The campaign for President in 2024 won’t all play out in New Hampshire diners and corn fields in Iowa. That’s to say nothing of steel towns in Pennsylvania and dairy farms in Wisconsin.
Let’s presume that President Biden and former President Trump face each other in a 2020 rematch. The battle for the presidency may emerge in two forms. For Democrats who oppose former President Trump: various courtrooms in New York, Miami, Washington, DC and Atlanta. For Republicans who disapprove of President Biden, the venues are closed-door depositions, committee hearings and maybe even articles of impeachment on the House floor.
Democrats think they have the goods on former President Trump on a variety of charges in court – ranging from allegedly stealing secret documents to potentially trying to steal the election.
Republicans think they have the goods on President Biden as they probe Hunter Biden, Biden family businesses and potential links to Mr. Biden himself.
It’s unclear if either of these strategies - or hopes of each side – pays dividends with the electorate. But it’s something which party loyalists on both sides watch closely. And Republicans and Democrats alike are agog that the other side isn’t as outraged at the purported transgressions as they are.
Much has been written about the legal woes facing former President Trump and what it means for the 2024 campaign. Let’s explore the Biden family investigations and consequences for next year.
Most Congressional Republicans are determined to link President Biden to some of the legal issues surrounding the president’s son. The torpedoed plea deal for Hunter Biden coupled with testimony from IRS whistleblowers, a closed-door transcript by former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer and empaneling of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss fuels the outrage.
Most Republicans demanded a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden. But they were aghast when Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss – architect of the now nullified plea agreement.
Weiss offered House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a series of four dates to testify about his inquiry of Hunter Biden and the plea arrangement this fall. But it’s now far from clear if Weiss will ever appear after becoming special counsel. Most special counsels speak to Congress after their inquiries are complete. As special counsel, Weiss has complete authority to decide whether to testify to Congress.
Democrats continue to stand by Weiss. They applaud his independence and argue they have no reservations with his ability to serve. They also remind people that former President Trump nominated Weiss for his post as Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney for Delaware.
"It’s just the judicial process taking place," said Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., on Fox.
However, Bera conceded that such allegations and an inquiry wasn’t good for the country.
"Let the legal process take place if there was wrongdoing," said Bera.
But Congressional Republicans won’t do that. They see an opportunity to go for the jugular with President Biden. And if nothing else, their anti-Biden Republican base compels them to move in that direction.
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"They’ve made it an industry as a family of monetizing access to high people in government," said Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y. "The evidence just continues to pile up. But it’s a web of lies and deceit as the President continues to deny this involvement."
So what shall we look for?
There’s always the possibility of Weiss’s testimony – although unlikely. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., wants Archer to testify in public soon. There’s also the possibility that Weiss’s investigation doesn’t take that long since he already probed Hunter Biden. That said, some Republicans believe the creation of a special counsel - be it Weiss or someone else - could serve as a way to stymie Congress from investigating further. And Jordan and Comer would like to hear from Garland to explain what went into the decision to appoint Weiss – especially if Weiss won’t appear.
That brings us to the push by some Republicans to begin an impeachment inquiry.
On FOX Business recently, Comer said he intended to subpoena the Biden family. That may be problematic amid Weiss’s inquest. But a House vote to launch a formal impeachment inquiry – and thus call witnesses like the Bidens – could give the House more even footing.
Republicans want to know more about the cryptic firms tied to the Biden family.
There are more than 20 shell firms associated with the Bidens.
The cryptic names sometimes echo one another.
Rosemont Seneca Partners. Rosemont Seneca Bohai. Rosemont Seneca Thornton.
Fox asked forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky to review the Biden family bank records released by the House Oversight panel.
Dubinsky initially focused on the sheer number of shell firms in which the Bidens were involved.
"A shell company is just that. Just a shell. It doesn’t have typically an operating business," said Dubinsky. "They’re used in nefarious ways to either launder money or hide a transaction."
In other words, the mere existence of these firms presents a red flag.
"$20 million flows through these accounts, these fake businesses," alleged Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., on Fox.
Republicans have focused in particular on Yelena Baturina, one of the wealthiest women in Russia. Records from the Oversight panel show Baturina wired Rosemont Seneca Thornton $3.5 million in 2014. $2.5 million of that then appears to have gone to Rosemont Seneca Bohai. Baturina then dined with Mr. Biden in Washington when he was vice president in 2014.
"You see $3.5 million moving, coming inbound from Russia. And then it moves in two transactions to Devon Archer and one of Hunter Biden’s companies. That dollar for dollar - that is the signature of a problem," said Dubinsky.
It’s also unclear whether these firms provided a good or service. Republicans believe the linchpin is to demonstrate the commodity was access to the President when he served as Vice President.
Of course, drawing a straight line between all of this and alleged corruption by President Biden is hard to do – even if it’s true.
But from a political standpoint, it doesn’t necessarily have to be true or go back to the president to inflict damage.
Republicans know this encourages their base and makes good on various political promises.
Moreover, this is not necessarily a winning political strategy heading into 2024 for the GOP. It’s far from clear if the public is buying into the Republican arguments. And regardless, the ultra high-profile legal travails of former President Trump could overshadow anything House Republicans do in their investigation of the current president.