The White House on Tuesday hit back at House Republicans after the House Oversight Committee announced that the first hearing in a GOP-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden would take place on 28 September.
Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the the White House Counsel’s Office, said in a statement that the timing of the announcement and of the hearing itself — just 48 hours before the federal government will run out of funds at the end of the fiscal year — shows that the House GOP is “already telegraphing their plans to try to distract from their own chaotic inability to govern and the impacts of it on the country”.
“Staging a political stunt hearing in the waning days before they may shut down the government reveals their true priorities: to them, baseless personal attacks on President Biden are more important than preventing a government shutdown and the pain it would inflict on American families,” Mr Sams said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the inquiry last week in a bid to appease extremist factions of his conference and entice them into voting to keep the US government funded next week.
The embattled Republican leader’s announcement meant he reneged on a prior pledged to require a vote of the full 435-member body before conducting an impeachment probe into Mr Biden, who has been the subject of a months-long investigation by the House Oversight Committee which has turned up no evidence that he has broken any laws or committed any wrongdoing. Mr McCarthy previously criticised then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi for employing during the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump.
A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee has said that the hearing is set to “focus on constitutional and legal questions surrounding the President’s involvement in corruption and abuse of public office”.
The spokesperson added that the lawmakers are planning on subpoenaing the personal and business bank records of Mr Biden, his brother James Biden, and the president’s son Hunter Biden “as early as this week”.
The hearing comes amid the House GOP’s ongoing investigation of the president’s youngest and only surviving son, who is an attorney and former lobbyist.
The chair of the Oversight Committee, James Comer of Kentucky, said that the hearing will review existing evidence developed during the probe, according to Axios.
“We’ll be issuing the details hopefully by the end of the day or first thing in the morning,” he said on Tuesday.
While a number of Republicans in both the Senate and the House have said that they don’t think there’s enough evidence to launch an inquiry, an Oversight Committee spokesperson said the panel “will continue to follow the evidence and money trail to provide the transparency and accountability that Americans demand from their government”.
The scheduling of the first hearing comes as California Governor Gavin Newsom mocked the Republicans for launching their inquiry in an interview with CNN.
Mr Newsom blasted Mr McCarthy for launching the probe without any evidence of wrongdoing against Mr Biden. He called the investigation a “joke” after the probe was started despite no proven link showing that Mr Biden benefitted from his son’s business dealings.
“This is student government,” Mr Newsom told CNN in an interview aired on Monday night. “I mean, this is a perversity with what the founding fathers ever conceived of and imagined. So, if that’s the best they could do, give me a break.”
Mr Newsom said that while he doesn’t “love” that some family members of political leaders use their DC influence to make large amounts of money, he said it was “hardly unique”.
“If that’s the new criteria, there are a lot of folks in a lot of industries, not just in politics, where people have family members and relationships that they’re trying to parlay and get a little influence and benefit in that respect,” he said.