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House panel subpoenas some Biden aides over his mental fitness

REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER / JUNE 27
                                Democratic candidate 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 Donald Trump, in Atlanta, Georgia.
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REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER / JUNE 27

Democratic candidate 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 Donald Trump, in Atlanta, Georgia.

WASHINGTON >> 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.

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.

“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: “Like everything Congressman Comer has done over the past year, these subpoenas are a baseless political stunt intended for him to get media attention instead of engage in legitimate oversight. His partisan attacks on the President have been discredited, and now he continues to debase the House by 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.

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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