US House Panel Subpoenas some Biden Aides over His Mental Fitness

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee subpoenaed three senior White House aides on Wednesday demanding they sit for depositions regarding Democratic President Joe Biden’s health, the panel said in a statement.

Democratic candidate U.S. President Joe Biden walks offstage with first lady Dr. Jill Biden at the conclusion of a presidential debate with Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President


It subpoenaed first lady Jill Biden’s top aide Anthony Bernal, deputy chief of staff Annie Tomasini, and senior adviser Ashley Williams. The development was reported earlier by Axios


WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Biden has faced doubts about his reelection chances after a weak and faltering performance in a debate against Republican former President Donald Trump late last month.


Since then, some Democratic members of Congress and high- profile donors have publicly asked him to step aside as the party’s candidate for the Nov. 5 election. Biden has said he will stay in the race.


KEY QUOTES
“Key White House staff must come before our committee so we can provide the transparency and accountability that Americans deserve,” Republican U.S. Representative James Comer, the panel’s chair, said. Comer called Biden “unfit” for office and alleged his staff were not being transparent.


“According to one former Biden aide, these three employees – Annie Tomasini, Anthony Bernal, and Ashley Williams – have created ‘a protective bubble around’ President Biden,” the panel added.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams said the subpoenas were “a baseless political stunt” and that Comer was “weaponizing subpoenas to get headlines instead of seeking information through the proper constitutional process.”


CONTEXT
Many lawmakers from Biden’s own party have expressed worries that Biden has not done enough in the ensuing days to convince voters that the debate was an aberration, rather than a true reflection of his abilities. Biden has argued that he is best-positioned to defeat Trump.


Comer previously tried to interview the three aides during a probe into Biden’s handling of classified documents in which Special Counsel Robert Hur did not press charges against the president, the panel said, adding the White House did not make the three aides available at the time.


WHAT’S NEXT
The Republican-led panel has asked the aides to respond by July 17 and requested they sit for closed-door interviews later in July.

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