The White House refuses to allow Rep. Jason Chaffetz's House Oversight Committee to question Ben Rhodes about his role in manipulating the media about the Iran nuclear deal.
Reports FOX News:
Chaffetz and the White House have been engaged in an escalating feud, all on the heels of a New York Times Magazine piece where Rhodes was quoted boasting about the administration’s success in crafting a public narrative for the Iran deal. The profile on Rhodes quotes him saying they built an “echo chamber” of experts who sold that narrative to young, often inexperienced reporters.
Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wanted the deputy national security adviser to testify at a hearing set for Tuesday titled, “White House narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
“We’re planning as if he is attending, and he’ll have a comfortable seat awaiting his arrival,” Chaffetz said Monday afternoon of Rhodes.
But W. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, sent a letter to Chaffetz late Monday saying Rhodes would not attend.
He cited what appeared to be an executive privilege-related claim, asserting that such a senior presidential adviser’s appearance “threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel.” For those reasons, he said, “we will not make Mr. Rhodes available to testify.”
Chaffetz earlier had made a last-ditch attempt to pressure Rhodes into appearing. After White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest initially said he should invite GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, whom he accuses of spreading false information about the deal, Chaffetz did exactly that -- inviting Cotton to testify, on condition that Rhodes appeared as well.