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Ultra conservatives named to House committees leading Biden probes. What's it mean for Biden?

WASHINGTON– Ultra-conservative members of the Republican caucus received appointments to two influential House committees that will spearhead investigations targeting the Biden administration, including the discovery of classified documents at the president’s private home and residence.

And they’ve already started.

Republicans, with control of the House, can leverage their investigatory power and launch probes into the Biden administration ahead of the 2024 presidential election, specifically into his family’s business dealings and the classified documents found in his Delaware home and private office in Washington.

Some of the most outspoken lawmakers who align with former President Donald Trump’s America First platform will be the key players as members of the House Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Accountability Committee. Both panels will play leading roles in congressional investigations.

The added focus could put Biden policies under a larger microscope ahead of his reelection campaign.

Ultra-conservative Republicans, many with the backing of former President Donald Trump including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, received appointments to both committees.

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More: Greene, Gosar reinstated to committees by GOP-led House after Democrats had removed them

Republicans launched their first investigation last week into Biden’s handling of classified documents, drawing parallels to a similar investigation by the Department of Justice into the classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Republicans have generally downplayed Trump’s mishandling of documents while focusing their fire on the FBI’s search of his Florida home – a search approved by a judge and conducted after the former president resisted turning over records marked “secret” or “top secret” to the National Archives.

“@POTUS must be held to the same standard under the Presidential Records Act as President Trump,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., tweeted. Comer is the new chair of the Oversight committee. “Instead, the archives has worked hand in hand with Democrats to conceal this story from Americans before an election, just like they did with the Hunter laptop story.”

The White House Wednesday condemned the appointment of far-right members to House committees overseeing investigations.

“Republicans are handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement provided to USA TODAY.

Here are the details on which ultra-conservative Republicans will serve on investigatory committees:

Who will serve on Oversight Committee?

  • The Oversight Committee is the main investigatory committee in Congress.

  • Chaired by Comer, committee members include Boebert, Gosar and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

  • Greene, a conservative firebrand, was stripped of committee assignments two years ago for posting a controversial photo on social media deemed threatening and dangerous, among other incendiary posts. Gosar also lost committee assignments after he was censured for posting a social media video depicting him attacking New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Biden.

  • Trump-endorsed lawmakers Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Russell Fry of South Carolina and Nick Langworthy of New York also nabbed spots on the committee.

  • Other ultra-conservative Republicans include: Trump ally Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. 

More: Greene, Gosar reinstated to committees by GOP-led House after Democrats had removed them

Chairman Comer previously said Republicans would launch probes into Biden’s activities, specifically referencing Hunter Biden’s financial dealings and compliance with tax laws as well as whether Hunter’s business interests were aided by his father’s position as vice president.

Comer also sent a letter Sunday to the White House asking for more details on the classified materials found in Biden’s private office and residence.

Who will serve on Judiciary Committee?

  • The Judiciary Committee is dubbed the “lawyer” of the House and oversees administrative bodies and law enforcement agencies. It also plays a role in impeachment proceedings.

  • Newly appointed members to the committee include Trump-endorsed candidates Rep. Harriet Hageman of Wyoming and Rep. Nathaniel Moran of Texas. Texas Reps. Troy Nehls and Wesley Hunt, who have both endorsed the former president in his 2024 presidential bid, are also on the committee.

  • Biggs, a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, is returning to serve on the committee.

  • Jordan, R-Ohio, now chairs the panel. He also will lead a subcommittee formed to investigate the Biden administration, which he said last year would be a main focus in the new Congress.

More: Biden’s most vocal Republican antagonists emerge from the sidelines – with subpoena power

Jordan, a Trump ally and founder of the Freedom Caucus, sent a letter last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for communications between Biden’s office and the Justice Department, FBI and the appointed special counsel.

He called the FBI’s investigation into Biden’s classified documents a “double standard” compared to the investigation into Trump’s classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

“Why was President Trump’s home raided but not President Biden’s? Why did the FBI take pictures of President Trump’s so-called classified documents but not President Biden’s?” Jordan tweeted.

What does this mean for Biden?

The Republican-controlled House already has launched investigations into Biden’s handling of classified documents as the countdown to the 2024 presidential election begins.

“The investigatory will of Congress is going to be in overdrive for the next couple of years in the House,” said John Farmer, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

Farmer said Republicans are going to try to undermine Biden’s legitimacy, adding that the investigations will be a distraction for the administration.

“I think, like most presidents, he will try to keep his eye on the ball and move forward with the policy agenda that he has, but it’s hard to imagine a lot of bipartisan cooperation in the next couple years on anything if the House is going to be that aggressive in investigating President Biden,” he said.

USA TODAY Poll: Democratic support for Biden in 2024 surges after midterms as Trump takes a hit, USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Republican investigators are seeking to fairly address both Biden and Trump’s handling of classified documents.

“We’ve had all the Democrats attacking — they even have a special counsel, prosecutor, to go after President Trump about this,” McCarthy told reporters . “Before the election they found out that President Biden had these documents … at no time did he get raided by the FBI.”

Farmer predicted that if investigations are ongoing in another year, both Biden and Trump likely will face opponents in the presidential primaries.

“People will see opportunities there and weaknesses that maybe they wouldn’t have seen without those investigations,” he said.

Dig Deeper: Biden classified documents

  • Biden and Trump documents expose wider problem: Missing classified records not uncommon

  • Biden on discovery of classified documents: ‘I have no regrets’

  • Republicans to investigate: House Republicans launch investigations into Biden’s handling of classified documents

  • What don’t we know? 5 key questions we still don’t know about Biden documents

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Greene, Boebert, Gosar named to committees that will lead Biden probe

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