The new Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer, stated on Monday morning that “influence peddling” by President Joe Biden’s family would be a key investigative priority for him, beginning with public hearings next week.
“We have proof that this family has taken in millions of dollars, which we have been open about and will continue to be open about”, and millions of dollars from our adversaries, mostly in China,” Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. “I believe we need to figure out what the money was used. Who provided the funds?”
The president and his family have repeatedly denied any misconduct in their international business operations. Donald Trump’s children have also been accused of having conflicts of interest in profitable overseas business partnerships.
Mr Comer stated on Monday that the Trump administration has a problem with influence peddling, specifically citing Mr Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr Kushner, too, has denied any misconduct.
Investigations into Joe Biden’s finances, including his son Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, are only one item on Mr Comer’s ambitious agenda.
The younger Mr Biden, 52, is already under federal investigation but has yet to face charges. He has no affiliation with the administration, and the White House has stated that the inquiries were politically motivate.
The oversight committee will hear from Twitter executives next Tuesday on their decision to temporarily remove links to a New York Post piece about Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
The handling of the laptop story, which revealed proof of the younger Mr Biden’s business contacts with China and Ukraine, as well as his struggles with drug misuse, has fueled conservative resentment at Facebook.
The committee will hold hearings on Wednesday regarding claims of waste and fraud in the disbursement of Covid relief and economic stimulus funding.
Other topics on the committee’s agenda include the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, classified documents discovered recently at Mr Biden’s office and residence, the Biden administration’s border security and immigration policies, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, healthcare and prescription drug costs, and the two-year increase in energy prices.
Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives in the November midterm elections, and they now chair all committees dealing with matters such as oversight, the economy, and labour.
Mr Comer chastised the Biden administration for a lack of transparency and accountability, which he blamed on Democrats heading the committee for the past four years. He said that while the Trump administration was “not perhaps the most transparent in the history of America,” it was “pretty darn spectacular” compare to the Biden team.
According to him, the present administration has sent far fewer Cabinet secretaries to testify before the oversight committee.
During the acrimonious battle among House Republicans earlier this month over electing Kevin McCarthy as a speaker, hard-line conservatives demanded critical committee appointments. The makeup of Mr Comer’s oversight committee demonstrates their success.
The strong group includes right-wing firebrands such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and Scott Perry.
Democrats have responded with some of their most aggressive and outspoken lawmakers, including Jamie Raskin, who led Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial; Dan Golden, who served as lead counsel during Mr Trump’s first impeachment hearings; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; and Maxwell Frost, a newly elected 26-year-old congressman from Florida.
It sets the stage for potentially contentious hearings as both parties strive for control over how the press and public perceive the committee’s work.
“There will be a lot of conferences, and it will be extremely politically charge, very intense,” Mr Frost told Axios, a political news website. “But I ran as a fighter, so I’m prepare.”
Mr Comer, for his part, promised to provide balanced leadership for the committee, citing his vote to declare Mr Biden’s presidential election in January 2021 as proof that he is willing to make judgments that may irritate his conservative voters and fellow Republicans.
“There will be a lot published that this committee is political or whatever,” he said. “I feel I’ve proved I’ll do what I think is right and best.”