What to Know in Washington: Biden Risks Drawn-Out DOJ Probe
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President Joe Biden’s expectations for a quick resolution of a probe into his mishandling of classified documents have been dashed, as a steady drip of new developments has tied it into political knots.
Although it appears to be a relatively straightforward investigation, the case has become politically entangled with separate questions about the mishandling of classified material by former President Donald Trump and now former Vice President Mike Pence.
The situation has raised questions inside and outside the Justice Department about whether Attorney General Merrick Garland or senior officials should coordinate the investigations to give the public greater confidence about how they’re being handled, according to current and former government officials.
That could be seen as interfering in the probes by two special counsels and goes against the department’s usual practice, some of the people said. There’s no indication that Justice Department leaders are discussing those options.
Failing to coordinate the cases could end up hurting them, if it leaves the public with the impression that they weren’t treated equally, especially as Biden is expected to run for reelection and Trump remains the only announced GOP candidate for 2024. Read more.
Happening on the Hill
- The House meets at 9 a.m. to continue consideration of a strategic oil reserve bill.
- The Senate returns Monday.
Biden Accuses Republicans of Exploiting Debt Ceiling Limit
Biden lashed out at Republicans and said they were looking to use the nation’s credit as leverage in economic negotiations.
- There are signs that the can will be kicked further down the road, in spite of all the tough talk in Washington around the debt ceiling. Read more.
- The US Treasury’s quarterly financing estimates due next week will be closely watched to gauge the department’s view on how the debt-ceiling drama will unfold. Read more.
Senate Work Stalled Into Next Week Over GOP Committee Rosters
Senate Republicans’ inability to cement committee rosters for the new Congress continues to stymie the chamber from getting to work.
- House and Senate Democratic committee rosters were announced yesterday by Democratic Leaders Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
- Read the House Democratic panel rosters for new members here.
- Read the Senate Democratic full panel rosters here.
Schweikert to Chair Ways and Means Oversight Panel
Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee took their subcommittee gavels at a meeting Thursday. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) will chair the Subcommittee on Oversight and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) will chair the Subcommittee on Tax, per an aide familiar with the committee’s plans.
ESG-Wary House Republicans Seek to Rein in SEC, BlackRock
The Republican-led House is starting to ramp up its attacks on environmental, social and governance investing, putting the Democratic-led SEC and ESG backers on notice.
House Republican Plans ‘Aggressive’ Timeline For FAA Bill
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) is setting an “aggressive goal” to craft a major aviation bill in the next few months, pledging to move faster than the Senate.
Manchin Rages Against Attempts to Broaden EV Tax Credit
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is pushing back against efforts to apply broad interpretations to a tax credit for electric vehicles that he largely wrote.
Bipartisan Duo Seeks Fresh Attempt at Diagnostics Reform Bill
A bipartisan House duo will revive a pair of health bills that failed to cross the finish line last year, including diagnostics reform legislation.
Elon Musk Meets With Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Capitol Hill
Elon Musk made a surprise visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday and met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Congressional Dads Form Caucus to Push Working Family Issues
Their kids may have gone home after a week on the floor of Congress, but a group of House representatives are keeping their status as fathers front and center with a new caucus to advance issues crucial to working families.
Elections, Politics & Probes
Retirement-Age Democrats Will Be Key to 2024 US Senate Control
Is it reasonable to retire at age 77? How about age 68?
DeSantis Calls for ‘New Blood’ at RNC Ahead of Contentious Vote
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, is calling for a change in GOP leadership ahead of a bitterly contested election on Friday for Republican National Committee chair.
Trump Fails to Persuade Judge to Throw Out Jan 6. Civil Suit
Trump failed to persuade a judge to throw out a civil lawsuit brought by Capitol Police officers over injuries they suffered during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Trump Lawyer Behind 2020 Pence Memos Faces Disciplinary Action
John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who helped lead Trump’s legal efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, is facing disciplinary action in California, where state bar regulators say they will seek to strip his license.
Kavanaugh Says Supreme Court Relations Good Amid Divisive Cases
US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh said relations among his colleagues are “quite good,” even as the court grapples with deeply divisive issues including abortion, voting rights and affirmation action.
Around the Administration
- Biden departs the White House for Camp David at 5:30 p.m.
- At 1:30 p.m., White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a briefing.
Air and Climate Standards Top EPA’s 2023 Rulemaking To-Do List
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to move ahead with a slate of major air and climate rules this year to make gains on the Biden administration’s long-promised climate goals.
- EPA Administrator Michael Regan is considering stepping down, Reuters reports, citing four unidentified people familiar with the matter. Read more.
Red States Sue to Block Labor Department’s ‘Woke’ ESG Rule
Texas, leading a coalition of 24 states, sued the Biden Administration Thursday to stop a new US Department of Labor rule that allegedly prioritizes “ill-defined” environmental, social, and governance concepts into ERISA regulations.
Fed Sees Soft Landing as Silver Lining of Temp Jobs Decline
The recent decline in temporary jobs — often a harbinger of recession — is actually raising hopes among Federal Reserve policymakers that their bid for a soft landing is working.
First Black Agriculture Deputy Secretary to Step Down From Role
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, the first Black official to serve in the role, is stepping down after about a year and a half on the job in order to spend more time with her family, she announced Thursday.
Eligibility Decisions Seen as Hardest Part of No Surprises Act
Determining which health-care payment disputes are eligible for arbitration under the No Surprises Act has turned out to be the hardest part of the process, a Treasury official said Thursday.
Antitrust Enforcers Need ‘Bias’ Toward Action, US Official Says
Antitrust enforcers should be willing to challenge mergers that decrease competition, without trusting corporations to stick to promised remedies, a top Justice Department official said Thursday, two days after the department sued Alphabet Inc.’s Google to break up its online advertising business.
Bivalent Covid Shot Should Become Standard, FDA Advisers Say
Bivalent Covid-19 shots should become the standard form of the vaccine, US advisers said, part of a plan to offer a single booster to the public each year that gives protection against the most recent, dominant strains.
Biden Urges Peaceful Protests in Memphis Over Tyre Nichols Death
Biden called for a full investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black driver in Memphis, Tennessee, who died after injuries suffered during a traffic stop earlier this month, and urged demonstrators to protest peacefully.
Biden Honors California Shooting Victims at Lunar New Year Event
Biden said the Asian-American community had experienced profound “pain and violence” as he marked the Lunar New Year at a White House event just days after a deadly mass shooting at a celebration in California left 11 people dead.
- Five people killed in shootings at two farms in Northern California this week were Chinese citizens, according to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. Read more.
Biden Dismisses Foreign Gripes About Policy: ‘To Hell With That’
Biden sharply dismissed criticism that his signature legislative accomplishments are too protectionist, even as US allies complain the policies could cut them out of valuable trade deals.
MORE ON FOREIGN POLICY
Japan, Netherlands to Join US in Chip Controls on China
Japan and the Netherlands are poised to join the US in limiting China’s access to advanced semiconductor machinery, forging a powerful alliance that will undercut Beijing’s ambitions to build its own domestic chip capabilities, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
US Strike Kills ISIS Leader al-Sudani in Remote Area of Somalia
Bilal al-Sudani, an Islamic State leader, was killed Wednesday night in a US counter-terrorism operation in a remote area of northern Somalia, according to senior administration officials.
Yellen Confident of Reaching Deal on New Russia Fuel-Price Caps
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she’s confident that discussions aimed at extending restrictions on the sale of Russian petroleum products will be concluded within an approaching deadline that coincides with new European Union sanctions against Moscow.
- Nearly a year into an invasion that was supposed to take weeks, Vladimir Putin is preparing a new offensive in Ukraine, at the same time steeling his country for a conflict with the US and its allies that he expects to last for years. Read more.
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