Apr 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

The Biden probe that House Republicans are most eager to talk about

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee's investigation into the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan is proving to more effective than other probes into the Biden administration, multiple Republicans told Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats have slammed GOP investigations like the Biden impeachment inquiry as witch hunts. But Republicans argue the Afghanistan probe has yielded evidence that's hard for the White House to ignore.

  • Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told Axios he believes the probe probe has sparked anxiety within the administration.
  • "Are we going to get scalps? I don't know, but are we going to hold people accountable? Yeah. And I think at the end of the day, my intent is to make sure that this never happens again," McCaul told Axios in an interview.
  • "We're not blowing a lot of smoke and getting everybody's expectations up," another member said of the probe.

What they're saying: "Mike McCaul has put on the most jarring and successful oversight hearings regarding the Biden administration,"one GOP lawmaker said.

  • "The committee has taken this step-by-step along the way and only used authorities of subpoena for tougher action in the instances where we're not getting the answers to our questions."

The other side: Democrats have accused the majority of using "cherry-picked narratives" to paint an incomplete picture of what happened, and critics say the probe hasn't taken the Trump administration's actions into account.

  • Ranking Member Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) argued that transcripts show "the Biden administration had a robust plan," "the State Department adapted to a dynamic situation caused by the sudden collapse of the Afghan government" and noted and State officials helped evacuate more than 120,000 people."
  • "Witnesses also said that the Trump administration had no such plan, despite leaving office months away from the withdrawal date set by their Doha Deal with the Taliban," he said.
  • White House spokeswoman Sharon Yang said "bringing U.S. troops home has put us in a stronger position to address the challenges of the future and the threats we face today such as Russia's brutal and unprovoked assault on Ukraine, China's increasingly assertive moves, and terrorist threats around the world."

What's next: The panel's report — expected to be released in August — "will take a holistic look at the decision to withdraw U.S. troops," one GOP source told Axios.

  • That includes negotiations under the Trump administration, the Doha agreement and the decision to withdraw by Sept. 11.
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