U.S. House Republicans step up probes of Biden, White House sees partisan attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans on Thursday stepped up their probes of Democratic President Joe Biden’s family and what they allege is partisan bias in federal law enforcement, in moves that the White House dismissed as politically motivated attacks.

The steps are some of the first Republicans have taken since winning a narrow 222-212 majority in the House of Representatives in November’s election and are an attempt to damage Biden as he gears up to launch an expected 2024 reelection bid.

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, James Comer, on Thursday asked Biden’s son and brother for documents related to the family’s international business dealings.

Also on Thursday the newly formed Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held its first hearing into Republican claims that the Justice Department and FBI show anti-conservative bias, a move made following the FBI’s discovery of hundreds of classified documents at Republican former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort.

The White House in a memo distributed to allies and seen by Reuters dismissed the hearing as a “political stunt.”

“Instead of working with President Biden to address the top priorities of the American people – fighting inflation and lowering costs, creating jobs, boosting manufacturing and infrastructure, and protecting and expanding people’s health care and rights – this is what House Republicans are focused on,” wrote Ian Sims, the White House spokesman on oversight.

Comer said that the committee had evidence that “Biden family members attempted to sell access around the world, including (to) individuals who were connected to the Chinese Communist Party, to enrich themselves to the detriment of American interests”

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Biden’s son Hunter, wrote in an open letter to Comer: “Mr. (Hunter) Biden is a private person for whom Congress faces especially restricted investigative power … As your inquiry directly involves the president and his family, congressional investigative powers are at their most limited.”

The two moves followed a day-long Wednesday hearing at which Republicans alleged that Twitter, government officials and the news media acted to suppress a New York Post story about the contents of a laptop computer said to belong to Hunter Biden two weeks before Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

None of three former Twitter executives who testified said that government officials played any role in their decisions, and the committee presented no other evidence to show that government officials had influenced Twitter’s decision-making.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Gram Slattery; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman)