Since the GOP took control of the House of Representatives, they have launched investigations into everything from internet companies and the “weaponization of government” to the Afghanistan withdrawal and the business dealings of the Biden family.
But a group of about two dozen White House lawyers, strategists, and Capitol Hill veterans gather regularly in an executive space once occupied as a literal War Room, and plan strategies to deal with the barrage of oversight demands.
Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel’s office, said the team is willing to work in good faith on “substantive” requests they view as legitimate, and are trading letters with House committees.
Their intent is to let President Biden stay above the ruckus, while undercutting the investigations and reinforcing the belief of many Americans that Republicans are overstepping their authority and will turn off voters.
Without an official White House endorsement, two outside groups are calling attention to the GOP motivations.
The Congressional Integrity Project is running ads in swing districts held by Republicans, while Facts First USA is hitting back against Hunter Biden attacks, and are leading with a defense the White House won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t say or do.
And as much as the White House would like to blow off the investigations, they actually do need to cooperate, said James Barnette, a partner with law firm Steptoe and Johnson.
He said the White House has seasoned lawyers on this team who know how to handle investigations. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if the scathing letter coming from Capitol Hill is a serious demand for documents or more of a press release meant to generate attention.
“Republicans can hold hearings on anything they want, with any witnesses they want,” said Barnette. “And if you’re not at the table, you’re going to be eaten for dinner.”