White House refuses to answer questions on discovery of cocaine, whether culprit will be identified or held accountable
The White House on Wednesday appeared to confirm a media report which suggested that the individual who brought cocaine inside the White House may not ever be conclusively identified or held accountable, Breitbart reported.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre essentially dismissed a direct question to that effect as being one of several "hypotheticals" that she would not delve into in order to not "get ahead" of an ongoing Secret Service investigation of the incident.
Cocaine culprit may never be identified
Politico reported Wednesday on the developing scandal involving the discovery Sunday evening of a "small amount of cocaine" that was found in a "highly trafficked area of the West Wing" -- more specifically, "in a cubby area for storing electronics" where "many people have authorized access, including staff or visitors coming in for West Wing tours."
The outlet cited an unnamed law enforcement official as saying that it seemed "very difficult" and unlikely that the person who brought the illicit controlled substance into the White House would ever be positively identified and caught by investigators.
"Even if there were surveillance cameras, unless you were waving it around, it may not have been caught" on video, the anonymous official said. "It’s a bit of a thoroughfare. People walk by there all the time."
Incessant deferrals to the Secret Service from Jean-Pierre
During Wednesday's press briefing, press secretary Jean-Pierre was asked numerous questions about the White House cocaine incident on Sunday but provided very few, if any, substantive answers -- though she did make sure to note that President Joe Biden and his family, including his son Hunter, were away from the White House and at Camp David for the holiday weekend from Friday to Tuesday.
"Where -- where this was discovered is a heavily traveled area where many White House -- West Wing -- I should be even more specific -- West Wing visitors come through this particular area. I just don’t have anything more to share," Jean-Pierre said in reply to an initial question. "It is under investigation by the Secret Service. This is in their purview, and so we’re going to -- we’re going to allow certainly the investigation to continue. And we have confidence that the Secret Service will get to the bottom of this."
Jean-Pierre would go on to defer to and reference some variation of "the Secret Service investigation" at least 18 more times before the briefing concluded in reply to questions about the discovery of cocaine at the White House.
That included a query along the lines of the Politico report, that the culprit might never be caught, to which the press secretary said, "So let’s see what the Secret Service says, right? They’re -- again, this is under investigation. Don’t want to get into hypotheticals while the investigation is going -- going -- going on and is happening at this time. Just not going to get ahead of it. Let Secret Service do their job."
It also included a seemingly straightforward question that required only a simple "yes" or "no" response, which was, "If the Secret Service determines the -- who brought the cocaine into the White House, does the White House support the prosecution of this individual?"
"I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals from here. Let -- let the Secret Service do their job. It’s under their purview. We are confident that they’ll get to the bottom of it. I’m just not going to get ahead of this at this time," Jean-Pierre said.
Press secretary's deputy follows her lead
Nor is Jean-Pierre alone at the White House in denying any sort of substantive response to legitimate questions about the discovery of an illegal narcotic that somehow ended up getting past security and inside the building, as deputy press secretary Andrew Bates did much the same thing during a press gaggle on Air Force One on Thursday.
He was asked twice specifically about the White House cocaine incident but on both occasions gave some sort of iteration of the canned non-response and deferral to the Secret Service that had been uttered a dozen and a half times by his superior just one day earlier.
That included whether the White House would "commit to transparency" and "making that information public" if the Secret Service eventually did identify the culprit, to which Bates dodged and said, "I’m going to defer to the Secret Service professionals who are carrying this out. I’m just not going to engage on hypotheticals about it. I would -- I would suggest you contact them for anything more."