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White House offers to meet with Republicans about Biden impeachment inquiry in sign of potential cooperation

WASHINGTON — As House Republicans continue their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, the White House on Wednesday put forth a new offer: A meeting between Biden's aides and Republican staff to engage in talks.

The White House made the offer in a letter to House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. It's a sign of possible future cooperation between the White House and House Republicans as GOP leadership eyes to hold a vote to formally authorize the inquiry to bolster its legal standing.

Comer and Jordan sent a letter on Tuesday to the White House, which was not made public until Wednesday, expressing concern about a subpoena the oversight committee previously issued to former White House counsel Dana Remus. The subpoena called on the attorney to testify behind closed doors about Biden's handling of classified documents.

The two GOP chairs accuse the White House of only offering an “amorphous, generalized objection” to the subpoenas.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, at the US Department of the Interior in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2023.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, at the US Department of the Interior in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2023.

But notably, the letter says “the Committees are willing to provide reasonable accommodations to Ms. Remus and we are willing to work with the White House to address any legitimate Executive Branch institutional interests.”

In the White House’s response, special counsel Dick Sauber dismissed House Republicans’ accusations that Biden's administration has been offering vague defenses to subvert the subpoenas. Instead, He argued the subpoena could interfere with a separate ongoing special counsel investigation into Biden’s classified documents.

“Contrary to the assertion in your December 5, 2023, letter, we have repeatedly raised significant legal and constitutional concerns about your efforts to compel the testimony of Ms. Remus,” Sauber said.

However, Sauber said the White House was pleased to see that GOP investigators were “ready to discuss accommodations” to address the concerns they have already raised in regards to Remus’ testimony.

Whether the White House and House Republicans would cooperate on the matter is unclear given the existing hostilities between GOP investigators and Biden's aides. 

House Republicans have repeatedly accused the White House of stonewalling their impeachment inquiry, while the Biden administration has contended it has been fully cooperating with the investigation, offering witnesses and evidence disproving some of the allegations GOP investigators have hurled at the White House.

"Instead of cooperating with Congress, the White House created a war room with two dozen staffers to combat our constitutional oversight and send snarky letters," Jessica Collins, a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee said in a statement.

The nature of the letter from Comer and Jordan, which appears to be offering to accommodate the Biden administration’s concerns, is unusual considering most letters from the oversight and judiciary committees have been released publicly. Unlike other letters, it is not listed on the oversight committee’s website.

USA TODAY has reached out to the House Judiciary Committee for comment.

(L-R) U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY) depart a news conference with House Republican leadership at the U.S. Capitol November 29, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(L-R) U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY) depart a news conference with House Republican leadership at the U.S. Capitol November 29, 2023 in Washington, DC.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden impeachment inquiry: White House offers to meet with Republicans