White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday, said that the White House does not “interfere,” get briefed, or get involved with the Justice Department, and it has “complete independence.”
When asked how concerned President Biden is about the national security implications of highly classified materials being at Mar-a-Lago, the press secretary said she couldn’t speak on the investigation into former President Donald Trump.
“So, as you just stated, Jon, I cannot speak to that. It would be inappropriate to me to speak on that because the president has been very clear and unequivocal about this, is that, when it comes to law enforcement matters, investigation, the Department of Justice has complete, complete independence, and he has said that during his campaign. He has said that as president. We do not interfere. We do not get briefed. We do not get involved,” she said.
When ABC’s John Karl pointed out that he was asking about the national security implications, Jean-Pierre said, “No, I cannot comment on this. It is an investigation that is currently happening. I hear your question, but it would be inappropriate for me as the press secretary to comment on this. It would be inappropriate for any of us, including the president or anyone in the administration, to comment on this. This is a law enforcement matter, and the Department of Justice is going to move forward as they see fit.”
Karl played a clip of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), saying, “President Donald Trump is Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024, and this is less than 100 days from critical midterm elections. The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and over-reach of its authority.”
When asked to comment on Stefanik’s comments and asked specifically how concerned Biden is “to see the investigation play out in the middle of a campaign, at least raising the appearance of a politicized Department of Justice,” the press secretary said, “So just to comment on what I just heard, this is not true. This is not something – let me just step back even further.
“When the president, on January 7th, in 2021, when the president nominated Merrick Garland, he was very clear about this. He said that he believes in the rule of law. Merrick Garland would not be the president’s lawyer; he would not be the vice president’s lawyer. This is about the American people and doing what is right for the American people,” Jean-Pierre said.
“The Department of Justice, when it comes to law enforcement, is independent. This is what we believe, and this is what the president has said. This is not about politicizing anything. That is not true at all, and I would remind our – our folks on the other side that the FBI director was appointed by the president’s predecessor,” she said.
“I would remind the folks on the other side that when Merrick Garland was indeed confirmed, it was a bipartisan fashion. So, again, this is not what this is about. We do not interfere. We do not get briefed. The Department of Justice, again, when it comes to law enforcement matters, it is independent, complete independence. And I’m just not going to comment on that. None of us will, because we’re going to let Merrick Garland speak for himself and his department,” the press secretary said.
When asked whether Biden has been briefed on any of this, Jean-Pierre said, “Not been briefed. We have not interfered.”
“Not discussed it at all?” Karl asked.
“Not discussed,” Jean-Pierre said. “I’m going to tell you, Jonathan, we have learned about all of this the same way the American people have learned about this, through public reports, through you – your reporting and every – every other reporter who has talked about this. That’s how we have learned about – about what is happening.”