It's not surprising that President Biden and his administration would resist oversight by Republicans in the House of Representatives, but it's notable that the White House is already kicking off what's likely to be a concerted attempt to stonewall the new House majority's investigations of the Biden administration.
According to reporting from Politico — which appears to have been a coordinated leak from the White House to get in front of the story, as Rebecca reported Wednesday night — Biden's White House legal team notified GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH) and James Comer (KY) that their requests for information from the Biden administration would not be heeded because they were "constitutionally illegitimate."
White House lawyer Richard Sauber told Jordan and Comer that "Congress has not delegated such authority to individual members of Congress who are not committee chairmen, and the House has not done so under its current Rules." That means that Republicans leading oversight efforts must, essentially, restart their investigations. Never mind, apparently, that Jordan is expected to be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Comer is likely the next chairman of the House Oversight Committee in the new Congress.
So — on something of a technicality — Biden's White House lawyers tasked with shielding the president and his administration from scrutiny and slowing Republican investigations rejected the requests for information and said the West Wing would not heed the GOP inquiries.
As Politico noted, the White House's refusal to turn over records — for now at least — "represents the first volley in what is likely to be a contentious and potentially litigious two years between House Republicans and the Biden White House," in addition to being "an apparent effort to shield the administration from a hail of potential subpoenas in early January by describing them as an abuse of the normal process of congressional oversight."
The Republicans being stymied by the White House already are not pulling punches in response.
"Just before dawn at 4:33 a.m., the White House informed us they will not provide the answers we have been seeking for the American people on important issues such as the border and fentanyl crises, the energy crisis, botched Afghanistan withdrawal, COVID origins, and the Biden family's influence peddling," Rep. Comer said in a statement Thursday.
"President Biden promised to have the most transparent administration in history," Comer reminded, "but at every turn the Biden White House seeks to obstruct congressional oversight and hide information from the American people."
The Biden White House is obstructing congressional investigations into:— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) December 29, 2022
❌border & fentanyl crises
❌Biden family's influence peddling
We are undeterred.
Oversight and accountability are coming.
"Why is the Biden Administration hiding this information?" Comer asked. "Republicans are undeterred by the Biden Administration’s obstruction and will continue pressing for the answers, transparency, and accountability that the American people deserve."
In an interview with Jason Chaffetz on Hannity Thursday night, Comer again previewed the actions of the Biden administration his committee intends to investigate starting in the new Congress which gets underway on January 3:
President Biden promised to have the most transparent administration in history but at every turn the Biden White House seeks to obstruct congressional oversight and hide information from Americans.@GOPoversight is undeterred. We will get answers. @FoxNews @jasoninthehouse pic.twitter.com/S1cr04eFyp— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) December 29, 2022