Republicans have plans for after the midterm elections if they retake the Senate: endless bullshit investigations into the Biden administration. When The Hill asked GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) what issues he would scrutinize, Johnson replied, “Like everything? It’s like a mosquito in a nudist colony. It’s a target-rich environment.”
Johnson mentioned the administration’s coronavirus response as one possible area of investigation, telling The Hill, “There’s so much more in terms of what happened with our federal health agencies that we need to explore.” In the middle of the pandemic, Johnson, a proud anti-vaxxer, said he would not get vaccinated. Last year, he told a conservative radio host that there is “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people.” And in January of this year, he told the same radio host: “Why do we think that we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease? Why do we assume that the body’s natural immune system isn’t the marvel that it really is?” Of course, the reason is because multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that vaccine-induced immunity is superior to immunity acquired by contracting Covid-19.
But Johnson is not alone in his desire to probe the federal coronavirus response. Fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an ophthalmologist, has positioned himself as an enemy and skeptic of vaccines and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor. Just last week, Paul introduced legislation to eliminate Fauci’s position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and in congressional hearings throughout the pandemic, Paul has attacked Fauci and accused his agency of funding a lab that created the novel coronavirus, a flimsy claim Fauci has repeatedly disputed as “molecularly impossible.”
If the GOP wins control of the Senate, Paul has indicated his attacks would only increase, especially if he replaces retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr as the party’s top member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “If we win in November, if I’m chairman of a committee, if I have subpoena power, we’ll go after every one of [Fauci’s] records,” Paul threatened last month during an appearance on a conservative podcast. “We’ll have an investigator go through this piece-by-piece because we don’t need this to happen again.”
All of this is bad news for Fauci, who told the HELP committee in January that Paul’s attacks lead to threats against him and his family. “What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children will have seen phone calls because people are lying about me,” the doctor said.
Other possible Republican targets for investigation include the border, the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Hunter Biden. GOP Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told The Hill he hopes to hold oversight hearings on Afghanistan. “We need oversight hearings on this — on what they have found and on the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he said, noting a military report obtained by the Washington Post that criticized the administration. “I would favor a select committee that is bipartisan, but I think Congress needs to do some oversight.”
Johnson also wants to seek Hunter Biden’s travel records. “We’ve been trying to get his travel records for a couple of years now,” Johnson told The Hill, adding, “The lack of transparency in these agencies. The lack of their willingness to comply with legitimate congressional oversight. I mean, I think that’s an investigation right there.”
Johnson and many of his fellow Republicans, however, did not show the same level of concern for transparency and oversight when the Trump administration was stonewalling congressional subpoenas left and right.