News: The White House is circulating a memo to Hill Democrats pushing back on Republican claims that the administration is refusing to cooperate with the House GOP impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
In the messaging guidance, White House Oversight spokesperson Ian Sams accuses Republicans of “trying to invent claims of ‘obstruction’ and ‘stonewalling’ to rationalize their illegitimate so-called ‘impeachment inquiry.’”
The memo comes as House Republican investigators pitch their colleagues this morning on the necessity of formally voting to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden. House GOP leadership claims the vote is necessary to overcome the White House’s alleged refusal to turn over key documents.
The White House memo, however, argues that the administration has cooperated with congressional requests. Sams points out that multiple senior officials have testified as part of the Biden probe, including the unprecedented appearance of Special Counsel David Weiss during his ongoing investigation of the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Republicans have also accessed “35,000 pages of private financial records,” “more than 2,000 pages of Treasury Department financial reports” and “thousands of Vice Presidential-era records released by the National Archives,” according to the White House.
“Despite receiving this significant volume of material, House Republicans have just failed to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden — but plenty of evidence debunking their claims,” Sams writes.
The GOP argument: The Republicans leading the probe see the situation very differently.
“We need an impeachment inquiry because this administration continues to obstruct,” House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) told us. “They continue to refuse to turn over documents, tens of thousands of pseudonym emails.”
The Kentucky Republican is referring to emails possessed by the National Archives and Records Administration that were sent by pseudonym addresses used by then-Vice President Biden. Comer is also seeking emails between Biden and his family’s business entities while Biden was vice president.
Comer has recently subpoenaed scores of Biden family business associates and relatives as he attempts to gather more information on the Bidens’ financial dealings. Republicans are increasingly aware that some of these subpoenas — and future probes that could target the White House directly — may result in legal disputes.
Later today, chairs of the main committees conducting the inquiry — Comer, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.) — will provide an update on their investigatory progress during the special GOP conference meeting.
The three GOP chairs will argue that voting to establish an inquiry will strengthen the House’s legal position in enforcing key subpoenas. A vote by the full House would cut off a line of argument from potential witnesses that the GOP probe isn’t legitimate, Republicans said.
As we scooped on Wednesday, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer told his colleagues to expect to vote on establishing the impeachment inquiry in the coming weeks.
In our Thursday AM edition, we reported that many of the most vulnerable House Republicans are ready to vote to officially open the impeachment inquiry. That’s a good sign that if the measure is brought to the floor, it will likely pass, even with Republicans’ thin majority.
While House Republicans have uncovered plenty of new information about Biden family business dealings, there still isn’t any direct evidence of wrongdoing by the president.
— Max Cohen and Mica Soellner