal court rulings over the past 50 years, have permitted districts under certain circumstances to be noncontiguous, attorneys for the Legislature argued. Even if the court decided to address the issue, it could only affect alleged areas where districts aren’t contiguous and not upend existing district lines, Republicans argued.

Those seeking new maps contend that the Supreme Court violated the separation of powers doctrine when it adopted the Republican-drawn map that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had previously vetoed, “improperly seizing powers for itself the Constitution assigns to other branches.”

The legislative electoral maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 cemented the party’s majorities, which now stand at 64-35 in the Assembly and a 22-11 supermajority in the Senate.

Since taking the majority in 2011, Republicans have enacted a wide range of conservative priorities. They have all but eliminated collective bargaining for public workers, and since 2019 they’ve been a block on Evers’ agenda, firing Evers appointees and threatening impeachment of Protasiewicz and the state’s elections leader.

Wisconsin’s Assembly districts rank among the most gerrymandered nationally, with Republicans routinely winning far more seats than would be expected based on their average share of the vote, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Campaign Action

White House denounces ‘irresponsible’ subpoenas from House GOP and says they should be withdrawn

The White House is firing back on a recent slate of subpoenas issued by House Republicans targeting members of President Joe Biden’s family and his inner circle of aides, describing the GOP’s impeachment push as an illegitimate endeavor that has repeatedly failed to produce proof of wrongdoing.

The four-page letter from a top White House attorney to Republican committee leaders portrays an overzealous House GOP majority that, according to the letter, has “misrepresented the facts, ignored the overwhelming evidence disproving your claims, and repeatedly shifted the rationale for your ‘inquiry.’”

It calls on Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan to withdraw what the White House described as an “irresponsible set of subpoenas and requests for interviews.”

The White House argued that House Republicans were “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress” for political gain, and have “consistently misrepresented the documents and testimony you have received and then moved the goalposts when your claims have been debunked.”

“This pattern of distortions and falsehoods lays bare that no amount of truthful testimony or document productions will satisfy you and exposes the improper nature of your Committee’s efforts,” Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, wrote in the letter, sent Friday to Comer and Jordan. “Congressional harassment of the President to score political points is precisely the type of conduct that the Constitution and its separation of powers was meant to prevent.”

In a long-anticipated move, Comer this month issued subpoenas to Biden’s son Hunter and brother James, insisting that the committee has found indications of “influence peddling” by members of the president’s family in their business dealings. But after nearly a year, House Republicans have yet to provide evidence that directly implicates Joe Biden in any wrongdoing.

Comer responded Friday that if the president had nothing to hide, then he should make his aides available to the committee for interviews on the classified documents probe.

“President Biden and this White House are seeking to obstruct our investigation at every turn,” Comer said. "We are not deterred by this obstruction and will continue to follow the facts and hold President Biden accountable to the American people.”

Hunter Biden’s representatives, while dismissing the subpoenas as a “political stunt,” have said he would be willing to speak to the Oversight committee “in a public forum and at the right time.” An attorney for James Biden said a subpoena was unnecessary because the committee has already reviewed private bank records and transactions between the two brothers. The records concerned two loans that took place when Biden was not in office or a candidate for president.

Sauber noted that all those targeted for subpoenas and voluntary interviews last week are private citizens, including Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s son Beau, and Sara Biden, the president’s sister-in-law.

Earlier this week, Comer also subpoenaed former White House counsel Dana Remus and other White House aides to speak with the committee on whether Biden had mishandled classified information — an issue currently under investigation by special counsel Robert Hur.

“These requests appear to be motivated by a desire to boost your subpoena numbers, as Chairman Jordan tweeted just this week, rather than any legitimate investigative interest,” Sauber wrote. On the social media platform X, Jordan emphasized that more than 20 people had received subpoenas and interview requests on their impeachment efforts, and that there would be “more to come.”

In his letter, Sauber also stressed that the House has not authorized a formal impeachment inquiry by a vote of the full House and that new Speaker Mike Johnson — when former President Donald Trump was facing the prospect of impeachment by a Democratic-led House — said any inquiry without a House vote was a “sham.”

Campaign Action

Joe Biden wants to complete his goals on civil rights, taxes, and social services if he’s reelected

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has a simple reelection pitch to voters — let him "finish the job."

So what does that mean? What's left for him to get done?

Unlike Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination who has been releasing videos and statements detailing his agenda, Biden hasn't formally released his plans as part of his campaign.

But his ambitions are no secret, and his goals for child care, community college and prescription drugs have been laid out in detail during the Democrat's first term. He also has unfulfilled promises on civil rights, such as protecting access to the ballot box, preventing police misconduct and restoring the nationwide right to abortion. Banning firearms known as assault rifles remains a priority as well.

The result is a second-term agenda that could look a lot like Biden's first-term agenda, with some of the same political challenges. Almost none of this can get done without cooperation from Congress, and many of these goals already have been blocked or pared down because of opposition on Capitol Hill.

Biden has achieved bipartisan victories on infrastructure projects and public funding for the domestic computer chip industry. But Democrats would need to win wide majorities in both the House and the Senate to clear a path for the rest of his plans.

"We're going to finish as much of the job as we can in the next year," said Bruce Reed, Biden's deputy chief of staff. "And finish the rest after that."

Biden's campaign expressed confidence that the president's agenda would stack up well against Republicans in next year's election. Kevin Munoz, a spokesman, described the election as "a choice between fighting for the middle class or shilling for rich special interests" and he said "it's a contrast we are more than happy to make."

One other difference between Biden and Trump doesn't fit neatly into policy white papers, but it's core to their political foundation. Biden has made defending American democracy a cornerstone of his administration, while Trump tried to overturn his election loss in 2020.

The result of the 2024 campaign could reshape not only government policy but the future of the country's bedrock institutions.

TAXES

Biden's plans are expensive and he doesn't want to increase the deficit, so that means he's looking to raise taxes on the wealthy.

He already has succeeded in implementing a 15% minimum tax on companies with annual income exceeding $1 billion.

Biden has proposed raising the top tax rate to 39.6%, the corporate tax rate to 28% and the stock buyback tax to 4%.

He wants a minimum tax of 25% on the wealthiest Americans, a levy that would be applied not only to income but unrealized capital gains. The idea, which Biden called the "billionaire minimum income tax," could prove difficult to put in place, not to mention extremely hard to push through Congress, given Republican opposition to higher taxes.

SOCIAL SERVICES AND HEALTH CARE

Biden's original signature plan was known as Build Back Better, a cornucopia of proposals that would have dramatically changed the role of the federal government in Americans' lives.

It was pared down because of resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who is a key vote in the narrowly divided Senate and announced this past week that he will not seek reelection. The result was the Inflation Reduction Act, which included financial incentives for clean energy and limits on prescription drug costs, but not many other programs.

Biden will want to bring back the ideas that were left on the cutting room floor. That includes making two years of community college tuition free, offering universal preschool and limiting the cost of child care to 7% of income for most families.

He also wants to resuscitate the expanded child tax credit. The American Rescue Plan, the pandemic-era relief legislation, boosted the credit to $3,000 for children over six and $3,600 for children younger than age 6. The expansion lapsed after a year, returning the credit to $2,000 per child, when his original package stalled.

More work is left on prescription drugs. The monthly cost of insulin was capped at $35 for Medicare recipients. Biden wants the same limit for all patients.

GUN VIOLENCE

The White House recently announced a new office dedicated to preventing gun violence. Biden also signed legislation that's intended to help officials keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and other dangerous people.

But Biden's biggest goal, a ban on so-called assault weapons, remains out of reach because of Republican opposition. Such a ban was in place from 1994 to 2004, but it wasn't extended after it expired. Although the proposal hasn't been spelled out in detail, it would likely affect popular high-powered weapons such as the AR-15, which can shoot dozens of bullets at a fast pace.

Another item on the wish list is universal background checks, which increase scrutiny of sales conducted through gun shows or other unlicensed avenues.

CIVIL RIGHTS

Biden took office at a time of national upheaval over the role of racism in policing and the future of democracy. George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, was murdered by a white police officer, and Trump tried to overturn Biden's election victory, leading to the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.

Biden promised to address both of these issues through landmark legislation, but he came up short of his goals.

On policing, bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill failed to reach a deal, particularly when it came to making it easier to sue over allegations of misconduct. So Biden instead crafted an executive order with input from activists and police. The final version changes rules for federal law enforcement, but it does little to alter how local departments do their jobs.

He similarly issued an executive order on voting rights that aims to expand registration efforts. But Democratic legislation intended to solidify access to the ballot box failed to advance when some members of the party refused to sidestep Senate filibuster rules to pass it.

Biden's presidency was upended by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed nationwide access to abortion. It's proved to be a potential campaign issue for Democrats, but they have had less success in Congress. Biden said that if his party picks up more seats, he will push for legislation codifying the right to abortion.

IMMIGRATION

On Biden's first day in office, he sent Congress his proposal for overhauling the country's immigration system. The idea went nowhere.

But the president would want to take another swing at the issue in a second term. It will prove an especially urgent topic as migrants continue crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the country looks for the next generation of workers to achieve its economic goals.

Biden wants to allow people who are in the United States illegally to apply for legal status and eventually citizenship. He also wants a smoother and expanded visa process, particularly for foreign graduates of American universities. These steps would be paired with additional resources for border enforcement.

UKRAINE AND ISRAEL

Biden is facing two wars on two continents, and the fallout from each conflict will shape a second term even if the fighting ends before that.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for almost two years, and Israel and Hamas began their latest clash about a month ago. Biden wants to send military support to Ukraine and Israel, something that he describes as "vital" to U.S. national security interests.

"History has taught us when terrorists don't pay a price for their terror, when dictators don't pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction," he said in a recent Oval Office address.

His plans will require challenging congressional negotiations. Some Republicans are resisting more assistance for Ukraine after Congress has already approved $113 billion in security, economic and humanitarian resistance.

Both conflicts will likely require years of U.S. involvement. For example, Biden is looking for a new opportunity to push for a two-state solution in the Middle East, creating an independent Palestinian country alongside Israel.

CLIMATE

Fighting global warming is one of the areas where Biden has had the most success. The Inflation Reduction Act includes nearly $375 billion for climate change, much of it going toward financial incentives for electric cars, clean energy and other initiatives. Biden is also pushing stricter regulations on vehicles and power plants.

But the U.S. is not yet on track to meet Biden's ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to independent analysts. And there's a lot of work ahead to ensure new programs reach their potential.

One hurdle is red tape for energy projects. The White House argues that it's too hard to build infrastructure such as transmission lines, but legislation to address the issue would likely require compromises with Republicans, who see an opportunity to grease the skids for additional fossil fuel development.

Campaign Action

House Republicans will subpoena Hunter and James Biden as their impeachment inquiry ramps back up

House Republicans will issue subpoenas on Wednesday to members of President Joe Biden's family, taking their most aggressive step yet in an impeachment inquiry bitterly opposed by Democrats that is testing the reach of congressional oversight powers.

The subpoenas were expected to be issued later Wednesday afternoon. The long-awaited move by Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to subpoena the president's son Hunter and his brother James comes as Republicans look to gain ground in their nearly yearlong investigation. So far, they have failed to uncover evidence directly implicating the president in any wrongdoing.

But Republicans say the evidence trail they have uncovered paints a troubling picture of “influence peddling” by Biden's family in their business dealings, particularly with clients overseas.

"Now, the House Oversight Committee is going to bring in members of the Biden family and their associates to question them on this record of evidence,” Comer, of Kentucky, said in a statement.

The stakes are exceedingly high, as the inquiry could result in Republicans bringing impeachment charges against Biden, the ultimate penalty for what the U.S. Constitution describes as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The subpoenas demand that Hunter Biden and James Biden as well as former business associate Rob Walker appear before the Oversight Committee for a deposition. Lawmakers also requested that James Biden's wife, Sara Biden, and Hallie Biden, the wife of the president's deceased son Beau, appear voluntarily for transcribed interviews.

Requests for comment from Hunter Biden, who lives in California, and James Biden, who's from Royal Oak, Maryland, were not immediately returned.

Both the White House and the Biden family's personal lawyers have dismissed the investigation as a political ploy aimed at hurting the Democratic president. They say the probe is a blatant attempt to help former President Donald Trump, the early front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, as he runs again for the White House.

Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell said the investigation has been full of “worn-out, false, baseless, or debunked claims.” In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday morning, Lowell urged the new speaker to rein in the "partisan political games.”

Johnson, now settling into the speakership after replacing Kevin McCarthy as the top Republican in the House, has given his blessing to the inquiry and has hinted that a decision could come soon on whether to pursue articles of impeachment against Biden.

“I think we have a constitutional responsibility to follow this truth where it leads,” Johnson told Fox News Channel recently. He also said in a separate Fox interview that he would support Comer's decision to subpoena the president's son, saying “desperate times call for desperate measures, and that perhaps is overdue."

Since January, Republicans have been investigating the Biden family for what they claim is a pattern of “influence peddling” spanning back to when Biden was Barack Obama's vice president. Comer claims the committee had “uncovered a mountain of evidence” that he said would show how Biden abused his power and repeatedly lied about a “wall” between his political position and his son’s private business dealings.

While questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business, no evidence has emerged to prove that Joe Biden, in his current or previous office, abused his role or accepted bribes.

Campaign Action

Special counsel in the Hunter Biden case insists he was the ‘decision-maker’ in rare testimony

The prosecutor overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation testified Tuesday that he had the ultimate authority in the yearslong case as he made an unprecedented appearance before Congress to rebut Republicans' explosive claims that the probe has been plagued with interference.

Weiss' interview with the House Judiciary Committee marked the first time a special counsel has ever testified to lawmakers in the middle of a probe. He agreed to the unusual appearance under heavy pressure from House Republicans, who are looking to ramp up their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and his family.

In his opening statement, Weiss told lawmakers he would not answer questions that could jeopardize the investigation and would only talk about the scope of his authority. “I am, and have been, the decision-maker on this case,” he told lawmakers. “I do not, however, make these decisions in a vacuum.”

He acknowledged being required to follow Justice Department guidelines and processes as well as federal law as he carries out his investigation. But those requirements “did not interfere with my decision-making authority,” he said.

No one at the Justice Department, including U.S. attorneys or the tax division, blocked or prevented him from pursuing charges or taking other necessary steps in the investigation, Weiss said.

Lawmakers leaving the interview with Weiss described it as “tedious” and “a waste of time” as the federal prosecutor was bound by Justice Department rules that limit his ability to talk about an ongoing investigation.

“Mr. Weiss was here in incarnate, but not particularly in spirit,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said during a lunch break. He added that any questions Republicans had about the investigation, Weiss would “demure and say that it was just part of his deliberative process.”

Democrats accused Republicans of trying to interfere with the Hunter Biden investigation by bringing Weiss in to testify.

“This is unprecedented. You never interrupt a prosecution with congressional hearings. This is the first time it’s ever happened,” Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., said after leaving the interview. “And the fact that he can answer your questions is an obvious byproduct of that because he doesn’t want to do anything or say anything that will disrupt a criminal prosecution.”

The rare move by the Justice Department to allow Weiss' testimony before the conclusion of an investigation indicates just how seriously the department is taking accusations of interference.

The interview came after months of back-and-forth negotiations between Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department after lawmakers subpoenaed several investigators and attorneys involved in the Hunter Biden case.

In July, Weiss, looking to correct the record of what he and the department see as a misrepresentation of the investigation, agreed to come to Capitol Hill but only if he was able to testify in a public hearing where he could directly respond to claims of wrongdoing by Republicans.

The Justice Department remained willing to have Weiss testify publicly even after the implosion of a plea agreement with Hunter Biden that could have effectively closed the case, but said he couldn't make more than one appearance in the near term. The two parties ultimately agreed on a closed-door interview with both Democratic and Republican members and their respective staff.

The interview on Tuesday focused on testimony from an Internal Revenue Service agent who claimed that under Weiss, the investigation into the president’s son was “slow-walked” and mishandled. Weiss, who was originally appointed by then-President Donald Trump, has denied one of the more explosive allegations by saying in writing that he had the final say over the case.

And he did so again behind closed doors on Tuesday when he denied bowing to political pressure in the five-year-long investigation, saying the decisions have been based on “the facts and the law.”

“Political considerations played no part in our decision-making,” he said.

Weiss added that he did not feel the need to request special counsel status until August and when he did it was quickly granted by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Like other special counsels, he will prepare a report at the end of his investigation that’s expected to be publicly released.

Two other U.S. attorneys from Washington and California testified in recent weeks that they didn’t block Weiss from filing charges in their districts, though they declined to partner with him on it.

But the IRS whistleblower, who testified publicly over the summer, insists his testimony reflects a pattern of interference and preferential treatment in the Hunter Biden case and not just disagreement with their superiors about what investigative steps to take.

Questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings overall have been central to a GOP-led impeachment inquiry into the president. That’s been led in part by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, who had a prominent role in the questioning Tuesday.

Campaign Action

Special counsel in Hunter Biden case to testify before lawmakers in ‘unprecedented step’

The prosecutor overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation is expected to testify on Tuesday, marking the first time a special counsel will appear before Congress in the middle of a probe. It comes as House Republicans are aiming to ramp up their impeachment inquiry into the president and his family after weeks of stalemate.

David Weiss is set to appear for a transcribed interview before members of the House Judiciary Committee as the U.S. attorney battles Republican allegations that he did not have full authority in the yearslong case into the president's son.

“Mr. Weiss is prepared to take this unprecedented step of testifying before the conclusion of his investigation to make clear that he’s had and continues to have full authority over his investigation and to bring charges in any jurisdiction,” Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for Weiss, said in a statement Monday.

The rare move by the Justice Department to allow a special counsel or any federal prosecutor to face questioning before the conclusion of an investigation indicates just how seriously the department is taking accusations of interference.

Weiss' appearance comes after months of back-and-forth negotiations between Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department as lawmakers subpoenaed several investigators and attorneys involved in the Hunter Biden case.

In July, Weiss, looking to correct the record of what he and the department see as a misrepresentation of the investigation, agreed to come to Capitol Hill but only if he was able to testify in a public hearing where he could directly respond to claims of wrongdoing by Republicans.

The two parties ultimately agreed on a closed-door interview with both Democratic and Republican members and their respective staff.

The interview Tuesday is expected to focus on testimony from an Internal Revenue Service agent who claimed that under Weiss, the investigation into the president’s son was “slow-walked” and mishandled. Weiss has denied one of the more explosive allegations by saying in writing that he had the final say over the case.

Two other U.S. Attorneys from Washington and California testified in recent weeks that they didn’t block Weiss from filing charges in their districts, though they declined to partner with him on it.

But the IRS whistleblower, who testified publicly over the summer, insists his testimony reflects a pattern of interference and preferential treatment in the Hunter Biden case and not just disagreement with their superiors about what investigative steps to take.

Questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings overall have been central to a GOP-led impeachment inquiry into the president. That’s been led in part by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, who is expected to have a prominent role in the questioning Tuesday.

But what information, if any, Weiss will be able to provide to Congress is unclear as under Justice Department policy and the law, he will be unable to address the specifics of his investigation.

In general, open investigations are kept under wraps to protect evidence, keep witnesses from being exposed, and avoid giving defense attorneys fodder to ultimately challenge their findings.

In the Hunter Biden case, defense attorneys have already indicated they plan to challenge the gun charges he is currently facing on several other legal fronts and suggested that prosecutors bowed to political pressure in filing those charges.

Campaign Action

Republican Peter Meijer, who supported Trump’s impeachment, enters Michigan’s US Senate race

Peter Meijer, a Republican who served one term in Congress before being ousted by voters following a vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump, announced Monday that he will run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan.

Meijer joins a field of more than a dozen candidates vying for a seat that’s been held by Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow for more than two decades. Stabenow shocked many in the state in January by announcing her retirement, creating a wide open race in the battleground state.

“My wife and I prayed hard about this race and how we can best serve our state and our nation. We considered every aspect of the campaign, and are confident we have the best chance of taking back this seat for the Republicans and fighting hard for a conservative future,” Meijer said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We are in dark and uncertain times, but we have made it through worse. The challenges are great, but so is our country. If we are to see another great American century, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to be bold, will do the work, and can’t be bought.”

Meijer is an heir to a Midwestern grocery store empire. His name recognition and fundraising ability instantly make him a top candidate in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. He joins former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the Republican field, while the Democratic field has been led by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and includes actor Hill Harper.

Slotkin announced her intentions in February, but the Republican field had remained relatively empty until Rogers announced a campaign in September and Craig did so in October. Slotkin had nearly $4 million more in the bank than any other Senate candidate through September, according to campaign finance numbers released earlier this month.

Meijer, who is from Grand Rapids, is a former Army reserve officer who served in Iraq. He was seen as part of the next generation of Republican leaders when he was elected to the U.S. House in 2020 at only 32 year old. But a vote to impeach Trump just two weeks into Meijer’s first-term made him an immediate target of Trump loyalists.

Meijer was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021 following the deadly mob siege of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He would go on to lose reelection to a Trump-backed primary opponent in 2022 despite having a significant fundraising advantage.

Questions still linger about whether a moderate candidate who voted to impeach Trump can survive a Republican primary. Trump won Michigan in 2016, and his endorsed candidates have overwhelmingly won primaries before losing by wide margins in general elections.

If Meijer could get past the GOP primary, he likely would present a formidable challenge to the Democratic nominee. His surname is one of the most recognizable in the state, and his reputation as a moderate Republican could help in a state that’s trended Democratic in recent years.

Republicans have taken just one of Michigan’s last 15 Senate, races but the margin of victory for Democrats has shrunk every election since Democratic Sen. Carl Levin won reelection in 2008 by a 29% margin. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters won reelection over GOP challenger John James by less than 2% in 2020, the closest race in more than two decades.

Aided in part by turmoil in the GOP, Democrats won decisive victories in 2022, taking control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in decades and maintaining control of the governor’s office. The party also won nearly every competitive U.S. House race in Michigan last year.

Defending the Michigan seat could prove crucial for Democrats in their effort to maintain the Senate, where the party holds a 51-49 majority and also faces tough headwinds as they defend seats in Republican-leaning states from West Virginia to Montana and Ohio.

Campaign Action