- The Washington Times
Friday, November 18, 2022

House Republicans are beginning to lay out an expansive agenda of hearings and probes into the Biden administration, with GOP members of the Judiciary Committee informing the White House that it will seek the testimony of senior White House, Homeland Security and FBI officials.

Letters went out to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

“We expect your unfettered cooperation,” the Republicans on the committee wrote in the letters, warning that they may use “compulsory” measures if the administration balks.

The Republicans said they want to get to the bottom of the Justice Department’s warning to parents about challenging school boards and want answers over how Homeland Security allowed the border to spiral out of control.

GOP members of the Ways and Means Committee also fired an opening salvo Friday, detailing a dozen areas they’ll start probing the Biden administration. They are taking aim at IRS malfeasance, pandemic fraud and a new — and Republicans say illegal — expansion of Obamacare coverage.

Republicans on both committees pointed to letters they’ve sent demanding answers about government operations during the Biden era. The letters have met with unsatisfactory responses, if they’ve gotten any responses at all.

With gavels in hand, Republicans say they’ll now have the leverage to get the answers.

“We will not wait until January. Our work to hold this administration accountable has already started,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republicans’ leader, said in a statement praising the committees’ early signals. “House Republicans will follow the facts, and that means seeking documents and obtaining relevant testimony from top officials within the Biden administration.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who is in line to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee, led the letters to top officials.

“Over the past twenty-one months, we have made several requests for information and documents concerning the operations and actions of the Department of Justice,” he and fellow Republicans wrote to Mr. Garland. “To date, you have ignored these requests, or you have failed to respond sufficiently.”

“Please be aware that if our requests remain outstanding at the beginning of the 118th Congress, the Committee may be forced to resort to compulsory process to obtain the material we require,” they said.

The Republicans start from a strengthened position thanks to Democrats’ battles with then-President Trump, which saw the courts largely agree that Congress has expansive powers to probe the administration.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have sought documents and information about the DOJ’s monitoring of parents at school board meetings, the FBI search on Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the FBI’s alleged inflation of the domestic violent extremist threat and its alleged abuse of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.

Mr. Jordan also has previewed his intent to examine President Biden’s involvement in his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in tandem with the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the matter.

Republicans identified 15 Justice Department officials they want to hear from, including Mr. Garland himself and his top deputies. They also asked for testimony from Mr. Wray and eight other FBI officials.

The Republicans cited “a rampant culture of unaccountability, manipulation and abuse at the highest level of the DOJ.”

At Homeland Security, the committee Republicans said they want to hear from 11 officials including Mr. Mayorkas, the heads of his immigration agencies and top personnel at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The letter to Mr. Cardona names three Education Department officials whom Republicans said could shed light on the school board situation.

Republicans on several panels have submitted document preservation requests in recent months, laying the groundwork for the looming probes.

Judiciary Committee Republicans said they are open to testimony either in open committee hearings or in transcribed interviews.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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