A reporter joked at a briefing with the White House press team Monday about their mounting public relations nightmare as President Biden’s classified documents scandal has escalated in recent days.
“When you found out that the FBI had located even more classified materials in Wilmington, which four-letter word did you use?,” Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who has run much of the damage control since the document development. Jean-Pierre responded with a chuckle.
Throughout the month, Jean-Pierre has fielded a volley of questions from journalists on the investigation into Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified records, which authorities found at multiple unauthorized locations. All presidential and vice presidential materials must be delivered to the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act.
Last week, a reporter jibed at Jean-Pierre that the Biden document discoveries seem to be ongoing, even as the White House has attempted to downplay the situation. Both conservative and progressive media outlets have grilled the White House for answers, which personnel have so far struggled to provide.
“You told us, Karine, SIX times [the search for classified documents was complete]. That turned out to be false. Are you sorry about that?,” the reporter asked.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Come talk to me! I’ll see you tomorrow,” Jean-Pierre answered.
The White House has repeated the refrain that Republicans are manufacturing outrage over the document misconduct. Another reporter asked Jean-Pierre last week: “Why shouldn’t Americans be outraged being found in a garage?”
Jean-Pierre has insisted that the White House is being maximally transparent on the issue. While she has taken many reporters’ questions, she has referred many others to the White House counsel office or other departments.
“The Department of Justice is independent. We respect that process, but again I have taken questions. I can take two questions, 200 questions. I have answered your questions almost every day on this issue and again anything else you may have, anything that’s related to the review, I would refer you to the Department of Justice,” she said earlier in January.
The president has reiterated that he was unaware of both the illegal whereabouts of the classified documents and their contents, assuring the public last week that he has nothing to hide and that “there’s no there there.” Biden has said he has “no regrets” about what has transpired, while Jean-Pierre claims that he takes protocol for classified documents “very seriously.”
On Friday, the FBI uncovered more classified documents while conducting a consent search of Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Del.
The Friday discovery comes after multiple sets of records were previously found in the Wilmington home, including in a storage space in Biden’s garage, White House lawyers said. In addition, a set of classified records from Biden’s time as vice president was recovered by his lawyers on November 2 at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C. The center served as Biden’s private office from 2017 to 2019.
Last week, after the garage documents were found, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Robert Hur to probe the matter.