Biden family hearings to begin Feb. 8 as House GOP probes Twitter, Hunter Biden laptop
WASHINGTON – House Republicans who assumed power earlier this month are holding their first public hearing on Feb. 8 to investigate President Joe Biden and his family, including son Hunter.
Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer said the House Oversight Committee he chairs will be the main investigatory arm of the House in the 118th Congress, and he plans to use subpoenas and the the power of his committee's purse to focus scrutiny squarely on President Joe Biden.
It's an inquisition that was promised to voters in the midterms and will debut its first public hearing a week from Wednesday, the day after Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
"This administration needs checks and balances – any administration needs checks and balances," Comer said Monday morning at the National Press Club.
Why is House GOP investigating Biden family?
Comer has insisted House Oversight is investigating the president and not his son, claiming Biden is the "chairman of the board" in a family business "scheme" in which he has leveraged his political power and connections for personal gain. Republicans are expected to scrutinize Hunter's ties to foreign companies and even the artwork he sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The American people deserve transparency and accountability about the Biden family’s influence peddling," Comer said in a statement earlier this month.
Comer leads a committee of some of the most hardline conservatives in Congress, including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who has renewed her push to impeach Biden.
The White House said Comer is "setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts" and "handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus," according to the Associated Press.
Republicans will have a chance to present any evidence to the contrary at the first hearing next week, which will focus on a period before the 2020 election when Twitter restricted unverified claims about Hunter Biden's laptop and Biden family business dealings.
The Federal Election Commission ruled in September 2021 that Twitter did not violate federal elections law when it restricted distribution of a New York Post article about the younger Biden and a laptop found at a Delaware repair shop.
The FEC also said at the time that social media moderation is not a campaign finance issue and falls outside the commission's purview. Congress was suggested as the more appropriate forum for concerns about Twitter's decisions in 2020.
Next week, Republicans will have a chance to publicly raise concerns and air grievances about what they have described as censorship of conservative viewpoints.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk recently met with lawmakers to ensure members of both parties his platform would be fair to all ideologies.
Former Twitter employees Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth and James Baker will testify at the hearing, according to the committee.
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Hunter Biden's artwork
Though Comer has said Republicans are investigating Biden not his son, the Oversight committee recently requested an interview with Hunter Biden's art dealer, Georges Bergès, while "investigating President Joe Biden and his family's foreign and domestic influence peddling schemes."
The committee raised concerns about Hunter Biden's artwork, which has sold from $55,000 to $500,000 per piece.
"It is concerning that President Biden’s son is the recipient of anonymous, high-dollar transactions—potentially from foreign buyers—with no accountability or oversight (other than you)," the letter said. "The American people deserve transparency regarding certain details about Hunter Biden’s expensive art transactions."
In October 2021, the White House said Hunter Biden's art transactions would be anonymous to prevent corruption, and the president and his son wouldn't know the identities of the buyers.
Critics argue transparency is the only way to prevent corruption.
House GOP hearings scheduled
In addition to the hearing examining the Biden family, House committees have several other inquiries planned to investigate the president and his administration:
Feb. 1: House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on transportation and supply chain challenges
Feb. 1: House Judiciary hearing on "The Biden Border Crisis: Part I"
Feb. 1: House Oversight on pandemic spending
Feb. 7: House Oversight on the border crisis
Feb. 8: House Oversight on Twitter's decision-making about stories on Hunter Biden's laptop and Biden family business ties
Candy Woodall is a Congress reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden family hearings to begin Feb. 8 as House GOP: What we know