Karine Jean-Pierre gets heated at reporters questioning Biden’s classified doc scandal, lack of transparency

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre copped an attitude Friday when pressed by several reporters about the classified documents scandal currently embroiling President Joe Biden.

The reporters were specifically concerned about the obvious lack of transparency. After all, although the president’s lawyers discovered the classified documents in November, the scandal didn’t become a public matter until this month.

But why?


The back-and-forth exchanges began with one reporter drawing Jean-Pierre’s attention to the president’s campaign-trial promise that he’d restore confidence in government.

“The president campaigned on the argument that he would restore confidence. We know that he’s in the process of deciding whether to officially announce he’s running for reelection. Does this episode undercut that argument that he would restore confidence?  Because here we have in the headlines that he is now under investigation,” the reporter said.

Indeed, the president is now under investigation by a special counsel.

“He’s restored independence in the Department of Justice.  That’s what we’re doing here,” Jean-Pierre quickly and seemingly angrily replied.

“When we’re saying we’re going to refer you to the Department of Justice, that is restoring independence as it relates to issues like this.  And that is important to the president.  And it’s been consistent,” she added.

She continued by blathering more about how the administration has referred the classified documents scandal to the DOJ.

“What I am saying about investigations has been consistent for the last two years.  You’ve heard me over and over again, when it comes to a legal issue or matter like this, we have always referred to the Department of Justice.  So there’s nothing different here.  We have said we wanted to restore the independence of the Department of Justice. That is what you’re seeing,” she said.

“And again, we — this has been done in a transparent way.  When it relates to how this was dealt with, with the Department of Justice and the Archives, the President takes this very, very seriously,” she added.

Does he, though?

Around this time, another reporter — CBS’ Steven Steven Portnoy — spoke up with an especially cheeky question. He basically asked whether the administration had been hoping to keep a lid on the president’s classified documents scandal.

“I just want to press you on that point about the idea of disclosures when it’s appropriate.  You describe a process, but it sort of feels like a strategy — a communication strategy to protect the President from political damage. Was it the hope and expectation here that this would have remained a private matter and not have been subject to public disclosure?” he asked.

Jean-Pierre didn’t care for this line of questioning.

“Look, Steven, that’s your version of the case!” she snapped back. “I’ve been very clear here, and I’ve answered that question multiple times in different versions in the last couple of days.”

“Look, I want to be very clear. There is a process here. We are going to respect the process. This is all part of the Department of Justice process. And we are cooperating fully. We are cooperating fully in this process,” she added.

Like last time, she continued by blathering about the DOJ.

Offered the chance to speak one last time, Portnoy asked an even more blunt question.

“Let me just ask you, because oftentimes in the careers of White House press secretaries, there comes a time where they are asked, you know, what they knew and when they knew it.  Were you or any member of your staff involved in the crafting of the strategy as to when this disclosure should be made in advance of CBS News breaking the story on Monday evening?” he said.

“No,” Jean-Pierre pithily replied.

This back-and-forth exchange occurred on the same day that The Boston Globe’s editorial board published a piece calling out the administration over its … lack of transparency.

“After finding a small set of classified documents in the president’s former office and private home, Biden and his legal team have diligently cooperated with law enforcement. But that’s the bare minimum,” the board wrote.

“It’s crucial that Biden and his team be as transparent about this review as possible. … That means giving the public a detailed account of what happened,” they continued.

The board added that this specifically means answering tough questions such as this one: “Why did it take so long for the documents to be discovered, and why did the White House stay mum on the matter for months until it was leaked to the press?”

Unfortunately, it appears neither the president, the press secretary, nor anyone else in the administration is willing to adequately answer this question …


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Vivek Saxena


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