In an unusual step, the White House sent a memo to top media outlets urging them to “ramp up scrutiny” of the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced on Tuesday. “The White House put out this long talking points memo and demanded that the press cover the impeachment story in a certain way,” Megyn said. “You will cover it our way or we will get you censored or come after you – who knows what the threat is.”
The 16-page document from the White House Counsel’s Office was titled “It’s Time For The Media To Do More To Scrutinize House Republicans’ Demonstrably False Claims That They’re Basing Impeachment Stunt On” and outlined why the Biden administration believes House Republicans don’t have a case against the president.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Peter Schweizer, host of The Drill Down, to discuss the White House talking points and how the Biden team is trying to use the press for its own gain.
Speaking at the Capitol on Tuesday morning, Speaker McCarthy said he is “directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry” into President Biden’s alleged involvement in his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings while he was vice president. McCarthy called it a “local next step in order to give House committees “the full power to gather the full facts and answers for the American public.”
It did not take long for the reaction to start rolling in from various corners of Washington, DC. Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office and author of the media memo, dismissed McCarthy’s announcement as political pandering right off the bat. “Opening impeachment despite zero evidence of wrongdoing by POTUS is simply red meat for the extreme right wing, so they can keep baselessly attacking him,” he said on Tuesday.
Later that day, he further expounded upon that point in his missive to the press that was reportedly sent to top executives at the Associated Press, The New York Times, Fox News, CNN, and more. “It’s time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” Sams wrote. He said the inquiry, “led by [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Green [R-GA],” has “no evidence” and should “set off alarm bells for news organizations.”
Accusing Republicans in Congress of trying to “muddy the waters by attracting media coverage of their allegations,” Sams said the media needs to “treat their claims with the appropriate scrutiny.” He went on:
“Covering impeachment as a process story – Republicans say X, but the White House says Y – is a disservice to the American public who relies on the independent press to hold those in power accountable.”
And in the modern media environment, where every day liars and hucksters peddle disinformation and lies everywhere from Facebook to Fox, process stories that fail to unpack the illegitimacy of the claims on which House Republicans are basing all their actions only serve to generate confusion, put false premises in people’s feeds, and obscure the truth.”– Ian Sams, spokesman for White House Counsel’s Office
In a 14-page appendix, Sams claims to “comprehensively” address “the [seven] key lies House Republicans are suggesting they are basing an impeachment on.” His hope is that the 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.”
On Wednesday, Speaker McCarthy called the memo “concerning” and slammed the White House for “telling the press what to say.”
The Republican ‘Lies’
The “key lies” listed in the appendix of the White House memo include the allegations that then-Vice President Biden “engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national,” that he “got the Ukrainian prosecutor general fired in order to help the company where his son served on the board,” and that both Biden and White House “have changed their story on the President’s alleged involvement,” to name a few.
In Schweizer’s view the supporting evidence provided by the Biden administration to refute those so-called Republican lies is not compelling. “I think the White House’s position has been one of constant retreat,” he said. “The standards that they’re sort of putting up are, quite frankly, ridiculous at this point.”
He believes defenders of Biden within the administration and legal team may soon be forced to reckon with the fact they themselves don’t know all the facts. “The White House lawyers are very confident there’s nothing there,” Schweizer said. “That operates under the assumption that the Biden family has actually been honest with the White House as to what those commercial ties were and what actually went on.”
For years, the White House has been repeating the line that it is “very confident” that the elder Biden “had no involvement with his son’s business,” “had no no knowledge of his business,” “had no interactions with his business partners,” which all “ended up being lies,” Schweizer noted. That’s why he believes there is more to the story than they know. “So, they may be confident,” he concluded. “But I am still not convinced that the Biden family is being completely candid with the Biden White House and perhaps even the lawyers.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Schweizer by tuning in to episode 628 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.