White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre butted heads with CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe during a press conference on Wednesday over President Biden’s newly surfaced classified documents that are now being found in multiple locations.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
O’Keefe surprisingly tore into Jean-Pierre over the discovery of the classified documents, asking her if she was aware of any conversations in the White House since early November and why the Biden administration waited until this week to disclose them.
On Nov. 2 classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president during the Obama administration were found at the Penn Biden Center and on Wednesday, a second batch was found at an undisclosed location.
“Look, I understand you guys are going to have a lot of questions on this. I get that,” Jean-Pierre told O’Keefe. “I know you guys are going to have a lot of questions on process and specifics. And what I can tell you is that I’m not going to go beyond what the president laid out. I’m not going to go beyond what my White House counsel colleagues have stated. I would refer you to them for any other specifics or additional information. I want to be prudent here. I want to make sure that we do this in the appropriate way.”
“You’re not going to answer the questions, but we’re going to ask them because that’s our job,” O’Keefe tersely told her.
“I understand,” Jean-Pierre replied, trying to mollify O’Keefe. “And my job is to answer your question. So here we go! Let’s go!”
KJP is offended that Ed O'Keefe of CBS News is asking questions about the classified docs. She says, "We don't have to be contentious. I'm here to answer your questions." Then promptly does not answer his questions.
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) January 11, 2023
The CBS correspondent proceeded to repeat a comment that Biden made when he became president, “I’m going to make mistakes. When I make them, I’ll acknowledge them, and I’ll tell you. And I’ll need your help to help me correct them.”
“So, you’re the one here talking to us about this. That’s why we’re asking you. So let’s just remember that,” O’Keefe bluntly informed Jean-Pierre.
“Ed, Ed, Ed, we don’t need to have this- we work very well together,” Jean-Pierre interjected, attempting to placate the journalist. “We don’t need to have this kind of confrontation. Ask your question and I will answer them the best that I can.”
O’Keefe wasn’t having any of it and made it clear his patience was wearing thin over the press secretary’s two-step in an attempt to give cover to the president.
“Part of the reason we’re laying that out is because you’re laying out your part of the job, we’re laying out our part of the job, which is asking questions,” O’Keefe clapped back.
“I know, but I’m just saying we don’t need to have contention- you don’t need to be contentious with me here, Ed,” Jean-Pierre retorted.
Ed O'Keefe of CBS News notes that Biden acknowledged that he would make mistakes and ask for help fixing them. Jean-Pierre replies: "We don't need to have this kind of confrontation. Ask your question… You don't need to be contentious here with me, Ed."
— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 11, 2023
“Why didn’t he or someone in the White House inform the American people when these documents were discovered on November 2?” O’Keefe doggedly asked. “They didn’t have anything to do – because people are asking this part of it – have anything to do with the fact that the election was just a few days away?”
She repeated that “this is under review by the Department of Justice.”
“The Department of Justice does not handle national security,” O’Keefe scoffed.
The veteran reporter didn’t let up and dug in even further, much to the dismay of the press secretary.
“But there was nothing stopping the president of the United States from disclosing the discovery of these classified documents in his former office before it was under Justice Department review. So why didn’t he disclose it?” O’Keefe asked.
THIS DIDN’T WEAR WELL…
"How that could possibly happen? How anyone could be that irresponsible…what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods? By that I mean names of people who helped…And it's just totally irresponsible."
—Joe Biden 2/19/2022#BidenDocuments
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) January 12, 2023
“What I can tell you right now is what the president – is share with you what the president said to all of you, right, which is he was surprised by this. He definitely, truly respects the process here. And also when it comes to classified-he takes classified documents very seriously. And, again, I’m going to leave you to the information that the president provided to all of you and also, just yesterday, in front of many of you and or your colleagues, and also what my White House counsel colleagues shared on Monday,” Jean-Pierre responded.
O’Keefe was joined by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy who also grilled the press secretary, “How can President Biden be trusted moving forward with American secrets?”
“Because his lawyers, his team did the right thing,” Jean-Pierre stated, attempting to justify the development.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
In response to the document revelations, House Republican Rep. Mike Waltz called for a special counsel to oversee classified files recovered from President Biden’s private office, asserting the timing was “incredibly suspicious.”
“We’ve clearly just seen the tip of the iceberg,” Waltz told the Daily Mail in an interview. “And so my other question is – for five years, who had access?”
Waltz also noted that the Justice Department would surely have known about the documents when Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee a Justice Department case investigating former President Trump’s handling of classified files.
"Add it to the list of things we're going to get to the bottom of in a Republican run House."
Rep. Michael Waltz [@michaelgwaltz] reacts to the double standard between the handling of investigations into Biden and Trump.@RobFinnertyUSA @AlisonMaloni https://t.co/8m0cqU4AMc pic.twitter.com/oDrWqq1Mex
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 11, 2023
“Top question is, with regard to the first batch, what did Merrick Garland know?” Waltz asked. “I mean, obviously, he had some knowledge, and yet chose a special counsel, announced it, you know, had this entire rollout and no mention. What did he know? What has he known?”
The Florida congressman also wanted to know “who knew” about the documents between their discovery and why they were not disclosed during the six-day window before the midterm elections.
“It’s got to be one of the world’s biggest coincidences, if… politics weren’t involved,” Waltz sneered. “If there’s anything that deserves a special counsel since now we’ve set that bar, in terms of conflict of interest, it’s this. Because we’ve clearly just seen the tip of the iceberg.”
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