A reporter pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki with last-minute questions Tuesday as she appeared to rush out of the briefing room.
A reporter pressed Psaki about President Joe Biden’s executive order to fund $3.5 billion in aid to the people of Afghanistan “for humanitarian purposes,” The New York Times reported. When The Intercept’s Ryan Grim asked when the funding will be distributed, Psaki answered that the courts have to rule on the order for it to go into effect.
“How is that proactive, then?” Grim asked.
The press secretary replied that Biden believes the money should go toward the Afghan people “for humanitarian purposes.” She then thanked the reporters and packed up to exit the briefing.
As the briefing concluded, a reporter jumped in asking if President Joe Biden plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I think I answered that question a little bit earlier,” Psaki replied, then proceeded to leave the conference.
Psaki stated earlier that she has no prediction as to whether Biden plans to engage with Putin face-to-face. She said the president believes and hopes to engage in diplomacy with Russia. (RELATED: Biden Admin Has No Idea Whether Ukrainian President Was Joking About Invasion Date)
“You may have seen that our secretary of state [Antony Blinken] spoke with [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov earlier today. The president spoke with [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron earlier today as well, I think the readout just went out to all of you or should be in your inboxes as well,” Psaki said. “And what he means by ongoing diplomacy is that it will continue at the pace and urgency that you have seen from him over the last several weeks.”
“And some of it will come from the president, some will come from high level members of his National Security team, and some of it will come from our European partners, our NATO allies who we remain in very close contact with. In terms of engagement with President Putin, as you know, he spoke with him on Saturday and he believes in the power of leader-to-leader diplomacy but I don’t have a prediction of a next engagement at this point.”
Biden’s 62-minute phone call with Putin on Saturday reportedly resulted in “no fundamental change” amid rising tensions during Russia’s continued deployment of roughly 130,000 troops along Ukraine’s border. In response, the U.S. announced Monday that the U.S. Embassy’s moved from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, to Lviv in the western portion of the country.
Blinken emphasized the United States’ intention to solve the tensions through a diplomatic effort and reiterated his concerns on Russia potentially invading Ukraine during his phone call with Lavrov Tuesday. He said he looks forward to receiving a letter from Russia regarding European security.