The White House on Tuesday pounced on Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold on hundreds of military promotions, saying that Americans have had enough with him and Senate Republicans playing politics with service members.
“The American people have had enough with the excuses. Senator Tuberville, and all 48 Senate Republicans who are standing by him, owe it to the country to stop playing politics with the lives of those who serve in uniform and their families, and risking our nation’s safety,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a memo.
The memo highlighted that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), a presidential hopeful, criticized the hold Tuesday, arguing that “there’s got to be other ways” to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
It also highlighted a CNN report about hundreds of military families who recently signed a petition for Tuberville to relent, calling his hold “political showmanship.”
The Defense Department’s new abortion policy provides paid leave and travel reimbursement for abortions. Tuberville argues it violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion.
The White House memo, titled “The Evolving World of Senator Tommy Tuberville,” also points to Tuberville’s past comments about why he is holding up the military promotions since he began his protest in February.
“For nearly six months, Senator Tuberville’s excuses for holding up the confirmation of more than 300 senior military positions have piled up, with each one weaker than the last,” Bates said.
The memo noted that Tuberville said in February that the abortion policy was an “illegal expansion of [Department of Defense] authority,” in April said “the military is top heavy” and last month said that the freeze is not holding up readiness.
President Biden and other top officials have for weeks been hammering Tuberville about his protest. Last week, the White House called out Tuberville on X , formerly known as Twitter, posting “This you?” and sharing a series of headlines about the issues the holds have caused.
Tuesday's memo is the latest example of the White House recently becoming punchier going into 2024, increasingly jumping in and bashing the GOP. Earlier Tuesday, it issued a statement accusing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of lying in order to cave to the far-right members of the House Republican Conference and their push for an impeachment inquiry into Biden.
The White House on Tuesday accused Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of lying in order to cave to the far-right members of the House Republican Conference and their push for an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office, dug into McCarthy’s Fox News appearance Monday evening, saying he “continued lying about President Biden — making a series of plainly false, widely debunked attacks in order to promote the extreme far right’s baseless impeachment stunt that even some members of McCarthy’s own caucus are expressing concerns about pursuing.”
McCarthy on Fox News compared the Biden administration to the Nixon administration, arguing that they both used the federal government to obstruct congressional investigations. Sams called that comparison “bizarre” and “demonstrably false,” highlighting that the Biden administration's Treasury Department and the FBI provided the now GOP-led House Oversight Committee with records and access.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) addresses reporters following a press conference on Thursday, July 27, 2023 to discuss their initiatives passed before the House’s August district work period.
McCarthy on Fox News echoed what House Republicans have characterized as bribes involving then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden's business dealings.
Sams referred to the testimony released last week of Hunter Biden’s old business associate Devon Archer. In the testimony, Archer couldn’t corroborate allegations that Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky made two $5 million payments to Hunter Biden and his father. Archer also said he would disagree with the conclusion that then-Vice President Biden was bribed by Zlochevsky.
Last month, Republicans released an FBI form that contains an unverified tip that Biden was involved in such a scheme. The tip in the FBI form rests on a years-long allegation that Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in funding to Ukraine unless then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was ousted.
The White House has denied any wrongdoing, and evidence has never been raised showing that Biden called for Shokin’s ouster to help his son.
“Speaker McCarthy has decided the truth should not get in the way of his and House Republicans’ relentless efforts to smear the President. They are prioritizing their own extreme, far-right political agenda at the expense of focusing on what really matters to the American people: working together to make their lives better,” Sams said Tuesday.
He called pursuing an impeachment inquiry a “shameless and baseless” stunt and said that McCarthy and the GOP should instead be working with the president to bring down inflation and grow the economy.
“That is, after all, what the American people sent their leaders to Washington to do,” Sams said.
The statement from Sams is the latest example of the White House recently becoming punchier going into 2024, increasingly jumping in and bashing the GOP.
The White House has hammered Republicans and McCarthy over floating that the House would move toward an impeachment inquiry and has been quick with memos and statements to criticize the GOP attacks on the president.
The House Oversight Committee on Thursday released the transcript of Devon Archer’s closed-door testimony, offering insight into the business dealings of his former business associate, Hunter Biden, and an eye into the GOP investigation of the Biden family.
Archer sat for a transcribed interview before the Oversight panel Monday, after which lawmakers on each side of the aisle offered conflicting interpretations of his testimony as observers awaited the release of the transcript.
The clashing narratives continued on Thursday, with the Republicans on the committee saying the testimony from Archer — who they view as a key witness in their probe — “confirmed several critical pieces of information in our investigation of the Bidens' influence peddling schemes,” while the top Democrat on the panel said the interview “failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.”
According to the transcript, Archer testified that Hunter Biden put his father, then the vice president, on speakerphone during some meetings with associates, and the interview covered the Biden “brand” at length, but Archer said he was not aware of President Biden committing any wrongdoing.
Abbe Lowell, counsel for Hunter Biden, in a statement this week said House Republicans “keep swinging and keep striking out” on their pursuit of President Biden through his son.
The release of the testimony was, nonetheless, a notable development in the House GOP’s probe, which for months has sought to connect President Biden to his son’s business dealings — especially as Republicans eye an impeachment inquiry targeting the White House.
Here are five key takeaways from Archer’s interview.
Archer says he’s not aware of wrongdoing by President Biden
Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's former business partner, is pursued by reporters as he arrives on Capitol Hill to give closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee in the Republican-led investigations into President Joe Biden's son, in Washington, Monday, July 31, 2023.
Archer said he had “no knowledge” of whether Biden altered any U.S. foreign policy while he was vice president to benefit his son.
When flat-out asked if he is aware of any wrongdoing by the then-vice president, Archer said, “No, I’m not aware of any.”
He also said he had no direct knowledge of the older Biden having any involvement with Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company Archer and Hunter Biden sat on the board of.
Archer said it’s “fair” to say that Hunter Biden was falsely giving the Burisma executives the impression that he had influence over U.S. policy — not that he was actually influencing any policy. He added that Hunter Biden never told him he could get his father to change policy and that he was not aware of him ever asking his father to do so.
Archer says he is not aware of bribes to Bidens
Devon Archer, a former Hunter Biden business associate, leaves the O'Neil House Office Building at the Capitol after being interviewed by the House Oversight Committee on Monday, July 31, 2023.
Archer couldn’t corroborate allegations that Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky made two $5 million payments to Hunter Biden and his father.
Republicans last month released an FBI form that contains an unverified tip that Biden, as vice president, was involved in a bribery scheme to benefit Burisma. The White House has denied any wrongdoing.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) on Monday pressed Archer about a statement attributed to Zlochevsky, in which he allegedly said, “It costs five to pay one Biden and five to another.”
“Were you ever made aware of Mr. Zlochevsky paying $5 million to two different Bidens?” Goldman asked.
“No, I’m not. I would assume he’s probably talking about me and Hunter, but I don’t know. But I don’t know anything about those five,” Archer replied.
Archer also said he would disagree with the conclusion that then-Vice President Biden was bribed by Zlochevsky.
The tip in the FBI form rests on a years-long allegation that Biden, as vice president, threatened to withhold $1 billion in funding to Ukraine unless then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was ousted. Burisma had been the subject of a probe by the prosecutor’s office.
But President Biden wasn’t alone — numerous U.S. and international officials called for Shokin’s removal over his failure to prosecute corruption.
Evidence has never been raised showing that Biden called for Shokin’s ouster to help his son, and Archer said he had no basis to believe that the then-vice president’s call for him to be removed was connected to Hunter Biden.
“I have no — I have no other — I have no proof or thought that that — that he fired him for that reason,” Archer testified.
Archer described frequent calls between the Bidens
President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, step off Air Force One, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y. The Bidens are in Syracuse to visit with family members following the passing of Michael Hunter, the brother of the president's first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Archer recalled that Hunter would sometimes put his father, then-Vice President Biden, on speakerphone during meetings.
Archer recalled “maybe 20 times” that Hunter Biden made it apparent to investors or other business contacts that he spoke to his dad and said he had occasionally placed his father on speakerphone.
Archer described the conversations he heard as “generally about the weather and, you know, what it's like in Norway or Paris or wherever he may be.” He recalled one phone conversation Hunter Biden put his father on the phone for, with Chinese businessman Jonathan Li.
“Beijing, how great Beijing is — or Chengdu, whichever city we were in. But, you know, same answers — nonspecifics relative to business and just, you know, an expression of hellos, I guess,” he testified.
Archer described numerous periods of time during which Biden and Hunter Biden would speak every day, which is in line with the close family dynamic the Bidens have, and said the frequency of interactions between them increased when Hunter Biden’s brother, Beau Biden, died in 2015.
But, Archer said he never witnessed them discussing the substance of Hunter Biden’s business during those calls. Rather, he said, they spoke about Beau’s illness and coping.
When he would overhear the vice president and Hunter Biden talking on the phone, the conversations were “not related to commercial business, politics, that kind,” Archer said.
Archer describes the Biden “brand”
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, followed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his wife Charlene Austin, walk out to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 4, 2023, during a barbecue with active-duty military families to celebrate the Fourth of July. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Archer said the Biden family’s “brand” provided value to Burisma.
At one point in his testimony, he said he did not consider the “brand” to be “Joe directly,” but noted that the then-vice president “brought the most value to the brand.”
Archer later said he thought “Burisma would have gone out of business if it didn't have the brand attached to it.”
“But that’s different than Joe Biden’s action,” Goldman pressed him.
“Right,” Archer responded.
He said that he thinks having Hunter Biden on the board is why Burisma “was able to survive for as long as it did … just because of the brand.”
Asked by Goldman how that had an impact, Archer responded, “The capabilities to navigate D.C. that they were able to, you know, basically be in the news cycle.”
“And I think that preserved them from a, you know, from a longevity standpoint. That's like my honest — that's like really what I — that's like how I think holistically,” he added.
Archer talks about two Cafe Milano dinners
President Biden and Vice President Harris arrive for an event to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in Washington.
Archer spoke to the committee about two dinners that then-vice president Joe Biden attended at Cafe Milano in Washington: one in 2014 and one in 2015 — both during the Obama administration.
After the 2014 dinner, he recalled a wire transfer of $142,300 from Kenes Rakishev, a Kazakh businessman, to the Rosemont Seneca Bohai account for “an expensive car” for Hunter Biden. Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC was the private equity firm controlled by Archer at the time.
The 2015 dinner centered on the World Food Program, and then-vice president Biden made an appearance at it. Archer described it as “just a regular dinner where there was a table of conversation,” and he denied that Hunter Biden or business associates talked about business at the dinner.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a co-chairman of President Biden’s reelection campaign, on Sunday suggested it may be worth looking at a code of conduct for family members of presidents.
NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Coons if Congress should try to address creating a code of conduct for presidential family members, including sons and daughters of sitting presidents.
“That may be worth looking at, because frankly, as you referenced, Jared Kushner wasn't just a private citizen,” Coons said, referring to former President Trump’s son-in-law.
Todd responded, “So if you're outraged about Hunter Biden, you should be outraged about Jared Kushner.”
“You can’t pick and choose,” Coons said.
Coons also mentioned that the Senate has been working on trying to get the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics, similar to how members of Congress have to disclose their assets and stock holdings.
Coons comments some as Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has been in the spotlight over his legal issues. The younger Biden appeared in a Delaware court last week, where his plea deal on federal tax and gun charges was put on hold by a judge who questioned the scope of the agreement.
Hunter Biden has faced other legal issues over a daughter he has in Arkansas. The young girl’s mother filed a paternity suit against him in May 2019, and he appeared in court this May. In June, he reached a settlement in his child support case after being ordered to sit for a deposition under oath to answer questions about his finances.
The Biden White House has tried to present itself as being above the fray of day-to-day squabbles, but increasingly, it’s jumping in, bashing the GOP and other critics at every opportunity.
The administration didn’t miss a chance this week to hammer Republicans over Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) floating that the House would move towards an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. They were quick with memos and statements to criticize the GOP attacks as a “clown carousel” and the idea of pursuing impeachment as “baseless.”
And the White House issued a scathing rebuke of Fox New host Greg Gutfeld, who said that Jews captured and tortured during the Holocaust survived by having skills and being useful, calling out his comments as a “dangerous, extreme lie.”
The new levels of punchy rhetoric preview the White House messaging strategy going into 2024, which is to fight back and call out what they consider extreme.
President Biden and Vice President Harris arrive for an event to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in Washington.
It’s a shift from their previous attitude, which was to let what they considered to be Republican chaos speak for itself.
“The cost is too expensive, both short and long term, to let them operate in a vacuum without showing that one, we know how to fight; two, that we will fight; three, we fight with facts and not with some flaming lies of information,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist.
Early in Biden’s presidency, the White House was careful not to weigh in on controversial comments from the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), hoping to avoid elevating her words and giving the far-right congresswoman more of a platform.
When McCarthy was struggling in January to get enough votes to be Speaker of the House, they sat back and watched it unfold.
Biden gently knocked the vote series at the time, saying, “It’s a little embarrassing it’s taking so long,” but also added, “that’s not my problem.” The White House had also insisted that Biden would not “insert himself” into the election, which ended up taking 15 ballots for McCarthy to finally clench enough votes.
But this week, when the Speaker signaled that the House could move forward with an impeachment inquiry, the White House came out with multiple statements and highlighted quotes from fellow Republicans in his conference pushing back on the idea.
It also released a memo about Republicans’ slams against the president overall, reflecting the Biden argument that the GOP is stepping up attacks on Hunter Biden and talk of impeachment because the economy is getting stronger and is now a less effective avenue for attack.
Hunter Biden appeared in a Delaware court Wednesday, where his plea deal was put on hold by a judge who questioned the scope of the agreement.
The White House this week touted “Bidenomics” after gross domestic product (GDP) numbers showed surprisingly strong economic growth. It rebuked GOP lawmakers for not embracing the data, pointing to Fox Business anchor Cheryl Casone, who said Thursday, “There goes that recession talk, right?”
“Even Fox Business is welcoming today’s blockbuster economic growth numbers, the latest in a long line of proof points that Bidenomics is delivering for middle class families,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a memo. “That’s because this strong growth report is objectively good news for the American people, which elected officials should support regardless of their political party.”
In the past, the White House has called out what it deemed antisemitism, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff in particular has spearheaded the effort against hatred towards Jewish Americans. The rebuke of Gutfeld was particularly notable, considering it called the conservative media voice’s comments insulting to the memory of people who suffered the Holocaust.
Over the last week, Vice President Harris has gone on the attack against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a presidential candidate, over changes his administration has made regarding the way slavery is taught in his state. She quickly traveled to Jacksonville to deliver remarks over his recent moves.
And press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has turned Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) into an almost-daily punching bag, chastising him for blocking military promotions over his opposition to the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
Democrats argue that it’s significant the White House is getting punchier and not relying on the Biden reelection campaign to do it for them.
“I think the reason why it's so important that it comes from the White House is because Joe Biden is a president for all people, and that White House works for all people,” Seawright said. “It helps weed out some of the foolishness, because I don't think we can afford at this moment to let false information go unchecked or go numb to bad or false information for the sake of political gain.”
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) speaks to reporters as he arrives to the Senate Chamber for votes on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Greg Nash)
Another Democratic strategist argued the White House has picked its spots well, seeking to highlight when Republicans are fixated on issues that don’t resonate with most moderate voters. The strategist pointed to the GOP’s fixation on Hunter Biden as an example of something that is unlikely to move many mainstream voters.
Democratic communications strategist Katie Grant Drew noted the window for moving legislation closes early in election cycles so it “makes sense” the White House is preparing for 2024.
“They know they’re going to have to defend against Republicans’ insatiable appetite for investigations and impeachments, and the best defense is a good offense,” said Drew, a principal at Monument Advocacy. “When top Republicans continue to spout controversial rhetoric and spend time on divisive issues that the vast majority of Americans don't agree with, the White House is going to use those moments to illustrate to the American people how extreme today’s Republican Party has become.”
Jim Kessler, co-founder of the centrist think tank Third Way, said Biden and his team are wisely both selling their own victories and highlighting Republican dysfunction.
Ultimately, though, Kessler argued the 2024 election will be decided by broader issues such as the economy, something the White House has leaned into with its recent messaging.
“This election is going to come down to the middle. The middle ideologically, the middle of the country geographically, and the middle class,” Kessler said. “These are places where Biden’s got to win.”
President Biden on Friday made his first public remarks about his 4-year-old grandchild Navy, the daughter of his son Hunter Biden, after silence from the White House over the young girl amid legal disputes between her parents.
In a statement exclusively provided to People, Biden said that his son and Lunden Roberts, Navy's mother, are working to provide a life for her.
“Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward,” the president said. “This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter. Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy.”
The New York Times earlier this month published a piece about the child, writing that she’s never met Hunter Biden or her grandfather. After that was published, the White House dealt with questions in the briefing room from reporters about whether Biden accepted Hunter Biden’s daughter in Arkansas as his granddaughter.
Roberts, who is in Arkansas, filed a paternity suit against Hunter Biden in May 2019, and he appeared in court this May. In June, he reached a settlement in his child support case after he was ordered to sit for a deposition under oath to answer questions about his finances.
An anonymous source told People that the president and first lady Jill Biden have been “giving Hunter and Lunden the space and time to figure things out” and have been “following Hunter’s lead” throughout the legal proceedings involving the young girl.
Biden has come under criticism from the right over not recognizing the 4-year-old child.
The statement given to People, as a result, was significant. It was also given to a publication whose readership is estimated to be 69 percent female. Suburban women voters are a key block for the White House team in 2024.
Hunter Biden’s personal and legal troubles have been increasingly in the spotlight in recent weeks. He appeared in a Delaware court Wednesday, where his plea deal on federal tax and gun charges was put on hold by a judge who questioned the scope of the agreement.
The U.S. economy is hitting a stride, growing at a 2.4-percent rate in the second quarter in a surprisingly strong showing that adds confidence to the idea that the nation may avoid a long-threatened recession.
The growing economy comes coupled with other good economic news: Inflation is slowing, and unemployment sits at just 3.6 percent.
Markets have noticed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 4 percent over the last month and more than 6 percent this year, despite dropping Thursday.
It's all good news for the White House and President Biden, who have used the recent string of positive economic announcements to tout their stewardship over the economy as they head into an election next year.
But it doesn't mean the administration can breathe easy — over the economy or Biden’s political future.
Some economists think a recession is still possible, and Republicans, while more focused in recent weeks on probes into Hunter Biden's legal difficulties, have not dropped their economic criticisms of the White House.
“It's entertaining to watch the administration sit here and say, ‘Oh everything’s great now,” Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said Thursday.
“Yes, inflation has come down, but the economy in no way is growing at the levels that it needs to be and we need to enact reasonable and responsible budget cuts going forward to right size our economy and get the country moving in the right direction,” added Lawler, who represents a swing district and is one of the more vulnerable House Republicans in next year’s election.
The White House rebuked GOP lawmakers, pointing remarks from to Fox Business Channel’s Cheryl Casone, who said Thursday: “There goes that recession talk, right?”
“Even Fox Business is welcoming today’s blockbuster economic growth numbers, the latest in a long line of proof points that Bidenomics is delivering for middle class families,” spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a memo. “That’s because this strong growth report is objectively good news for the American people, which elected officials should support regardless of their political party.”
The resilience of the economy has been a surprise for a number of reasons.
Market commentators for most of Biden’s term have been worried about a recession, and as the Federal Reserve launched a series of interest rate hikes in response to rising inflation, the fear was that a downturn would be hard to avoid.
The Federal Reserve itself in March predicted a “mild recession,” before reversing its position Wednesday after raising interest rates another quarter-percent.
“The staff now has a noticeable slowdown in growth starting later this year in the forecast, but given the resilience of the economy recently, they are no longer forecasting a recession,” Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday.
That resilience has taken several different forms but has been nowhere more noticeable than in the labor market. Unemployment has remained near historic lows even as the Fed has undertaken one of the fastest interest rate tightening cycles on record in response to prices that climbed as high as 9.1 percent annually last June.
Lower employment is usually associated with lower prices due to how much businesses have to pay workers and still turn a profit. But that relationship has been called into question during the recent inflation, as prices have been steadily falling since last June while unemployment has remained near record lows.
The unusual nature of the post-pandemic inflation, driven in part by massive consumer savings during the lockdown era and supply chain shutdowns, was likely the primary reason. Price fluctuations occurred in different sectors of the economy at different times, and companies raked in record profits, choosing to keep prices high.
In making the case for its handling of the economy, the Biden administration Thursday pointed to investments it made when Democrats held majorities in Congress in 2021 and 2022. Those investments were mostly in the Inflation Reduction Act, a bipartisan transportation and infrastructure bill and a major semiconductor bill.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) touted the investment in plants and equipment in a blog post Thursday, noting its contribution to the beefy GDP number.
“Nonresidential private fixed investment accelerated, contributing 1 percentage point to [second quarter] growth. Private construction of manufacturing facilities alone, such as factories, contributed about 0.4 percentage point, this category’s largest growth contribution since 1981,” economists with the CEA wrote.
Some key factors do leave a number of economists wary of another ding on the economy later this year. Millions will see an end to the three-year pause in student loan payments later this year, which could put a crunch on consumer spending.
Interest rate hikes have also weighed heavily on the housing market for more than a year, driving high mortgage rates and dampening demand.
Demand is beginning to rise again, but so are prices with would-be sellers reluctant to give up their low mortgage rates and put their homes on the market.
Powell said Wednesday that the housing market has “a ways to go” before it reaches a balance and prices cool.
The news of economic growth comes just weeks after the White House launched its “Bideonomics” messaging, which was met with speculation at the time about whether they were taking a victory lap too soon.
Throughout Biden’s presidency, Republicans have hammered him for high inflation, and they sought to use it against Democrats in the 2022 midterms. They are expected to focus on the economy, along with their investigations into the Biden family, again in 2024.
Biden celebrated that the GDP number Thursday, arguing that the economic progress “wasn’t inevitable or accidental” but was due to Bidenomics — a message voters can expect to keep hearing as Biden and officials traverse the country to tout their work on the economy.
“[H]ard-working Americans are seeing the results: Our unemployment rate remains near record lows, inflation has fallen by two thirds, real wages are higher than they were before the pandemic, and we’ve seen more than half a trillion dollars in private sector investment commitments in clean energy and manufacturing,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday sharply rebuffed the notion of President Biden pardoning his son Hunter Biden, who is working out another plea deal with the Justice Department over an investigation of evading taxes.
When asked by a reporter if there is any possibility the president would end up pardoning his son, Jean-Pierre replied sharply: "No."
When the reporter began asking a follow-up question, Jean-Pierre interrupted him and said, "I just said no," and moved on to another reporter.
It was a rare moment in which the White House gave a definitive answer to any question involving Hunter Biden's legal troubles. It came one day after the president's son appeared at a federal court in Delaware, where an initial plea deal was scrambled by the end of a nearly three-hour court hearing.
“Hunter Biden is a private citizen, and this was a personal matter,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. “As we have said, the president, the first lady, they love their son, and they support him as he continues to rebuild his life.”
The White House has stressed the Justice Department (DOJ) acts independently, referring questions to the agency, and stressing the case with Hunter Biden was overseen by a prosecutor appointed by former President Trump.
On Thursday, Jean-Pierre also firmly stated the DOJ was operating independently when asked if the president has ever pushed for preferential treatment for himself, his family, members of his administration or former President Trump.
The White House on Thursday bashed Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over pushback from fellow Republicans in his conference over his floating the idea of pursuing impeachment.
McCarthy this week signaled that the House could move forward with an impeachment inquiry against Biden, though he made it clear no decision has been made.
The White House, in a statement exclusively obtained by The Hill, called McCarthy’s comments “a ridiculous, baseless stunt, intended to attack the President at a time when House Republicans should instead be joining the President to focus on the important issues facing the American people.”
“But just as soon as McCarthy floated this stunt, he was met with resistance — from members of his own party and even his own caucus,” the statement continued.
“The American people want their leaders in Congress to spend their time working with the President on important issues like continuing to lower costs, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen health care,” the White House statement read. “Regardless of these baseless stunts, President Biden will always be focused on delivering real results that improve the lives of the American people.”
The White House also outlined comments from GOP senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who told reporters Wednesday that impeachment is “not good for the country.”
The House GOP has launched investigations into Biden’s family business dealings while Republicans in the Senate have largely distanced themselves from the efforts.
The president’s son Hunter Biden was in a Delaware court Wednesday, where his plea deal — which has been criticized by Republicans — was put on hold by a judge who questioned the scope of the agreement.
The White House on Wednesday released a memo arguing that Republicans’ attacks against Biden are disjointed and a “clown carousel.”
The memo was titled “The message behind Republicans’ haphazard non-message: they can’t beat Bidenomics,” reflecting the Biden argument that the GOP is stepping up attacks on Hunter Biden and talk of impeachment because the economy is getting stronger and is now a less effective avenue for attack.
The White House on Wednesday criticized House Republicans for their attacks against President Biden, saying that their disjointed messaging about the president is a “clown carousel.”
“Instead of having a consistent, disciplined message, the congressional GOP’s public criticisms of the Biden-Harris Administration are now a fragmented grab-bag that runs the gamut from bizarrely opposing our fentanyl crackdowns to blasting us for trying to end rural poverty (not a joke, sadly),” the White House said in a memo from spokesperson Andrew Bates.
In a day, the memo said, Republicans will move from bashing drag queens to calling Biden old to calling Ukraine a U.S. adversary.
“By the time 4 o’clock shows up, it’s a game of mad libs with bizarre conspiracies about the President’s family and then something about 'wokeness' (we keep asking them what 'wokeness' is, but then they leave the chat),” the memo said. “Apparently, this clown carousel wasn’t weird enough. Now House Republicans are channeling their frustrated energy into a measured and purposeful urge to impeach… someone… somewhere… for something.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week signaled the House could move forward with an impeachment inquiry against Biden, though he made it clear no decision has been made. The House GOP has launched investigations into Biden’s family business dealings.
Hunter Biden was in a Delaware court Wednesday, where his plea deal — which has been criticized by Republicans — appeared to be on hold.
More on recent House GOP attacks against Biden from The Hill
The White House memo was titled “The message behind Republicans’ haphazard non-message: they can’t beat Bidenomics,” reflecting the Biden argument that the GOP is stepping up attacks on Hunter Biden and talk of impeachment because the economy is getting stronger and is now a less effective avenue for attack.
“[They] could keep telling the American people that they want to ship the new manufacturing jobs we’re delivering back overseas (we didn’t make it up — we couldn’t). I guess they could triple down on cutting Medicare benefits. Big constituency behind that one. Or the most likely: all of the above,” the memo said. “The bottom line is this. The subtitle to everything that makes up congressional Republicans’ disjointed message is this: ‘Bidenomics is working.’”
The Biden administration recently launched the term "Bidenomics" to tout its economic agenda, which includes boosting manufacturing and job creation.
The president and top officials have traversed the country in the past month to spread the message that Bidenomics has been a success because of low unemployment and falling inflation.