After voting concludes Tuesday, look for the dominoes to start falling on a scramble of investigations from the Department of Justice and Republicans in the House of Representatives.
What might happen
DOJ investigations related to former President Donald Trump that were quiet in the lead up to the election but have been churning behind the scenes could burst to life, according to CNN’s justice team. A special counsel could potentially be appointed to oversee things in an effort to silo matters away from the Biden administration.
If investigators at the Department of Justice want to indict Trump before he officially launches a presidential campaign, they’ll have to act fast. He could announce his candidacy a week after Election Day on November 14, sources told CNN, although that date could change.
Trump wants to claim credit for GOP wins, assuming they occur on Election Day, and take control of the primary field before other Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis can get there.
What will happen if the GOP takes the House
If American voters trade in Democrats for a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, everyone will be hearing a lot more about Hunter Biden, the current president’s troubled son.
The House January 6 committee will be shut down, and the public inquisition Republicans have been pursuing for years against President Joe Biden’s son will go into public overdrive.
GOP lawmakers do not have a detailed inflation plan, the issue driving many voters to the polls. But after years on the case of investigating Hunter Biden, who has struggled with substance abuse and made a career dealing with foreign nationals, they have prepared a 1,000-page road map they plan to present to the FBI and Department of Justice. Hunter Biden is already the subject of a two-pronged federal investigation in Delaware but has not been charged with any crime.
It’s false to equate GOP efforts to investigate Hunter Biden’s business activities with the January 6 committee’s efforts to document the insurrection and Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
But it’s with a lingering taste of the January 6 hearings and also two Trump impeachment efforts – one of which was kicked off by Trump’s attempts to get Ukraine to investigate none other than Hunter Biden – that Republicans are planning to use the subpoena power of the House majority.
In a reversal from recent years, it will be Democratic officials ducking subpoenas and Republicans issuing them.
Anticipating they’ll win a majority in Tuesday’s election, Republicans on Capitol Hill won’t wait to take control in the House in January. The likely new chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, told CNN he’ll resend a letter to the Treasury Department demanding any suspicious bank activity reports linked to Hunter Biden, with the hope the threat of newfound subpoena power gets more attention.
That’s the nugget at the top of a dizzying report by CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Annie Grayer that ticks off all the things Republicans have promised or teased they will investigate about the Biden administration.
Hunter Biden is the tip of the iceberg in a planned barrage of investigations. Next in order is the president’s immigration policy, and multiple Republicans have already called for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to be impeached.
Just pulling from the list of possible investigations noted in the story:
“Republicans have also signaled they want to investigate the FBI search on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence …
… the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal …
… Dr. Anthony Fauci and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic …
… how the administration has dealt with parents and school boards …
… probes into Big Tech …
… the kinds of weapons that are and are not going to Ukraine …
… (and) create at least one select committee to tackle issues related to China.”
Investigations, hearings and subpoenas will dominate in a GOP majority, according to CNN’s report, which notes that Republicans won’t have power to pass much of anything into law.
Zanona, Raju and Grayer write: “Most bills will be primarily messaging endeavors, unlikely to overcome the president’s veto or the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, though they would have to pass legislation to fund the government and raise the national borrowing limit to raise a debt default – an endeavor that is already alarming Democrats.”
What feels different
Shakeups in Congress have become routine for presidents.
Former President George W. Bush’s Republicans lost the House in 2006 as the war in Iraq faltered.
Former President Barack Obama’s Democrats got a “shellacking” by voters in 2010 and lost the House after passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Trump’s Republicans, after passing a massive tax cut bill that favored corporations, lost control of the House after the 2018 midterms.
What feels different this time is the intense focus on Hunter Biden, which Trump and other Republicans have long seen as a way to weaken his father.
Whatever House Republicans do will feel like a sideshow if the Department of Justice does take the unprecedented plunge of indicting Trump for either his involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election or his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.