Photo edit of President Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta.
A dedicated team of White House lawyers, strategists, and Capitol Hill veterans is working tirelessly in a suite of rooms deep inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to respond to a barrage of oversight demands launched by House Republicans. This team is using the suite of rooms previously used by the Secretary of War and has transformed it into a formidable investigations ‘war room.’
Since President Biden took office, Republicans in Congress have been quick to accuse him and his administration of wrongdoing, but have had no real power to demand documents or compel testimony. That changed in January when the GOP took over the House majority and all the investigative powers that come with it. House Republicans are now launching investigations into a range of issues, including internet companies and the “weaponization of government” to the Afghanistan withdrawal and the business dealings of the president’s family, including his son Hunter.
The White House team has been responding to these requests, working on legitimate requests that they view as substantive, however choosing to not comply with requests they feel as though are not in “good faith.” The White House has expressed their opinion that many of the investigations launched by House Republicans are political stunts and are targeting issues that are not a priority for the American public. However, given the current state of the economy and the challenges faced by average Americans under President Biden, it’s fair to assume many are more interested in fixing the poor economy than they are in issues of Biden’s poor handling of situations.
Despite the political risks, the White House has remained steadfast and is letting President Biden stay above the fray, focusing on his administration’s accomplishments and goals. The White House team is determined to undercut the investigations by sharing clips that they feel show Republicans overreaching, and polls indicate that many Americans are skeptical of these investigations. The White House’s bet is that Republicans will take things too far and turn off voters, however, House Republicans are likely believing that exactly the opposite will be true, and these investigations will turn voters off to Biden and his political allies.
Outside groups have been amplifying the White House message, with organizations like the Congressional Integrity Project running ads in swing districts held by Republicans and flooding inboxes with talking points slamming Republican committee members. David Brock, a veteran of these sorts of partisan battles, leads another outside group called Facts First USA to defend Biden and deflect from his poor performance throughout his presidency.
The White House team includes seasoned lawyers who know how to handle investigations, and negotiations between the legal teams on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are ongoing. The goal is to differentiate between a serious demand for documents and more of a press release meant to generate attention. According to Eric Schultz, who was part of the team that the Obama White House put together to respond to investigations that became household names like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and Solyndra, a robust response is necessary.