Fresh off their attacks on Republicans for spending time to debate and negotiate over the leadership of and House rules for the 118th Congress, the corporate media have executed a perfectly synchronized pivot to now assailing Republicans for investigating Hunter Biden. But House Republicans, now in the majority, aren’t investigating Hunter Biden: They are investigating evidence of corruption by Joe Biden and the FBI, as well as other government actors’ efforts to run defense for the now-president, including by pressuring private companies to censor speech.
By regaining a majority in the House, Republicans now hold control over oversight committees, such as the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee, and with that control, subpoena power. In addition to the standing committees, soon after the just-elected Speaker Kevin McCarthy gaveled in the new Congress, the House passed a resolution temporarily establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which will be led by the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Republican Jim Jordan.
Both the Oversight Committee and the select subcommittee will be investigating evidence of misconduct, as Jordan and Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the chair of the Oversight Committee, explained during a joint press conference late last year.
“We’re going to provide you all with something you’re not used to with respect to judicial hearings,” Comer opened the Nov. 17, 2022, press conference, “and that’s evidence.” Comer then detailed some of the evidence compiled to date and what that evidence suggested.
From talking with numerous whistleblowers, to analyzing the communications and records recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop, to reviewing various financial documents, committee Republicans “have identified over 50 countries the Biden family sought businesses in,” Comer stressed. That evidence showed, he added, that “the Bidens flourished and became millionaires by offering access to the family,” both internationally and within the United States.
With Comer now the official chair of the Oversight Committee, the committee has announced it is “investigating the Biden family’s domestic and international business dealings to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality.” “Members of the Biden family have a pattern of peddling access to the highest levels of government to enrich themselves, often to the detriment of U.S. interests,” the announcement continued, noting that the committee is “committed to following the Biden family and associates’ money trail — consisting of many complex, international transactions worth millions of dollars — and providing answers to the American people.”
Last week, Comer made several moves to advance the investigation, first by requesting from the Department of the Treasury any Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) generated by banks that flagged the suspicious financial activities of Hunter Biden, Jim Biden (the president’s brother), and an array of Biden family associates and related companies. Comer further sent letters to three former high-level Twitter executives including the former deputy general counsel of Twitter, James Baker, and Yoel Roth, the former global head of trust and safety of Twitter, requesting they appear at a committee hearing the week of Feb. 6 to address their “role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election.”
The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government will likely also probe matters connected to Hunter Biden, as its charge is to “investigate matters related to the collection, analysis, dissemination, and use of information on U.S. citizens by executive branch agencies, including whether such efforts are illegal, unconstitutional, or otherwise unethical.”
But again, the subcommittee is not targeting the president’s son but investigating evidence, including some brought forward by whistleblowers. President Biden is not a vicarious target of the probes; rather, his own involvement in the various influence-peddling activities is at issue. Equally at issue is the malfeasance of the FBI and other government agents who, according to whistleblowers, buried evidence implicating the Bidens while lying to Big Tech outlets that the scandal was Russian disinformation to prompt the censorship of the story before the 2020 election.
The matters meriting investigation are many and complicated, as Comer made clear: The Biden family solicited business opportunities in some 50 countries and used a complex web of shell businesses to operate. And while private emails and text messages, as well as individuals involved in some of the business ventures, implicate Joe Biden, the committees will need to unwind the money trail and obtain further testimony to undercover precisely the breadth and depth of the scandal.
Likewise, unraveling the FBI’s complicity will prove complex. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office has already revealed that “multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions,” claimed the “Washington Field Office assistant special agent in charge Timothy Thibault and other FBI officials … ‘falsely portray[ed] as disinformation evidence acquired from multiple sources that provided the FBI derogatory information related to Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities, even though some of that information had already been or could be verified.’” But those allegations could be but the tip of the FBI’s malfeasance iceberg.
Did FBI headquarters bury other evidence? Did it share with the field offices investigating Hunter Biden and Jim Biden the laptop and all of the information it had obtained? Did the FBI intend to bury Hunter Biden’s laptop? Did the FBI provide the intelligence community access to the laptop and together provide Joe Biden a defensive briefing? Why did the FBI return to Hunter’s attorneys another laptop recovered during a raid of his psychiatrist’s office?
And what about the FBI’s role in pushing the false narrative that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation? “The Twitter Files” exposed an entirely new angle to the FBI scandal by revealing that the FBI had monthly and then weekly meetings with Twitter, Facebook, and other tech executives and pushed the various tech giants to censor stories. “The Twitter Files” also revealed that the FBI maintained a secret communications channel by which it shared information with Twitter, including several files the night before the Hunter Biden laptop story broke.
While both Twitter and Facebook have already publicly acknowledged they censored the New York Post’s explosive reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop story because of the warnings the FBI provided about Russian disinformation, we don’t know the extent of warnings, who else the FBI pushed to censor the stories, and who at the FBI is responsible for peddling the myth that the laptop story was Russian disinformation. The House committee’s investigation into the FBI will help answer these questions too.
This brief synopsis of the scandals meriting investigation barely scratches the surface but makes clear nonetheless that while the Biden-family defenders, in their adjunct role as journalists, frame the planned investigations as Republicans’ fallacious targeting of Hunter Biden to taint his father, this burgeoning narrative ignores the reality of the situation — and the evidence.
Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.