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White House urges news orgs to “ramp up scrutiny” of Biden impeachment efforts

Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
September 13, 2023
Source: AXIOS

The White House on Wednesday emailed the leaders of several major news organizations, including Axios, arguing the media needs to “ramp up its scrutiny” of House Republicans’ efforts to impeach President Biden.

Why it matters: The White House argues that the media’s reporting about incremental updates on the impeachment inquiry process over the substance of the inquiry “is woefully inadequate when it comes to something as historically grave as impeachment.”

Catch up quick: The letter follows an announcement from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday in which he declared he would direct House committees to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

  • The move is a reversal of McCarthy’s previous remarks that a probe could only be launched with a House vote.

Details: The email was sent early Wednesday morning from Ian Sams, a special assistant to the President and senior adviser and spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office.

  • Arguing that the impeachment inquiry is “based on lies,” the note includes a list of public recent statements from various Republican House members denouncing the impeachment process, with several citing a lack of evidence.
  • “When even House Republican members are admitting that there is simply no evidence that Joe Biden did anything wrong, much less impeachable, that should set off alarm bells for news organizations,” the letter said.
  • Sams also included a separate 14-page document debunking conservative claims about impeachable offenses allegedly committed by President Biden.
  • “We hope this document helps provide you with factual information useful in your reporting on their unprecedented, unfounded claims underlying an impeachment inquiry without any evidence of wrongdoing,” it stated.

The big picture: The White House is looking to coverage from mainstream news outlets to counter what they argue is disinformation and lies peddled “everywhere from Facebook to Fox.”

  • While the Biden administration’s relationship with the press is generally perceived as being more friendly than the Trump administration’s, these types of requests are not common.

Our thought bubble: The White House is clearly frustrated that media outlets are not pointing out more clearly that House investigations have turned up no evidence suggesting any impeachable behavior on Biden’s part.

  • Yes, but: The Biden team’s messaging could backfire, since news outlets that point out the weakness of the GOP case will now look like they’re kowtowing to White House pressure.

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