Mar 19, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House GOP wants Afghanistan hearing to be Biden body blow

President Biden, wearing a blue suit, salutes a soldier while flanked by two more soldiers while stepping out of his green Marine One helicopter.

President Biden steps out of Marine One on March 19, 2024. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP.

House Republicans are hoping to dredge up one of the most damaging moments of President Biden's term in a Tuesday hearing on the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The hearing comes as Republicans have largely abandoned their hopes of impeaching Biden just as the 2024 election heats up.

Driving the news: Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command during the withdrawal, and Gen. Mark Milley, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will testify to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

  • Republicans on the panel will try to get the retired generals on the record in order to tie the chaos of the withdrawal back to Biden and his White House officials, a GOP committee aide said.
  • The withdrawal is one of Biden's biggest vulnerabilities, the aide said, predicting the hearing will be intense.

Zoom in: The Kabul airport attack, in which 170 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. service members were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing, is likely to be referenced frequently.

  • It's a sore spot that was on full display earlier this month when the father of one of the Marines killed in the attack shouted about it during Biden's State of the Union, leading to his arrest.

The other side: "None of the interviews or materials State has produced to the Committee makes these suggestions, and to blame the President for an ISIS terrorist attack demonstrates the extremism of this Republican Party," a spokesperson for Democrats on the committee told Axios.

  • "It reaffirms that they aren't interested in facts, but instead focused on playing politics. If they were interested in transparency, or felt the investigation supports these outlandish claims, the GOP would make all the transcripts public."
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