Republicans relentlessly campaigned last year on a vow to not only be a check against President Joe Biden’s policies but to probe his family’s business dealings. Investigate “Hunter Biden’s laptop” became a recurring mantra of many GOP candidates.
Next week, that investigation will have its first public airing in Congress as the House Oversight Committee plans to hold a hearing on the computer once owned by the president’s son which was found at a Delaware repair shop. The hearing also will examine Twitter’s decision to initially block a New York Post story on the laptop in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election.
Adding to the expected drama surrounding the hearing is the date it will be conducted: Wednesday, Feb. 8 — the day after President Joe Biden delivers his second State of the Union address, as he works to shape his agenda and try to persuade the GOP not to block it.
Biden may have to convince the American people of his message, too. A new Marist poll found that 62% of Americans think the state of the union is not very strong or not strong at all.
Here’s what else is going on in politics Monday.
- Republican-led hearing to examine Biden and family: House GOP to hold Oversight Committee hearing into President Joe Biden and his family on Feb. 8 – the day after Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress.
- End of the pandemic? The Biden administration is winding down the treatment of COVID-19 as an emergency, restructuring how the federal government will respond to the pandemic that is entering its fourth year.
- The public is equally concerned about Biden and Trump’s classified documents: Identical percentages – 67% – are concerned with classified documents found in both Biden and former President Donald Trump’s possession, an NBC News poll found.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar’s committee assignment to be decided: The House is expected to vote this week on whether to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It would take a simple majority of the House but it’s unclear if there are enough votes for the effort, which is backed by Speaker McCarthy.
- Trump’s last-minute intervention delays former aide’s trial: Former trade advisor Peter Navarro was initially set to go to trial Monday for defying the committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The day after he delivers the State of the Union, President Joe Biden and his family will be the subject of a GOP-led House Oversight Committee hearing.
A hearing on Twitter’s decision to initially block the New York Post’s reporting on the “Biden family’s business schemes” and Hunter Biden’s laptop will be held Wednesday, Feb. 8, a committee spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY.
Committee Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, has repeatedly said the panel is focused on the president, not his son. Former Twitter employees Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth and James Baker will testify at the hearing, according to the committee.
– Candy Woodall
The Biden administration is winding down the treatment of COVID-19 as an emergency, restructuring how the federal government will respond to the pandemic that is entering its fourth year.
The administration plans to end both the national emergency and public health emergency on May 11. That announcement came in a message to Congress about measures House Republicans are considering this week to end those emergency declarations immediately.
The administration wants to wait until May to end the emergencies because Republicans’ “abrupt end” would create “wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system,” the White House said.
– Maureen Groppe
President Biden said Monday the U.S. will not provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine even though he recently approved the transfer of M1 Abrams tanks to the war-torn nation in its efforts to repel a Russian invasion.
“No,” Biden replied in a brief exchange with reporters.
Ukraine wants modern fighter jets to replace its Soviet-era planes. But the Pentagon has said the F-16s don’t deliver enough benefits for the potential risks.
Biden also said he’s not sure if he will travel to Europe next month for the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said he’s planning on visiting Poland at some point but doesn’t know when.
– Maureen Groppe
Former President Donald Trump is suing Bob Woodward and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, for $50 million over claims that the journalist did not have permission to use audio recordings from their interviews in various versions of his book “Rage.”
“This case centers on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation and exploitation of audio of President Trump gathered in connection with a series of interviews conducted by Mr. Woodward,” the complaint, filed Monday, reads.
The lawsuit claims audiobook, CD, paperback and e-book versions of the work were produced at the “expense of President Trump and without accounting to him.”
– Ella Lee
President Joe Biden on Monday said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., should lay his cards on the table when the two leaders discuss federal spending this week.
“Show me your budget, I’ll show you mine,” Biden said when asked by reporters about their upcoming meeting on Wednesday.
McCarthy said Sunday he wants to raise the federal debt limit to avoid a default but also wants to “take control of runaway spending.”
“I want to sit down together, work out an agreement that we can move forward, to put us on a path to balance- at the same time, not put any- any of our debt in jeopardy at the same time,” McCarthy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Biden insists the limit should be lifted without conditions.
– Maureen Groppe
In the days after the 2020 presidential election, as it became clear Joe Biden would win the race over then-President Donald Trump, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio issued a command: “Standby order has been rescinded.”
The right-wing extremist group’s longtime national chairman was calling back to comments made by Trump, prosecutors alleged Monday in federal court where five Proud Boys, including Tarrio, face trial for sedition and other charges tied to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. During a September 2020 debate, when Trump was asked to condemn white supremacist groups, he said: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” Tarrio replied on Parler shortly after: “Standing by, sir.”
Alongside Tarrio’s Nov. 7, 2020 message rescinding the standby order, the Miami Proud Boy shared a video not shown in court, which he said came from “Miami Cubans.”
“The only thing I promise you is blood and lead,” Tarrio’s English translation of the video read. “This country never has been and never will be communist. I’ll die before that.”
– Ella Lee
The man who violently attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer last year in their San Francisco home told a local news channel he “should have come better prepared” for the attack on the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
David DePape, 42, called KTVU’s newsroom the same day a superior court judge ordered the release of a video showing the attack, not only claiming he assaulted Pelosi because he feared individual liberties were being stifled but also that he should have gone farther.
“I want to apologize to everyone. I messed up. What I did was really bad,” he told a reporter at the network. “I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them. It’s my own fault. No one else is to blame. I should have come better prepared.”
– Ella Lee
Jordan’s King Abdullah will be at the Capitol Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with congressional leaders, and will meet President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this week as well, a Jordanian official told USA TODAY. The White House has not set a date for the visit yet.
His visit comes after deadly violence in the West Bank, Gaza strikes and a mass shooting at a synagogue in East Jerusalem. Abdullah has been calling for a de-escalation in the conflict and will again share that message in Washington this week, according to the embassy.
It will mark newly elected Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s first visit from a foreign leader.Like previous visits, Jordan’s king will also meet with leaders of the Armed Services, Appropriations, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees.
– Candy Woodall
Brandon Tsay, the man who disarmed the Monterey Park gunman who killed 11 people and left nine injured, will be a guest of President Joe Biden’s at the annual State of the Union address.
The news was announced Sunday by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., during the community’s Lunar New Year Festival, where Tsay received a medal of courage and other recognitions from local police, as well as city, county and state officials.
“To be that guest means that (Biden) will be recognizing Brandon Tsay in front of the entire nation,” Chu said.
– Ella Lee
‘Thank you, Brandon’:Hero who wrestled gun from Monterey Park killer honored at Lunar New Year Festival
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress about the popular app’s privacy and security practices, impact on children and relationship with China as scrutiny of the platform heightens, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Monday.
“Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” the committee chair, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said in the statement.
Chew will testify before the committee on March 23, the press release said. It’s the first time a TikTok CEO will appear before a congressional committee.
– Ella Lee
Swalwell on House committee assignments::Speaker McCarthy engaged in ‘weaponizing’ of ‘political abuse’
Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said he and ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., are working together to shore up issues with classified documents.
“We have to reform the way that documents are boxed up when they leave the president and vice president’s office and follow them into the private sector,” Comer said at the National Press Club Monday morning. “This is something I think will be a bipartisan legislative fix. I think we all agree there is a problem.”
Comer’s comments come after classified documents have been found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, in President Joe Biden’s Delaware garage and former University of Pennsylvania office, and at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home.
– Candy Woodall
Trump intervenes, delaying aide’s trial:Donald Trump’s last-minute intervention delays contempt trial of former aide Peter Navarro
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that in the days leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with a missile strike, according to the BBC.
“He threatened me at one point, and he said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute’ or something like that. Jolly,” Johnson said in a new BBC documentary.
Johnson continued that Putin’s “relaxed tone” led him to believe the Russian president was “just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”
A Kremlin spokesperson told the BBC the allegation is a “lie.”
– Ella Lee
The grieving parents of Tyre Nichols will attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Feb. 7.
They were invited by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Steven Horsford, who is requesting a meeting with the president this week in a renewed push for police reform after the officers were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression in the death of Nichols.
“Mr. Nichols was a beloved father, friend, and coworker, who should still be alive today,” Horsford, a Nevada Democrat, said in a statement. “The Congressional Black Caucus is disturbed by the gut-wrenching allegations underlying Tyre Nichols’ brutal death at the hands of law enforcement and we must work to ensure that our legal system holds accountable police officers who, with impunity, kill too many in our communities.”
Having Nichols’ parents at the State of the Union will likely ensure Biden mentions his death and police reform during his primetime speech next week.
– Candy Woodall
First Lady Jill Biden reminded everyone of her Philadelphia roots on Sunday when she was spotted at the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
She also posted a photo from the game on Twitter showing a selfie with her grandson and the Birds’ battle cry, “Fly Eagles Fly.” The president was home in Wilmington.
It’s one of many Philadelphia sporting events Biden has attended through the years. Most recently, she attended the Eagles-Cowboys game in October, when her favorite home team defeated Dallas 26-17.
Both Bidens went to the Phillies game on Nov. 2, when Philadelphia lost to Houston. And multiple members of the Biden family were at the 2018 Super Bowl to see the Eagles defeat the Patriots.
It wasn’t known early Monday whether any of the Bidens would follow their beloved Birds to Arizona for the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.
— Candy Woodall
A federal judge on Friday delayed the contempt of Congress trial for Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, to give more time for pre-trial debate over executive privilege issues.
The trial, which was set to begin Monday, comes after Navarro defied the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. Navarro refused to testify before the committee, citing executive privilege to keep communications with Trump confidential.
Navarro is the second Trump aide to face criminal charges for eluding the committee. Political strategist Steve Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress last summer and sentenced to four months in prison in October, which he has not served, pending appeal.
— Ella Lee
Trump intervenes, delays aide’s trial:Donald Trump’s last-minute intervention delays contempt trial of former aide Peter Navarro
The House is focusing its biggest work this week on a slate of bills designed to move the country past the pandemic and repeal COVID policies.
That work starts late this afternoon in the newly appointed House Rules Committee, which will take up bills to force federal workers back into their offices, declare an end to the public health emergency started by former President Donald Trump and continued by President Joe Biden, and repeal a federal mandate on vaccines for health care workers.
The House is moving after schools and businesses have reopened, mask mandates have been lifted and numerous private sector workers have remained remote mostly as a lifestyle choice rather than a public health-driven decision. House Republicans are mostly taking aim at Biden and federal policies.
“If the American people are expected to show up to work, federal employees should be held to the same standard,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise said in a statement.
He also noted that Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in her inaugural address Jan. 2 called for help from the White House to return federal workers to the city or give up some of the empty federal offices.
“We need decisive action by the White House to either get most federal workers back to the office most of the time or to realign their vast property holdings for use by the local government, by nonprofits, by businesses and by any user willing to revitalize it,” she said, noting the federal government owns or leases a third of the city’s office space.
— Candy Woodall
President Joe Biden is focusing on his administration’s bipartisan accomplishments this week. He holds a 2:45 p.m. event in Baltimore to spotlight a major rail tunnel replacement funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
This focus comes as Biden gears up for his State of the Union address next month and a possible 2024 presidential campaign.
— Holly Rosenkrantz
Sixty-seven percent of Americans are concerned about classified documents found in President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump’s possession, despite multiple differences in the number of documents found and how Biden and Trump responded to the discoveries, according to a poll released Sunday by NBC News.
The survey also found that 50% of respondents disapprove of Biden’s job performance compared to 45% who approve. The numbers don’t bode well for Republicans either, who have kick-started extensive investigations into the White House.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they believe House Republicans will spend too much time investigating Biden rather than focusing on other priorities. Fifty-four percent of respondents also said they believe Republicans will be too inflexible in their investigations.
– Ken Tran
‘We’re here’: Trump returns to the campaign trail in early voting states
Former President Donald Trump resumed public campaigning Saturday with renewed attacks on long-standing targets: President Joe Biden, the 2020 election, federal and state prosecutors, and a lengthening list of Republican opponents.
“We will do it again,” Trump told supporters while introducing his “South Carolina Leadership Team” during an event at the statehouse in downtown Columbia, capping a day-long trip that also took him to New Hampshire. Both states hold early primaries in the 2024 presidential election.
The trip comes after more than two months of political turmoil for Trump following his mid-November announcement about his 2024 campaign. Agrowingnumber of Republicans say the former president cannot win next year and the party should look for another standard-bearer.
– David Jackson
The House is slated to vote sometime this week on whether to remove Democrat Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Omar’s Republican opponents and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are pushing for her removal because of her past remarks regarding American support for Israel. In a now deleted tweet from 2012, she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” Omar has since apologized for the remarks.
Some House Republicans have questioned the legitimacy of McCarthy’s claims and worry that Omar’s removal could be seen as political revenge. And with the GOP’s narrow majority in the House, it is unclear if there are enough votes to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
– Ken Tran