Karine Jean-Pierre shuts down as document scandal engulfs White House

 January 13, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre continued to deflect questions Friday about the classified document scandal engulfing president Joe Biden.

Jean-Pierre insisted that Biden has been "transparent" even as she failed to explain why Biden kept the documents hidden for more than a month.

White House scrambling

The first set of documents was found at a think tank named after Biden, the Penn Biden Center, before the midterm elections in November, and a second was found in Biden's garage in December, but the documents were not disclosed to the public until this week.

The normally playful, cooperative atmosphere in the briefing room has become suddenly combative, as Biden's cheerleaders in the press have turned to asking sharp questions.

When a reporter asked if Biden was hoping the scandal would stay secret, Jean-Pierre declined to answer and deferred to a "process" that she said prevents her from saying more.

"Look, I want to be very clear: There is a process here; we are going to respect the process.  This is all part of the Department Jus- — the Department of Justice process.  And we are cooperating fully.  We are cooperating fully in this process," she said.


Jean-Pierre has said that Biden mislaid the files unintentionally and that he was "surprised" when they turned up.

Beyond that, she has said little other than that Biden takes the matter "seriously" and is cooperating with the investigation.

She did tell reporters that Biden received no advance warning of Attorney General Merrick Garland's move to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Biden, saying, "That is something that we learned, like many of you, watching the news."

When reporters pressed on when Biden would provide more answers, Jean-Pierre snapped, "I don’t have a magic wand here."

"What I can say is: His team is going to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice," she said.

Biden caught flat-footed

Biden has been mocked over the scandal and his flat-footed response, particularly after he called it "totally irresponsible" for Donald Trump to store documents at his home in Florida.

Biden went viral over his answer to a question Thursday about documents stored next to his Corvette.

"I'm going to get the chance to speak on all of this, God willing it'll be soon, but I said earlier this week — and by the way my Corvette is in a locked garage. It's not like it's sitting out in the street," he said.

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