Shadow campaign mounted to defend Joe Biden against House Republicans


WASHINGTON — As Republicans prepare to use their new House majority to investigate the business dealings of the Biden administration and the president’s son, Hunter, Democrats are assembling a constellation of groups to respond.

President Joe Biden hasn’t said if he’s running for reelection, but groups designed to defend him and discredit the opposition — including launching intense opposition investigative efforts into the Republican, who is dominant in Congress – in the run-up to a possible rematch with former President Donald Trump in 2024.

In the past two weeks, three new “war chambers” have sprung up to counter the investigations of House Republicans, each with multimillion-dollar budgets and the backing of some of the Democratic Party’s most famous operatives. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee and major outside groups are already pushing the shift from 2022 to 2024.

“It’s clear the White House is preparing for the expected barrage of undeserving investigations from House Republicans, and outside groups are a vital part,” said Adrienne Elrod, who helped correct the record, which was passed by Congress before 2016. was approved. Defended Hillary Clinton from investigation. The presidential campaign was in full swing.

Every White House has faced congressional scrutiny. But the plethora of well-funded groups shows an eagerness among Democratic donors to defend Biden — or at least stop Trump — and a recognition that fighting public opinion is at least as important legally as it is will lay the groundwork for this. . Next campaign.

“It’s important that the opposition doesn’t get the upper hand in defining the false narrative, and outside groups can help mitigate that,” Elrod said.

The White House itself has been preparing for the investigation for months, adding both legal and public relations firepower to the Office of White House Counsel, which is ramping up its efforts, and encouraging federal agencies to take similar steps. doing.

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This summer, as it looked increasingly likely that the Republicans would win one or both chambers of Congress, a small group of White House staffers began mapping possible investigative angles, keeping a close eye on the top Republican investigators. also included.

Former Obama White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, “There are many restrictions on the administration in answering surveillance questions — even wholly bogus ones — but none of them apply to outside groups.” Ahead of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection bid.

For example, government officials are prohibited by federal law from playing politics. And anyway, the White House prefers to stay above the political battle. Therefore, outside groups can provide political and PR support, especially in the absence of the Biden campaign, and muck about particularly sensitive issues like Hunter Biden.

Both sides insist they are after the truth. But the politics of the situation are undeniable and only thinly disguised.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who will use his potential Judiciary Committee chairmanship to aggressively investigate the Justice Department’s alleged politicization, said on CPAC last month that the GOP majority is “the only way to win the 2024 race.” to frame. .” will work for,

“These are mock tests. You can take Jordan at his word,” said Kyle Herrig, founder and executive director of one of the new war chambers, the Congressional Integrity Project, which is being relaunched to fight the investigation. “He has no agenda that will help Americans. They only have one agenda and that is a political agenda.”

The Congressional Integrity Project, which focus groups are already working on, promises to be as much about offense as defense. It plans to investigate lawmakers investigating Biden, many of whom come from safe congressional districts and have never faced a difficult election and the kind of opposition scrutiny and media attention it brings.

“We will leave no stone unturned. No one has done the investigative research that we have done on these researchers. People who live in glass houses are not allowed to throw stones,” Herrig said. “We have a multi-million dollar budget and we work with a team of researchers and communicators.”

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Herrig’s group has teamed up with another, Courage for America, which has just launched. While the Congressional Integrity Project focuses on the investigation, Courage for America focuses on the legislation and personalities of the entire House GOP caucus.

Among other things, it aims to make freshman legislators famous. And it aims to highlight and mobilize opposition to GOP policies, such as a proposed national abortion ban and potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“The American people must be introduced and informed about the extremist agenda of this new House and who these members are,” said Zach Petkanas, the Clinton campaign director and now the director of Courage for America. Running the war room supported by. , “This is a very dangerous new caucus and we go out every day to make sure people know about it.”

With a seven-figure budget and backing from the Hub Project, a massive Democratic black money network, the group is planning a robust operation, including traditional opposition research and communications, as well as polls, paid advertising and social media campaigns.

The third group, Facts First, was founded by David Brock, a former self-described “right-wing hitman”, who subsequently made a political conversion and used his fundraising talent to start a series of groups. Which have become an important part of the democratic infrastructure. These include Media Matters and American Bridge, both of which he ran from to start Facts First.

Brock said a US Bridge donor has already pledged a six-figure amount to support Facts First, which he says will have a $10 million budget over two years. Co-founders include former Republican Rep. David Jolley, a Trump critic who has since left the party, and longtime Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

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Unlike the other two groups, in order to maintain its independence, Facts First chose not to formally approach the White House for blessing, though back-channel communications led it to believe the effort was welcome.

Brock, who also founded the pro-Clinton Correct the Record, said the experience taught him that the new group needed to be more aggressive on social media and do more polling to understand what the American controversy was like du jour. let’s see.

“I do believe that without a strong operation like the one we’re running, I think it’s going to be hard for President Biden to get reelected,” he said, before quickly adding, “this Republican is who they really are. Making it a political issue. We are doing this in response.”

Of the new groups, Brock appears to be working most closely with Hunter Biden and his legal team, led by entertainment attorney Kevin Morris.

Hunter Biden’s relationship, his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and the corporate effort to fund it all will certainly be a major focus of Republican questions. Republicans have long argued that Biden helped with his son’s foreign affairs dealings — the allegation central to Trump’s first impeachment trial — but are still looking for evidence to prove it.

Brock recently traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Hunter Biden and said he came away feeling confident.

“I didn’t panic. I came from that idea that over time we will be able to show that this is a Republican fantasy story fueled by a lot of unreliable witnesses and false conspiracy theories,” he said. “For me, the main story here is that of an addict whose mental health problems run in most families in America. … I also think this is the story of Joe Biden as an empathetic father.




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