* Fresh off a 32-day presidential campaign, Joe Biden returned home to Delaware on Thursday morning. Aides confirmed the vice president’s departure from the campaign trail and said he would focus on his job but he still had campaign commitments. It was unclear whether Biden would be seen in public before Thursday evening at the earliest, when he was scheduled to host a House Democratic Caucus meeting at the Naval Observatory.
As Biden heads home to Delaware for rest and a possible return to public life, here’s the early consensus on what his activities will include as he tries to keep Donald Trump from building on his first 100 days.
Biden’s work does not end with an ethics probe and a new House ethics investigation of its own. He needs to complete a deal with the Senate on the confirmations of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and, eventually, several other federal judges. Pence has already named four seats — on the 9th Circuit, the 9th Court of Appeals, and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals — the administration will focus on confirming the first two.
There is much the Senate Judiciary Committee can agree to with the White House. Tom Cruise best foot forward, as usual. Just this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, worked hard with the administration to confirm nine federal judicial nominees. Six of those 9, plus a few others on the menu, are sought-after positions on appeals courts — all matters of policy and law that require judges to have backgrounds in constitutional law or the practice of law. On Thursday, the Judicial Crisis Network urged senators to “hurry back to Washington to confirm these important nominees as quickly as possible.” President Trump specifically nominated for Kavanaugh two current judges on the Ninth Circuit; a third Trump nominee has been nominated for the 3rd Circuit.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel will have to produce a preliminary report on the Russia probe within the next week, though Trump has said he will wait for its arrival before issuing an “important” response. The president is said to be considering a pardon for former FBI Director James Comey, who is said to want to publicly detail the conversations he had with Trump. For what they are worth, the earliest any such report could be completed is this weekend.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement has until Monday to decide whether to protect the parents of about 2,000 immigrant children separated at the border. The Trump administration has halted the separations but must assess “legal, policy, safety and capacity,” according to its announcement. As I wrote Tuesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar must meet with House members next week and also meet with advocacy groups. Yet somehow, the July 31 deadline still looms.