White House denounces 'irresponsible' subpoenas from House GOP and says they should be withdrawn

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is firing back on a recent slate of subpoenas issued by House Republicans targeting members of President Joe Biden’s family and his inner circle of aides, describing the GOP’s impeachment push as an illegitimate endeavor that has repeatedly failed to produce proof of wrongdoing.

The four-page letter from a top White House attorney to Republican committee leaders portrays an overzealous House GOP majority that, according to the letter, has “misrepresented the facts, ignored the overwhelming evidence disproving your claims, and repeatedly shifted the rationale for your ‘inquiry.’”

It calls on Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan to withdraw what the White House described as an “irresponsible set of subpoenas and requests for interviews.”

The White House argued that House Republicans were “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress” for political gain, and have “consistently misrepresented the documents and testimony you have received and then moved the goalposts when your claims have been debunked.”

“This pattern of distortions and falsehoods lays bare that no amount of truthful testimony or document productions will satisfy you and exposes the improper nature of your Committee’s efforts,” Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, wrote in the letter, sent Friday to Comer and Jordan. “Congressional harassment of the President to score political points is precisely the type of conduct that the Constitution and its separation of powers was meant to prevent.”

In a long-anticipated move, Comer this month issued subpoenas to Biden’s son Hunter and brother James, insisting that the committee has found indications of “influence peddling” by members of the president’s family in their business dealings. But after nearly a year, House Republicans have yet to provide evidence that directly implicates Joe Biden in any wrongdoing.

Comer responded Friday that if the president had nothing to hide, then he should make his aides available to the committee for interviews on the classified documents probe.

“President Biden and this White House are seeking to obstruct our investigation at every turn,” Comer said. "We are not deterred by this obstruction and will continue to follow the facts and hold President Biden accountable to the American people.”

Hunter Biden’s representatives, while dismissing the subpoenas as a “political stunt,” have said he would be willing to speak to the Oversight committee “in a public forum and at the right time.” An attorney for James Biden said a subpoena was unnecessary because the committee has already reviewed private bank records and transactions between the two brothers. The records concerned two loans that took place when Biden was not in office or a candidate for president.

Sauber noted that all those targeted for subpoenas and voluntary interviews last week are private citizens, including Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s son Beau, and Sara Biden, the president’s sister-in-law.

Earlier this week, Comer also subpoenaed former White House counsel Dana Remus and other White House aides to speak with the committee on whether Biden had mishandled classified information — an issue currently under investigation by special counsel Robert Hur.

“These requests appear to be motivated by a desire to boost your subpoena numbers, as Chairman Jordan tweeted just this week, rather than any legitimate investigative interest,” Sauber wrote. On the social media platform X, Jordan emphasized that more than 20 people had received subpoenas and interview requests on their impeachment efforts, and that there would be “more to come.”

In his letter, Sauber also stressed that the House has not authorized a formal impeachment inquiry by a vote of the full House and that new Speaker Mike Johnson — when former President Donald Trump was facing the prospect of impeachment by a Democratic-led House — said any inquiry without a House vote was a “sham.”

Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.