January approaches and with it an incoming GOP House majority. That won’t mean much as far as legislation goes given Democrats control the Senate, but it does mean the White House will face its first investigative pressure since Joe Biden took office.
Jim Jordan is already chomping at the bit, having made demands of the administration in the past while lacking subpoena power to compel document production and testimony. That’s all about to change, and you can expect to see a lot more White House officials before Congress over the next two years.
Enter Politico, which decided to collude with the White House in its first attempt to obstruct the incoming majority.
Scoop: White House to GOP congressmen: Sorry, but you have to restart your investigation demands.
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiReports) December 29, 2022
A top lawyer for the president pledged in letters to those members that the administration would operate in good faith with them. But he also said that oversight demands made by congressional Republicans during the last Congress would have to be started over.
In respective letters to Reps. James Comer (R-Ky) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber said that the Biden administration had no immediate plans to respond to a slew of records requests that both men made the past several weeks. In those letters, obtained exclusively by POLITICO, Sauber described such requests as constitutionally illegitimate because both Jordan, who is expected to chair the House Judiciary Committee, and Comer, who is expected to head the Oversight Committee, made them before they had any authority to do so.
“Congress has not delegated such [oversight] authority to individual members of Congress who are not committee chairmen, and the House has not done so under its current Rules,” wrote Sauber, one of the White House’s top oversight lawyers.
This is the equivalent of a brush-back pitch in baseball. In one breath, the White House is saying it will operate in good faith. In the next, it’s clinging to a supposed technicality that would require the GOP to restart all its investigative inquiries begun under the last Congress.
I’m not sure how legitimate that is, but it’s certainly a cheap tactic meant to do nothing but delay. Politico actually admits that the White House “briefed” the publication, and Heidi Przybyla, the stenographer of the article, was dutiful to report what they had to say without question.
Further, it appears that Politico did not reach out for comment from the House GOP to get their side of the story until after the publication of the article. Apparently, the left-leaning outlet felt it was so important to rush out the White House’s talking points that it couldn’t wait around to do any due diligence.
This was clearly a planned and coordinated effort between the White House and “journalists” at Politico.
And it just shows how the media and White House will work hand-in-hand politically to obstruct legitimate constitutional oversight.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 29, 2022
It must be nice to have journalists willing and waiting to violate their own supposed code of ethics to push your narrative. If the White House wants something out there, all they have to do is call up Politico and tell them what to write. Heck, no one involved in this stunt even bothered to cover their tracks. The letter was leaked prior to it even getting to the House GOP and Politico admits the White House itself is the one who briefed them on it.
Regardless, I expect the House GOP to have subpoenas ready and waiting the moment they take the gavels of all the committees. The only thing that can stop that at this point is a pointless, prolonged battle over leadership, but given the Republican penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, that’s probably the most likely outcome.