Biden will wield significant influence on the course of these probes. His Department of Justice will decide whether to continue defending against the House’s subpoenas, for example. But he faces a tricky calculus: rolling back Trump’s defiance of congressional authority without ceding too much ground to the Republicans hoping to draw blood.
Some House aides suggested Speaker Nancy Pelosi would ultimately decide which probes to continue or phase out, in consultation with Biden’s transition and administration. One of the tensions facing Democrats is the fact that Biden ran as a unity candidate, promising to turn the page on Trump-era scandal and bring the country together. Investigations of his predecessor, whether by Democrats in Congress or by DOJ, could cut against that healing message. However, Trump is still a powerful motivating force for Democrats and — much as Trump made Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton a foil for his entire term — Democrats are unlikely to sheathe their swords for Trump, particularly as voices in his orbit whisper about the prospect of a 2024 bid.
Pelosi and Biden’s decisions will also have no bearing on the criminal exposure Trump and his company may face from investigations underway by Manhattan and New York state prosecutors, who are looking into whether the Trump Organization committed bank or tax fraud, as well as whether Trump inflated the value of his assets to obtain loans. Whether or not Congress and the Biden Justice Department pursue Trump-focused inquiries, Trump is still facing a post-presidency thicket of litigation.