White House says impeachment inquiry ‘illegitimate,’ headed down a ‘path of failure’

WASHINGTON — The White House is rebuking House Republicans for continuing to pursue their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden despite admitting that they haven’t uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing.

Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for Oversight and Investigations, argued in a statement Tuesday that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., appears to be calling the shots.

“All these House Republicans and their colleagues should answer for why they would change tune now and go along with her baseless exercise to smear President Biden when their allegations have already been thoroughly fact-checked and debunked,” Sams said, “instead of focusing on the issues they claimed they would prioritize when they ran for office, like lowering inflation, growing the economy, and strengthening national security.”

The White House said that House Republicans have engaged in these probes for months and no documents, testimony or sensitive law enforcement information “has supported their allegations of wrongdoing by President Biden.” The White House highlighted several quotes from Republican lawmakers saying they had not seen evidence of wrongdoing.

“Despite this reality, the far right is calling the shots and demanding House Republicans continue down this path of failure,” said the White House, which called the impeachment inquiry “illegitimate.”

A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee rebutted the White House statement, accusing the president of having “repeatedly lied to the American people.” “Congress has a responsibility to investigate this blatant corruption and will continue to follow the facts to provide the transparency and accountability that are owed to the American people,” the spokesman said.

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., is leading the investigation in conjunction with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo.

House Republicans are gearing up to soon vote to formally authorize the GOP’s impeachment inquiry, which was announced by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in September. Leaving the GOP conference meeting Tuesday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., both said that a vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry would happen next week, with Emmer adding the caveat “if it comes.”

Democrats criticized McCarthy’s decision, pointing out that he had lashed out at then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for announcing an impeachment inquiry into then-President Donald Trump herself without a formal House vote authorizing it.

A month later, the House voted to formalize rules and procedures for the Trump inquiry.

Key House Republicans say that the purpose of a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry into Biden is to strengthen the GOP’s enforcement of subpoenas in a potential legal fight.

As part of the inquiry, the Oversight panel has already issued subpoenas to the president’s son Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden. Republicans are insisting that Hunter Biden appear first for a closed-door deposition, while he has proposed that he testify publicly instead.

James Biden was originally scheduled to appear for a deposition on Wednesday, but that’s no longer expected to happen that day, according to a source familiar with the process. The committee is in communication with his attorney about scheduling a time for him to come in.

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.

Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner

and

Rebecca Kaplan

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