The House Oversight Committee has taken a significant step by issuing subpoenas to three senior White House aides amid escalating concerns about President Biden’s mental fitness. On Wednesday, the committee compelled Anthony Bernal, First Lady Jill Biden’s chief aid, Annie Tomasini, the deputy chief of staff, and Ashley Williams, a senior adviser, to sit for depositions to discuss the president’s health, according to a statement from the panel.

The move underscores the growing scrutiny and concern within certain congressional circles regarding the president’s capacity to fulfill his duties. “Key White House staff must come before our committee so we can provide the transparency and accountability that Americans deserve,” said House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY). “According to one former Biden aide, these three employees – Annie Tomasini, Anthony Bernal, and Ashley Williams – have created ‘a protective bubble around’ President Biden,” the statement added.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams swiftly reacted to the news by strongly condemning the work of the GOP-controlled committee in a statement to Axios. “Like everything Congressman Comer has done over the past year, these subpoenas are a baseless political stunt intended for him to get media attention instead of engage in legitimate oversight. His partisan attacks on the President have been discredited, and now he continues to debase the House by weaponizing subpoenas to get headlines instead of seeking information through the proper constitutional process,” he said.

The subpoenas come amid continuing concerns about President Biden’s mental fitness, especially in the aftermath of what has been widely perceived as a poor debate performance.

Former President Donald Trump has dished some heretofore unknown details about his first debate with President Joe Biden in Atlanta late last month that will probably add to concerns many Americans have about the current commander-in-chief’s mental status.

“It was a big evening and you could feel a lot of energy. Boy, energy like you haven’t felt in a long time on any of the debates,” Trump began in a telephone interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I’ve done a lot of debates and we’ve had great success with debates, but this was something very special for whatever reason, it just seemed big. And when I got to Atlanta and this was at CNN headquarters, there was a lot of excitement. There were trucks, I call them the 10 million dollar trucks, that’s with the antennas all over and very incredible equipment.

“I’m looking at things that are, you know, it’s just more of a scene than it normally would be. And it really was that way right from the start, right from the moment they introduced us and then they introduced him and introduced me and I walked out, and he looked extremely pale, to put it nicely. And I don’t know, maybe it was a good makeup job, or maybe it wasn’t, but he was a very pale-looking man,” the former president continued.

“And when he started to speak, I don’t know, I thought his voice was weak. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, it was strange. I do have to say that the CNN, Jake and Dana, they were really, they were pretty good,” Trump continued. “They were, they really, they were, I thought they were fair. I thought they were fair and the questions I thought to him, to me. But it was a strange evening, I will tell you, it was a strange debate because within a couple of minutes, the answers given by him were, they didn’t, they didn’t make a lot of sense.”

Democratic advisers have devised a hopeful strategy for a potential “blitz primary” in case Biden needs to step aside soon, involving several prominent figures — though Biden has said he has no intention of doing so.

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