Jean-Pierre Punts To DOJ As Reporters Grill White House On Biden Docs Investigation

[Screenshot/Rumble/White House press briefing]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly directed reporters to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the White House counsel’s office regarding the classified documents found in President Joe Biden’s possession.

Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked the press secretary Wednesday if a Justice Department official will stand at the podium to disclose information about the investigation. Jean-Pierre said the White House cannot invite officials to discuss an ongoing investigation.

“Since so many of our questions have been referred to the DOJ and to the White House counsel’s office, I’m sure you can understand that we’re in … an information blackout, where DOJ refers us to the special counsel, they’re not holding any briefings, [and] White House counsel refers us to DOJ. So, if you are not able to talk about this from the podium, would you invite a DOJ official to take our questions here?” Heinrich asked.

“No, you’d have to go to the Department of Justice,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is a legal matter that is currently happening at the DOJ, and the president has been very, very clear when it comes to these types of legal matters, when it comes investigations, [that] he’s not going to interfere. He wants to make sure that we give back the independence that the DOJ should have when it comes to these types of investigations. So, certainly, we would not be bringing them here [to the briefing room].”

Heinrich then asked the press secretary if national security has been “jeopardized” from the discovery of the documents in unsecured locations. Jean-Pierre again referred her to the DOJ, saying the question is related to a legal process. (RELATED: Reporter, Jean-Pierre Spar Over Biden Comment On Trump’s ‘Irresponsible’ Handling Of Classified Documents)

“Why is that a DOJ question?” Heinrich asked.

“Let’s be clear. It is not your decision to make what I can and can’t answer from here. What I’m telling you is we are respecting the process, we are being prudent from here, there is an investigation currently happening and when there … are investigations that are happening, that the DOJ is currently reviewing or looking at, we have been very consistent to say that you need to go to the DOJ,” Jean-Pierre answered.

NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander told Jean-Pierre a law enforcement official disputed claims that the White House cannot answer questions from the podium regarding the investigation. He further argued the White House was “incomplete” in its transparency with the American public by not disclosing until January that documents had been found in November and December, to which the press secretary referred him to the White House counsel’s office.

Alexander echoed Heinrich’s question as to whether the White House is collaborating to have a spokesperson familiar with the investigation take questions from the briefing room podium. Jean-Pierre repeated her statement that an official from the White House counsel’s office previously answered reporters’ questions on background for 45 minutes.

“But you’re the communications — you run the communications, so I’m asking about you, as a communications matter, playing any part in those conversations existing?” Alexander asked.

“Peter, you have spoken to my colleague who did, again, a 45-minute call with all of you answering questions,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“That was on background, Karine, not on the record until the call ends, that means the American people can’t see it in public,” he argued. “So we’re asking, ‘Will there be a representative that will speak on camera and see it in public?'”

Jean-Pierre said the call had been reported on publicly, but Alexander argued Americans are not receiving full transparency since the call was not recorded live.

“We have someone currently who answered your questions for 45 minutes on a call and took your questions … about this particular issue,” Jean-Pierre said. “He will continue to do that, he will continue to engage with all of you on this issue, on this legal process that’s currently happening from the White House counsel’s office. After that, Peter, I don’t have anything else to share.”

Reporters also pressed Jean-Pierre at Tuesday’s briefing about the White House being silent as to whether it knew about the five additional pages of documents found in Biden’s garage at his Wilmington, Delaware, residence. Those documents were not publicly disclosed until the president’s special counsel Richard Sauber announced their discovery Saturday.

Jean-Pierre told the press the White House is being “prudent” and “consistent” about the documents and that it will “not interfere” with the DOJ’s ongoing investigation.