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Mike Johnson Is Losing His Caucus to a Border Deal Breakdown

The House speaker’s honeymoon seems to be well and truly over, as Republican infighting returns to threaten another critical deal.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson

Speaker Mike Johnson is facing down his first major challenge as the leader of the lower chamber’s Republican caucus: In just a matter of weeks, he’ll need Congress to reach a consensus on two contentious issues—border funding and international aid. It’s a feat that hasn’t been achieved in decades, in a venue where compromise has proven to be the Waterloo of Republican speakers.

Despite Johnson throwing his weight into securing a deal, it’ll be a “steep road” for the newly minted speaker, as one lawmaker told The Hill. Negotiators in the Senate, who face challenges of their own to surmount as its members debate their part of the pending deal, aren’t confident that their success—should it come to fruition—will be replicated by Johnson in the lower chamber.

At stake is a $105 billion national security package proposed by the Biden administration, which includes more than $13 billion to address border issues, along with $14.3 billion in aid to Israel and more than $61 billion in assistance to Ukraine, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has suggested could be the difference between winning or losing the war.

The major obstacle is a familiar bugaboo: Republican infighting, fueled by a razor-thin conservative majority in the House. The fractious Republican caucus, whose famous inability to work together led to Johnson’s anointment in the first place, has already started to seep into the discussions on this latest deal, with some lawmakers outright refusing to negotiate.

The chaos within the caucus is being furthered by outside pressure. Conservative policy group Heritage Action urged lawmakers on Tuesday to strike down any plans etched by the upper chamber, insisting that H.R. 2, an asylum-limiting immigration bill proposed by Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, was the “only solution to securing the border.”

“Worse, the proposal coming out of these ‘negotiations’ will likely be used as leverage to advance President Biden’s request for $106 billion in fiscally irresponsible spending, including an additional $60 billion for Ukraine that fails to meet conservative standards and $13.6 billion for fake ‘border security’ that would accelerate Biden’s open border operations,” wrote Heritage Action’s president, Kevin Roberts, in a statement.

“House and Senate conservatives should reject this proposal and commit to supporting H.R. 2 to restore safety and security for the American people. Anything less is unacceptable,” he added.

Even as conservatives stall, Democrats have agita of their own regarding a deal in which many fear their party is poised to give away too much to the GOP in the terse negotiations.

“We have been willing to give a lot in these talks. We are way out of [our] traditional comfort zone for Democrats,” one of the negotiators, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, told reporters. “At some point, Republicans are going to have to say ‘yes.’”

Republicans Are Escalating Their Attacks on the Voters They Hate the Most

The GOP’s broad war against voting rights is increasingly being fought on America’s college campuses.

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People vote at Denver East High School on November 8, 2022, in Denver, Colorado.

In recent election cycles, young voters have consistently delivered major wins for Democrats. Republicans have decided that the best response is to try to disenfranchise young people.

This year alone, at least 15 Republican-controlled states have introduced or implemented legislation to change the rules around using student IDs at voting booths, according to the Voting Rights Lab. And Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that there is a wider push afoot among GOP lawmakers to eliminate some students’ ability to vote in their school’s state altogether.

“Young people are the reason why Biden won in 2020 and Democrats up and down the ballot won in 2022 and 2023,” Abhi Rahman, the national communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, told Rolling Stone. “If Gen Z continues to vote, we’re on the cusp of the most progressive era in our country’s history. Republicans know this as well, and that’s why they’re doing everything they can to stop young people from voting.”

The GOP’s effort to suppress the vote of college students is well underway in the state of Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court just last week heard arguments to overturn the Badger State’s heavily gerrymandered district maps. That court leans left for the first time in 15 years, after the April election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz—who won in large part due to massive youth voter turnout.

Immediately after the election, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared that “younger voters are the issue.” Months later, the state Republican convention considered a resolution to require out-of-state college students to vote absentee in their hometowns. The resolution ultimately failed to advance, but it’s just one part of a much larger effort from the Wisconsin GOP to curtail the youth vote by whatever means available.

In recent years, Wisconsin Republicans have tried to make it harder to register, taken steps to decrease the number of ballot drop boxes and voting booths and to shorten the early voting period, and tried to impose more onerous residency requirements, as well.

In New Hampshire, state Republicans introduced a bill in March that would bar any out-of-state college students from voting in local and state elections. The bill was ultimately killed.

A Texas Republican lawmaker also introduced a bill in March that would prohibit polling booths on college and university campuses (the bill has not advanced out of committee). And Virginia Republicans unsuccessfully tried to repeal a law that would let people age 16 and older register to vote if they will be 18 by the next major election.

Despite appearances, this is no piecemeal effort: Such measures are all part of a larger plan outlined by Republican strategist Cleta Mitchell. Speaking at an RNC donor retreat in April, shortly after Protasiewicz’s win, Mitchell called on the GOP to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration, and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters. Both young voters and mail-in votes tend to skew Democratic. Mitchell insisted the U.S. electoral systems must be changed in order “for any candidate other than a leftist to have a chance to WIN in 2024.”

Republicans can see the writing on the wall, but they’re taking away the wrong message—and there’s been little, if any, talk among national Republicans about winning young voters back. Increasingly, the GOP seems bent on simply eliminating younger voters from the electorate entirely. During the 2022 midterms, young voters turned out in record numbers and overwhelmingly voted Democratic. GOP luminaries responded with calls to raise the voting age.

Rather than implementing policies about things that young people actually care about—such as environmental protection, increased abortion access, and LGBTQ rights—Republicans are instead embracing stances that alienate huge swathes of the new generations of voters. And then they get angry when young people don’t support them, and the cycle of pushing younger voters out begins anew.

Rupert Murdoch Has Some New Legal Entanglements, Thanks to Fox News

The media mogul is the latest figure to get sucked into the widening gyre of the Smartmatic lawsuit.

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Rupert Murdoch is set to be deposed on Tuesday and Wednesday in relation to the $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit between Smartmatic and Fox News. The questioning will take place in Los Angeles and has not appeared on the public docket for the case, according to Reuters.

Smartmatic filed its lawsuit in 2021 after the conservative broadcast giant baselessly touted Trumpian conspiracies that the voting machine company had participated in election fraud. Fox has subsequently spent the better part of the last two years trying and failing to throw the case out of court.

“They needed a villain,” the lawsuit said. “They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil.”

“Without any true villain, defendants invented one,” the lawsuit noted. “Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story.”

The deposition will be the second time this year that Murdoch has had to sit for questioning related to Fox’s spindly election lies, after the corporation reached a historic $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems in April over similar allegations.

Along with Fox Corporation and Fox News, Smartmatic is seeking damages from five individuals: Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, and former host Lou Dobbs. In order to win the defamation case, Smartmatic will need to prove that the defendants spread the lies with “actual malice,” meaning that they either knowingly spread misinformation or recklessly disregarded the truth.

Although Murdoch’s name is missing from the list of defendants, proving that he was personally involved in the decisions that shaped Fox’s coverage while serving as chairman of the company could help Smartmatic prove that Fox Corp is liable.

The 92-year-old retired from his perch as king of his media empire—which encompasses Fox, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and the Dow Jones Newswire, among others—in September, turning the management of the company over to his son, Lachlan Murdoch.

Tommy Tuberville Has a Ridiculous New Complaint About the U.S. Military

Who wants to tell him that he is the problem?

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It's me. Hi. I'm the problem; it's me.

Senator Tommy Tuberville thinks the U.S. military is the “weakest” it’s been in history, but he conveniently blames it on “wokeness” instead of something that has recently become a far more damaging problem for our armed forces: his own blockade on military promotions.

Tuberville has blocked nearly 400 military promotions since March as a part of a one-man protest against the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to travel out of state for an abortion. The Pentagon has repeatedly warned that his actions harm military readiness, but Tuberville refuses to budge.

Instead, the Alabama Republican trotted out a familiar Republican scapegoat Monday night. “$114 million on diversity training, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Tuberville said on Newsmax. “We’ve got the weakest military that we’ve had in probably your or my lifetime.”

“Now we’ve got a lot of good military people, but infiltrating our military is all this wokeness. And it’s coming from the top.”

This isn’t the first time Tuberville has blamed military shortcomings on wokeness. In September, he said the Navy was headed “downhill” because “we’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker.”

Tuberville does think, though, that diverse ideologies should be allowed in the military—specifically white nationalists, who he believes should be allowed to serve. The lawmaker has repeatedly refused to accept that white nationalists are racist, despite this being, for all intents and purposes, the defining characteristic of white nationalism.

If anything is weakening the military, it’s Tuberville’s stunt. The Pentagon has warned repeatedly that the lawmaker’s blockade is doing ongoing harm to military readiness, with the secretary of the Navy accusing Tuberville of “aiding and abetting” Communist regimes by holding up promotions.

Tuberville’s crusade has led to multiple high-level positions remaining unfilled, leaving different military branches scrambling whenever something goes wrong. In early November, General Eric Smith, the commandant of the Marine Corps, was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. There is no indication that Smith’s workload—which was double its normal size thanks to Tuberville—contributed to his heart attack, but it likely didn’t help.

Even Tuberville’s fellow Republicans have grown sick of his shenanigans. One of the most scathing rebukes the Alabama lawmaker has received came from Senator Dan Sullivan, who called Tuberville’s belief that he wasn’t damaging military readiness “ridiculous” and “patently absurd.”

“How dumb can we be, man?” Sullivan demanded. Pretty dumb, apparently!

Montana Republican’s Repulsive Palestinian Proposal Is Too Much Even for Pro-Israel Democrats

Former Trump Cabinet member Ryan Zinke is on the receiving end of a rebuke from two Jewish lawmakers.

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Representative Ryan Zinke

Two Jewish Democrats are leading the charge against a repugnant proposal floated by Montana Republican Representative Ryan Zinke—a bill that seeks to “deport Palestinians” from the United States.

Representatives Greg Landsman and Dan Goldman, both of whom are staunchly pro-Israel in the ongoing conflict between that nation and Hamas, have come down hard on Zinke’s xenophobic proposal, which the former Trump secretary of the interior dubbed the “Safeguarding Americans From Extremism,” or SAFE Act, countering it with a resolution rebuking the bill and condemning its 10 Republican co-sponsors.

“They’re trying to expel an entire community of people from the United States,” Landsman said in a press release. “It’s un-American. It’s not who we are. And it’s going to get people hurt. We need these folks to pull back on this dangerous rhetoric and to stop adding fuel to this fire. It’s not helping the Israelis, it’s certainly not helping the Palestinians, it’s absolutely undercutting our role in pursuing peace and stability in the region and here at home.”

If passed, the SAFE Act would render Palestinian Authority passport holders inadmissible to the country, revoke visas issued to Palestinian passport holders on or after October 1, revoke the parole of passport holders on or after October 1, and direct Homeland Security and ICE to “identify and remove” Palestinian passport holders living in the U.S., according to a release by Zinke’s office.

In a joint statement issued by Landsman and Goldman, the pair argued that the rhetoric employed in the bill “unfairly and dangerously conflates Palestinians with Hamas and its actions,” and further decried the proposal as “un-American, bigoted, and … designed to inflame tensions which could result in violence.”

Zinke responded to the criticism by blaming the Biden administration’s alleged inaction on immigration, claiming they are “completely incapable of vetting anyone coming into our country,” Axios reported.

The escalating rhetoric is a sign that the Middle Eastern conflict has further divided Capitol Hill. Earlier this month, the two parties battled one another in a string of letters sent to Biden’s office, in which more than 100 Democrats asked the president to offer immigration protections for Palestinians. Days later, Republican Senators—including Senators J.D. Vance, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott—sent their own missive, imploring Biden not to consider the special protections.

The Media Is Giving Donald Trump a Dangerous New Pass

The political press once showed a rabid interest in presidential candidates disparaging American voters—until the former president made liberals a target.

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The news media doesn’t seem to care about Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks anymore. At least, not as much as they cared when they were covering Hillary Clinton in 2016.

During that election cycle, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched off a massive media feeding frenzy when she referred to a portion of Trump’s fan base as a “basket of deplorables.” But while the coverage at the time was unrelenting, major media outlets seem to have lost their taste for defending voters against the slings and arrows of major political figures. The major three broadcast news stations—NBC, CBS, and ABC—covered Clinton’s 2016 “basket of deplorables” comment 18 times more than Trump’s recent remarks, in which he referred to his political opposition as “vermin” that needed to be “rooted out,” according to a report by Media Matters.

That number was even larger across print publications, which apparently gave 29 times more space on the broadsheet to Clinton’s comments, which targeted a specific cohort of racists and misogynists in Trump’s following. That Trump’s base of support was dominated by all manner of antisocial extremists was a fact the political press had spent more than a year confirming—and enjoying the fruits of such coverage—before Clinton made the same observation.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said during a September 2016 LGBT for Hillary gala. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

While Clinton didn’t write off all of Trump’s supporters—noting that a significant portion of his base were citizens who were “desperate for change” and who felt that the government had “let them down”—the Democratic candidate faced months of political venom from conservatives who suggested Clinton held contempt for everyday Americans. Eventually, that insult became an asset to the Republican Party, paving the way for new shirts, hats, and party messaging.

Meanwhile, Trump’s latest swath of dehumanizing vitriol crossed a new threshold by employing authoritarian rhetoric reminiscent of genocidal regimes. On Veteran’s Day, Trump made some eyebrow-raising public remarks that took his often callous approach to politics to an ugly new level: “We pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said during a Veteran’s Day campaign speech in New Hampshire. “They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.”

That group would include President Joe Biden and his administration, whom the Republican front-runner has frequently referred to as “Communists.”

Hours later, Trump made it clear the comments weren’t a fluke made in the heat of the moment, echoing the statement in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social.

As The New Republic’s editor, Michael Tomasky, pointed out, the word “vermin” has a fairly noteworthy place in the history of political rhetoric. “To announce that the real enemy is domestic and then to speak of that enemy in subhuman terms is Fascism 101,” he wrote. “Especially that particular word.” Nevertheless, Trump’s dangerous new escalation was met with a muted reception by press and politicians, its similarities to the fascist speeches of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini completely lost on them.

Those remarks not only failed to damage Trump’s numbers in the polls—they may have actually improved them, according to an MSNBC analysis. Days after the speech, once Trump’s name had been paired with Hitler’s in a couple of headlines, Republican support for Trump jumped by 2 percent, from 56.6 percent to 58.6 percent, according to polling averages by FiveThirtyEight. Two weeks later, that number edged closer to 60 percent.

Naturally, Republican officials didn’t bat an eye at the explosive comments from their party leader. Days after Trump’s speech, former Ambassador Nikki Haley told an Iowa crowd that she simply didn’t agree with Trump’s position, while Senator Lindsey Graham told HuffPost that he doesn’t use “that kind of language, but it’s a free country.” If Trump can be taken at his word, perhaps not for much longer.

The Hunter Biden Testimony James Comer Doesn’t Want You to See

The GOP’s lead inquisitor wants the president’s son to testify—as long as it’s behind closed doors.

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Representative James Comer

Representative James Comer has a message for Hunter Biden: When it comes to the Biden family investigation, it’s my way or the highway. But for once, the Republican seems worried about what the target of his inquiry might have to say.

On Tuesday, the embattled first son, via his lawyer, offered to testify in a public House Oversight Committee hearing—part of an aggressive new defense strategy that his legal team has decided to adopt. Comer, who chairs the committee, has spearheaded the probe into the Bidens’ supposed criminal wrongdoing and is one of their most vocal accusers. So far, his monthslong investigation has yet to turn up any proof of malfeasance.

But despite demanding for months that Biden testify, even subpoenaing him in early November, Comer quickly rejected the offer.

“Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. That won’t stand with House Republicans,” Comer said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on December 13. We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date.”

Comer’s response is likely to get pushback from Biden’s legal team. Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell accused Comer in a letter on Tuesday of using “closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public.”

Notably, Comer had also said he would testify about his own business dealings with his brother—so long as Biden testified too. But now that Biden’s offer is on the table, Comer is backing away.

Comer’s behavior in this regard has already piqued the frustration of Oversight Ranking Member Jamie Raskin. “Let me get this straight. After wailing and moaning for 10 months about Hunter Biden and alluding to some vast unproven family conspiracy, after sending Hunter Biden a subpoena to appear and testify, Chairman Comer and the Oversight Republicans now reject his offer to appear before the full Committee and the eyes of the world and to answer any questions that they pose?” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement.

“What an epic humiliation for our colleagues and what a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own members to pursue it,” Raskin said. “What the Republicans fear most is sunlight and the truth.”

Republicans have repeatedly insisted that Biden and his father, President Joe Biden, are guilty of corruption, even opening an impeachment inquiry into the president over Hunter’s business deals. Not only have they produced no hard evidence, their own star witnesses have repeatedly refuted the GOP’s claims.

Just What Does the Koch Network Have Against Donald Trump?

The Republican Party’s most celebrated donors have made big bets against the former president—and they appear to be losing.

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The political network founded by Republican billionaire megadonor brothers Charles Koch and the late David Koch endorsed Nikki Haley on Tuesday for the Republican primary, the latest snub in the Koch network’s ongoing (and so far fruitless) campaign against Donald Trump.

Americans for Prosperity Action, the Koch network’s advocacy arm, sent out a memo to conservative grassroots activists announcing its endorsement, as well as a coming multimillion-dollar campaign for pro-Haley online and television ads.

“When we announced our decision to engage in our first ever Republican presidential primary, we made it clear that we’d be looking for a candidate who can turn the page on our political dysfunction—and win. It’s clear that candidate is Nikki Haley,” AFP Action senior adviser Emily Seidel said in a statement.

The Koch network has spent the past year steadily ramping up its strident rejection of Trump. Just Monday, AFP Action sent out leaflets urging voters to “stop Biden by letting go of Trump.”

The network’s efforts to keep Trump from winning another presidential nomination kicked off in earnest back in February, when AFP Action sent out a memo stating that the group wanted to help the U.S. “move on” from Trump. The Koch network launched a wave of anti-Trump digital ads in June, arguing that “Trump can’t win.”

That same month, the Koch network revealed it had already raised more than $70 million to donate to non-Trump political races. Koch Industries and Stand Together each donated $25 million, for a combined $50 million of the total funds raised. David Koch died in 2019, but Charles Koch is a major shareholder in Koch Industries, and he founded the nonprofit Stand Together.

The Koch network is one of the most influential conservative political groups, and yet its efforts to stop Trump have been foiled at every turn. In the months since the Koch network proclaimed that Trump “can’t win,” the former president has established himself as the Republican primary front-runner—by a massive margin. National polls show him with an average of 61.6 percent support. Haley has climbed steadily in recent months, but she’s still sitting in third place with a nationwide average of just 9.8 percent support.

It’s also unclear exactly why the Koch network dislikes Trump so much. While in office, he successfully carried out moves long sought by the organization, including the gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, a single-minded strategy of deregulation to strengthen the hand of private businesses, and tipping the Supreme Court conservative—with a majority that’s proven to be well inclined to favor the interests of big business and the decimation of the administrative state.

Whether or not there is a difference of opinion beyond mere aesthetics, it seems the animosity is mutual. Trump said in 2018 that he never sought the Koch network’s backing because “I don’t need their money or bad ideas.” In September, he once again dismissed the Koch network, calling Charles Koch “highly overrated.”

“Very stupid, awkward, and highly overrated Globalist Charles Koch of the Koch Network doesn’t have a clue,” Trump said on Truth Social. “He said his best years were the four years during the Trump Administration, and now his people are aimlessly throwing away other people’s money.”

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Republican Government Shutdown

Mere weeks after the House GOP tore themselves apart over their inability to pass a funding bill, they’re back at it again.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson

Government shutdown is back on the menu. The House GOP has made some ominous omissions from this week’s agenda: the appropriations bills that are meant to forestall—say it with us, once again—the impending government shutdown that is now scheduled to occur in mid-January.

After this week ends, the House will have just 16 legislative days to come up with a solution before the first of a two-part deadline is breached, which will set off a partial shutdown on January 19. Should the House continue to flail after that date, the government will roll into a full shutdown two weeks later, on February 2.

Funding the government for which they work hasn’t been a major priority for House Republicans this year. So far, the caucus has passed two stopgap spending measures, narrowly avoiding shutdowns on crunched deadlines, all while garnering attention for their penchant for toxic infighting, which reached a fever pitch in early October when former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his leadership position for daring to arrange a bipartisan spending bill to prevent a shutdown calamity.

It has yet to be determined if the man who replaced him, Speaker Mike Johnson, is operating under the same conditions—risking losing the gavel for simply doing what needs to be done to keep Capitol Hill’s lights on.

“We need to show some real guts [on spending cuts],” Tennessee Representative Tim Burchett told The Hill. “That’s what we’ve kind of asked for.”

While the names have changed atop the House GOP caucus, Johnson faces the same predicament as McCarthy—a divided yet rambunctious GOP with a razor-thin majority, set against a Democratic Party with a strong opposition to any cuts.

Conservatives are hoping to get through all 12 of the government’s annual appropriations bills on a case-by-case basis, a strategy that might give them a slight edge in negotiations with the Senate, reported The Hill.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said he supported that plan on Monday, noting that he’d prefer to see the bills passed before Congress breaks for Christmas. His Democratic counterparts weren’t so hopeful.

“If you can’t do it by September, then you can’t do it by the middle of November, and you can’t do it by December, why the hell do you think you’re gonna get it done in January?” Montana Senator Jon Tester told Politico. “There’s never any urgency around this place to get shit done.”

However, the appropriation bills are just one part of the puzzle. Congress has several big legislative matters on the near-term horizon, including about a half-dozen major priorities that could touch off showdowns of their own, including a border security bill and contentious foreign aid packages to Israel and Ukraine.

The same time constraints apply in these instances as well. But rather than forging ahead on this long parliamentary to-do list, the House GOP will first have to cope with another salacious story that’s returned to the front and center this week: the proposed expulsion of Representative George Santos, who faces 23 charges related to wire fraud, identity theft, and credit card fraud. And if Santos gets expelled, that thin margin that Johnson is working with to prevent a shutdown and keep the lower House on track will become even more fragile.

Hunter Biden’s New Defense Strategy May Be Crazy Enough to Work

His legal team's new aggressive, winner-takes-all approach has won some early praise—but not everyone at the White House is a fan.

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Hunter Biden arrives at federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer offered Tuesday to have the embattled first son publicly testify in front of the House Oversight Committee, a marked shift in what has, until now, been a much less aggressive strategy.

Biden has until recently made a practice of keeping his head down as he battles multiple legal cases—including federal charges for owning a gun while using illegal drugs, as well as the ongoing House Republican investigation into his business dealings. Led by Oversight Chair James Comer, the probe has accused Biden and his father, President Joe Biden, of corruption. It has yet to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

“Here we are, eleven months into your so-called investigation, and every objective review of your ‘revelations’—including by some of your colleagues—has declared your exploration as one turning up only dry holes,” Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell said in a Tuesday letter to Comer, which was obtained by The New Republic.

Comer issued subpoenas in early November to multiple members of the Biden family, including Hunter and his uncle Jim. He has repeatedly demanded that they testify. Lowell accused Comer in the letter of using “closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public.”

“We therefore propose opening the door,” Lowell wrote. “Mr. Chairman, we take you up on your offer. Accordingly, our client will get right to it by agreeing to answer any pertinent and relevant question you or your colleagues might have, but—rather than subscribing to your cloaked, one-sided process—he will appear at a public Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing.”

Based upon recent reporting, this more tenacious approach to Hunter Biden’s legal defense will become the norm, as his legal team abandons an old strategy that sought to keep the president’s son out of the spotlight. As Politico reported in its Tuesday morning edition of Playbook, Biden attorney Kevin Morris says the rationale behind the shift to a more “bare-knuckled approach” is simple: “We want to go on offense because we know we can win. That’s the whole point.”

In addition to offering to publicly testify, Biden has threatened to sue Fox News for former host Tucker Carlson’s claims that Joe and Hunter Biden were involved in a money-laundering scheme. Biden has sued Rudy Giuliani and his former lawyer Robert Costello for allegedly hacking into and distributing Biden’s data.

Biden has also sued the IRS for allegedly failing to keep his tax information private, and he has attempted to subpoena former Trump Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General Bill Barr.

This new strategy has ruffled feathers at the White House, where officials worry it could hurt the president’s reelection chances, Politico reported Tuesday. But some political experts think the new approach might pay off in a way that benefits the president.

“The American public likes to see people fight back,” Jamal Simmons, a former communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris, told Politico. “People who fight for themselves tend to get the benefit of the doubt from the public. And I actually think that probably does help the president in the long run.”