After Biden’s win, GOP considers 2020 election inquiries

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Potential Republican inquiries into Biden and his electoral victory could quickly test the new White House’s relationship with Republicans on Capitol Hill, who – if they retain the Senate – will play a key role in determining what Biden will be able to achieve. to accomplish on the legislative level. .

Across the Capitol, House Democrats have multiple lawsuits related to incumbent President Donald Trump’s finances that Democrats could pursue next year even after Trump leaves the White House.

Senate Judicial Chairman Lindsey Graham, who urged Trump not to give in, said on Monday that Senate Republicans should investigate postal voting in the 2020 election, which wrongly claimed it would be prone to fraud for months before election day. Trump’s campaign has produced no evidence of widespread electoral fraud despite Trump’s claims.

“If we keep the Senate, we need to create a joint committee in the Senate to analyze postal voting and how it works in 2020,” Graham told Fox News radio.

Senator Ron Johnson’s term as president of homeland security and government affairs ends this year, but he is set to take over from a key investigative subcommittee with a bipartisan track record. He said Monday that he expected his investigation into the FBI’s investigation into Russia, Crossfire Hurricane, to move with him.

“We will continue to investigate the corruption that led to the Crossfire Hurricane investigations,” Johnson said.

In an interview last week, Johnson said he would also consider investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. “Based on what is uncovered, I am certainly prepared to hold a hearing to put it into effect. evidence electoral fraud, ”he said.

Johnson and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley have probed Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business relationship following Trump’s impeachment, an inquiry Democrats have criticized as a political attempt to use taxpayer resources to harm Biden’s campaign. In September, Republicans released a report that raised questions about Hunter Biden’s foreign financial dealings, which revealed no evidence that Biden had abused his powers or changed American policy because of his son’s business ties. An alleged Hunter Biden laptop has fueled Conservative calls to investigate the Bidens.

In the interview, Johnson said his decision to investigate Hunter Biden’s business relationship next year “depends entirely on what other information comes to light or whether other whistleblowers have proven derogatory.” On Monday, however, he said he wanted federal investigators to look into the matter before tackling it.

A reshuffle of the committee

The landscape for next year’s Senate remains uncertain: Republicans currently hold a 50-48 advantage, with likely two Georgia polls looming. If the GOP Sens. David Perdue or Kelly Loeffler win their second round, Republicans will keep control of the Senate. If Democrats won both seats, they would control a 50-50 Senate thanks to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

If Republicans kept the Senate, Johnson, Graham, and Grassley would all head new committees.

Johnson is called out of the homeland security hammer, but he is well on his way to becoming chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s standing subcommittee on investigations. The committee, which has a massive budget and the freedom to investigate a wide range of topics, has been a positive point of bipartisanship over the past decade, with Republicans and Democrats working together to highlight the problems related to sex trafficking and the financial crisis.

Trump campaign charts uncertain path as tensions rise

“There is decades of recent tradition that I hope Ron Johnson will follow,” former Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who had long been the subcommittee’s top Democrat, told CNN. “He has a choice, he can either maintain this tradition or he will be partisan. And I hope he chooses the bipartisan path. ”

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said he has yet to speak to Johnson about his priorities in the next Congress.

In addition to the FBI’s investigation into Russia, Johnson said he plans to use the committee to investigate social media companies and how they handle political discourse on their platforms.

“The social media investigation will focus on all the power they have amassed and how they can abuse it,” Johnson said. “Election interference is certainly an area they deny. I don’t believe them. Censoring and demonetizing, shutting down sites is another abuse to investigate. ”

GOP Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who conducted investigations with Carper into Russian oligarchs and Chinese telecommunications companies as chairman of the Standing Subcommittee on Investigations, is on line to lead the Comprehensive Homeland Security Committee next year, if the Republicans maintain the Senate.

Under Johnson, the committee held online votes on subpoenas for the Ukraine and FBI investigations, after Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, the panel’s highest-ranking official, opposed the subpoenas. The committee under Portman is expected to cover more bipartisan ground, including opioids, cybersecurity, securing the supply chain and coronavirus surveillance.

Peters associates have already spoken to staff at Portman about monitoring the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Peters assistant.

McCabe will testify on Tuesday

On the Judiciary Committee, Grassley is set to return to the committee chair after two years as head of the finance committee, with Graham as head of the budget committee.

Grassley and Graham both probed the FBI’s Russia investigation after a scathing Inspector General’s report was released in late 2019 following warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Review Act. These investigations hit Biden – after his name was included in the list of people who made “unmasking” requests, a routine intelligence practice, during the Trump transition – though it is not clear whether Graham will attempt to complete its investigation or succeed. he along to Grassley to continue next year.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe practically appears before the Judicial Committee on Tuesday, after postponing the hearing last month following several GOP senators who tested positive for the coronavirus. The hearing will focus on the FBI’s decision to open the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016, which McCabe defended in his opening remarks released on Monday.

“We didn’t open a case because we liked one candidate or we didn’t like the other,” he said in his remarks. “We didn’t open a case because we intended to stage a coup or to overthrow the government. We didn’t open a case because we thought it might be interesting or because we wanted to drag the FBI into a heated political race. a case to find out how the Russians could undermine our elections. ”

Grassley was shy on Monday about what he might take to the bench with him next year.

“When I do investigations, it doesn’t matter who the president is. It is my constitutional oversight responsibility to investigate anything that should be investigated, ”Grassley said. “What I’m doing in finance, if it’s not finished and I keep the same people, and I hope I will, I will move them to the judiciary and we will continue to do the same. . “

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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