Hunter Biden is going on the offensive, asking the Justice Department to probe former President Donald Trump’s allies about the release of data on his laptop. Also, House Republicans are set to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from her spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters he has the votes to oust the Minnesota Democrat.
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President Joe Biden still hasn’t said whether he will run for re-election in 2024, but his outgoing chief of staff seemed to give a hint Wednesday about the president’s plans.
“I look forward to being on your side when you run for president in 2024,” Ron Klain, signing off as White House chief of staff, told the president at a transition event welcoming the new chief of staff, Jeff Zients.
Biden, who turned 80 in November, is widely expected to announce his re-election in the coming weeks or months. His top advisors months ago started meeting to discuss the campaign and potential Republican challengers, and on Tuesday Biden headlined a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York.
— Joey Garrison
A lawyer for Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, on Wednesday requested that the Justice Department investigate people close to former President Donald Trump who played a part in accessing or spreading personal data from a laptop.
The laptop, which a computer repair shop owner says was dropped at his Delaware store in 2019, held emails related to the younger Biden’s foreign business dealings, according to the New York Post, which broke the story in October 2020. Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign swiftly seized on the issue.
Hunter Biden’s request for a criminal inquiry represents a shift to an offensive strategy on the laptop. The Justice Department does not have to take action based on the younger Biden’s letter, and it’s unclear at this time if it will. The president’s son faces his own, separate tax evasion investigation by the Justice Department.
–Ella Lee, Associated Press
President Joe Biden will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act this afternoon with former President Bill Clinton, who signed the bill into law.
Biden will also meet this afternoon with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who asked for a sit-down to push for negotiations on police reform. The meeting comes the day after Vice President Kamala Harris attended the funeral for Tyre Nichols and called on lawmakers to pass police reform legislation that’s stuck in Congress.
In the morning, Biden will speak at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday and lunch privately with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
House vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from committee expected Thursday
House Republicans are prepared to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters they have the votes to do it.
Why they are trying to remove her: GOP members have accused her of making anti-Semitic remarks. She was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for suggesting pro-Israel lobbyists were buying political favors – a comment for which she apologized.
Omar said on Twitter, “We vote our districts” and accused Republicans of censorship. She and other Democrats have said removing her – and Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell last week – is political payback for GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar being removed in the last Congress for incendiary comments and sharing posts that depicted violence against another lawmaker.
– Candy Woodall
Key Biden initiatives to address AAPI hate crimes not yet launched
Despite making racial justice a centerpiece of his administration, and releasing a first-of-its-kind strategy to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities earlier this month, key initiatives of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act have yet to be launched.
A review by USA TODAY found that the Department of Justice will start funding two state-level hate crime reporting hotlines next month, nearly two years after the legislation passed. The Department of Justice did not respond to questions on training local law enforcement on hate crimes reporting.
“In government, things do take time,” said Krystal Ka‘ai, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. “To truly root out hate, you cannot just simply sign a policy or issue a directive and things just change overnight.”
– Erin Mansfield and Rebecca Morin
Bill Clinton returning to White House for Family and Medical Leave Act anniversary
Former President Bill Clinton returns to the White House Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the first legislation he signed into law as president.
President Joe Biden had hoped to build on the 1993 law by requiring that the 12 weeks of leave available to workers be paid time off. Biden will renew his call for that policy. But after it wasn’t included in Democrats’ major package on health care, climate change and corporate taxation last year, it’s even less likely to be revived now that Republicans control the House.
Instead, Biden will take steps to expand leave opportunities for federal workers, including during their first year on the job when they’re not eligible for paid parental leave or for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
– Maureen Groppe
From office to beach house:Timeline of investigation into Joe Biden classified documents
Biden to continue discussion on debt limit with McCarthy
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had a “frank and straightforward dialogue” about a range of issues Wednesday, according to a readout of the meeting from the White House.
“President Biden made clear that, as every other leader in both parties in Congress has affirmed, it is their shared duty not to allow an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default,” the readout of the meeting said. “The United States Constitution is explicit about this obligation, and the American people expect Congress to meet it in the same way all of his predecessors have. It is not negotiable or conditional.”
The White House said Biden welcomes a separate discussion with congressional leaders on the debt limit and that the president and McCarthy agreed to continue the conversation.
– Rebecca Morin