House Republicans have invited a top White House adviser to testify on Capitol Hill after comments he made in a magazine interview about the Obama administration's efforts to promote the Iran nuclear deal sparked a firestorm in Washington.
Republican leaders of the House Oversight Committee want Ben Rhodes, one of President Obama's closest aides, to testify during a hearing next Tuesday named “White House narratives on the Iran nuclear deal,” committee spokeswoman M.J. Henshaw confirmed to Fox News Wednesday.
Henshaw added that Rhodes, who serves as deputy national security adviser, has not yet gotten back to the committee, and that no one else has been asked yet to appear.
Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has threatened to use a subpoena, one aide told The Hill newspaper, which first reported the hearing.
The hearing comes nearly a week after Rhodes' comments to The New York Times Magazine ripped the Washington press corps, boasted of creating an "echo chamber" of supporters to sell the Iran nuclear deal and appeared to dismiss long-time foreign policy hands, including Hillary Clinton, as the Blob.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz on Wednesday accused Republicans of "seeking to relitigate that old political fight."
"With all the serious issues stuck in Congress right now - like preparing for Zika's arrival, helping Puerto Rico through their financial crisis, providing assistance to the people of Flint, or combatting the opioid epidemic - it is a shame that Chairman Chaffetz is choosing to take a page out of Darrell Issa's playbook to distract from all the work they should be doing," he said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the committee, also dismissed the move.
“It seems fairly clear what this really is—a partisan rush to attack Ben Rhodes just to chase cheap headlines rather than a substantive review of foreign policy objectives,” he said in a statement. “There is absolutely no reason in this case for Republicans to break from normal notice rules and then threaten the White House with subpoenas. Reducing our work to reactionary grandstanding like this makes our Committee look terrible.”