When the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection gavels open its prime-time hearing on Thursday, President Biden will be thousands of miles away, preparing to dine with world leaders in Los Angeles.
The distance is largely happenstance; the congressional hearing coincides with the Summit of the Americas, which Mr. Biden is hosting in California.
But the schedule conflict is also convenient for a White House that is eager to show that the president remains removed from decision-making in the sprawling investigation being conducted by the bipartisan committee.
“We’re not going to get involved,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said this week, noting the president’s desire to let the committee do its work without pressure. “That is something that is independent and needs to stay independent.”
That can be a difficult line to hold. Mr. Biden, more than anyone, was directly affected by the attempt to prevent the certification of his election. And he has made clear — publicly and privately — that he remains gravely concerned about the threat to democracy from failing to hold accountable those who planned the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
But even as many of Mr. Biden’s supporters say they want him to be more outspoken, the president and his allies are mindful of the risk. The perception that he is influencing the committee’s work could further politicize it in the minds of a highly polarized electorate.
Instead, Mr. Biden and his team are taking a mostly quiet approach to the public phase of the committee’s work. Still, the president and his aides are aware of efforts by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, who have vowed to try to discredit the committee’s efforts. Mr. Biden’s aides have said the president will speak out if he feels the need to. And the president could weigh in publicly to try and amplify a particularly striking or dramatic revelation.
“Of course, he will be keeping up on the committee’s work as he has been. And I’m sure he’ll be following the news from the hearing as well,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.