The White House Counsel’s Office said Monday that it would not televise question-and-answer sessions on President Joe Biden’s classified documents due to “many people” in the media trying to “get attention.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has directed all questions about the classified documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center and Biden’s Delaware home to the counsel’s office, which has held two Zoom Q&A calls with reporters.
Mediaite reporter Tommy Christopher asked Ian Sams, a senior adviser to the counsel’s office, on Monday why the administration would not open the calls to the public by televising the conversation, instead of limiting it to private Zoom calls.
Sams responded that he has “certainly endeavored to give all of you in the press corps access to the information,” before adding that televised press conferences produce “controversy.”
“There are many people out there in the media who sort of try to stir up controversy to get attention or, or time on camera, but I think it’s important to sort of take a step back here and while we’re having this conversation about these, these issues, to look at the sort of underlying issue that we’re talking about here,” Sams said. “The underlying issue that we’re talking about here is that as soon as the president’s personal team noticed something, they immediately and promptly and transparently disclose that to the proper authorities.”
Biden’s lawyers first found classified documents at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2, and discovered more at his Delaware residence on Dec. 20, Jan. 11 and Jan. 12 after several searches. A fifth trove of documents were found Jan. 20 after Biden’s lawyers invited the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a search. (RELATED: DOJ Discovers Six More Biden Classified Documents)
The Biden administration has stressed that the president is cooperating with the DOJ, and Sams repeatedly said that Biden invited the DOJ to do a “voluntary” search of the Wilmington, Delaware, property on Friday.
When Biden’s lawyers “noticed a document with a classified marking, they immediately contacted the appropriate authorities and ever since that moment, they have been and we as the White House have been fully cooperative with the proper reviews throughout this process,” Sams continued. He also took a shot at former President Donald Trump, saying that Biden sees the DOJ as “independent,” a concept that might be “foreign” to reporters who have covered recent administrations.
Sams also told reporters that he could not say how many classified documents have been found and what they contain, amid the ongoing investigation.