Congressional Republicans say they're poised to push ahead with an investigation into President Joe Biden's family, including his son Hunter, in the coming session -- despite warnings from some in their own caucus not to pursue "hyper-partisan" oversight probes.
Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and James Comer of Kentucky, two high-ranking members expected to helm powerful committees when Republicans take control of Congress in January, outlined their plans during a press conference on Thursday, pledging to "pursue all avenues" of wrongdoing and calling investigations into the president's family a "top priority."
Beyond their interest in Hunter Biden's overseas business endeavors, which are already the subject of a Justice Department investigation, the lawmakers said their primary focus is finding out whether his father, President Biden, was more involved in those dealings than previously known.
"We're not trying to prove Hunter Biden is a bad actor. He is," Comer said. "Our investigation is of Joe Biden."
But several voices from within their own party have balked at the prospect of targeting the president's family, calling it a distraction from the issues voters care about and a political miscalculation that could exacerbate growing tensions within the party after a lackluster midterm performance. Republicans had hoped to comfortably win control of the House, but instead they appear poised to take control with a razor-thin margin.
Barbara Comstock, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia, said pursuing Hunter Biden and others is a losing strategy, and would signal to voters that the party has failed to learn its lessons.
"When voters deliver such a dramatic rebuke, where expectations of a 'red wave' fail to come through, it's time for humility and introspection," said Comstock, an ABC News contributor. "And rabid oversight of Hunter Biden is not at all the message Republicans should take away from the midterms."
Some new arrivals in Washington echoed that sentiment.
"If parts of our party want to go into these investigations, that's their prerogative," said Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., during an interview on Fox News this week. "I don't want to waste my time in Washington engaging in hyper-partisan issues, I want to deliver results."
On Thursday, Jordan, who is expected to take over the House Judiciary Committee, and Comer, the current ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, accused president's son of committing a bevy of crimes, including tax evasion, wire fraud, and human trafficking, without providing evidence. They said they "would love" to speak with Hunter Biden, but did not announce plans to issue a subpoena.
Comer said his Oversight panel would focus on obtaining over 150 Suspicious Activities Reports, or SARs, pertaining to Hunter Biden from the Treasury Department. SARs are reports filed by financial institutions to flag questionable banking transactions, but do not amount to crimes.
As part of their efforts to more closely connect President Biden to his son's business efforts, Republicans shared a copy of an email Hunter Biden purportedly wrote to a building manager seeking a spare set of keys to a new office for his "business partners" -- a list that included his father's name.
Several of the claims leveled by Republicans on Thursday have been publicly known for years, dating back to a Senate report published ahead of the 2020 election. That report, penned by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., found Hunter Biden's overseas work "awkward" and "problematic," but identified no wrongdoing.
DOJ investigators are examining whether Hunter Biden paid adequate taxes on millions of dollars of personal income, including money he made during business pursuits in China and Ukraine. Hunter Biden has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, ethically or criminally, but has acknowledged that his family ties likely bolstered his career. He has not been charged with any crimes.
A Democratic spokesperson for the current Oversight Committee called the probe a "desperate attempt to return Trump to power," following former President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that he is again running for president in 2024.
"Today's press conference rehashed the same tired, partisan talking points Republicans have been using for years, ignoring the clear message Americans sent that they want real solutions -- not partisan bickering," the spokesperson said.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden declined to comment on Thursday's press conference.