- Spokesman Ian Sams accused media of ‘wanting attention or time on camera’
- Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has repeatedly referred questions to DOJ
- Special counsel is probing documents discoveries at Biden home and office
The White House on Monday accused members of the media of seeking to milk daily revelations about President Joe Biden‘s possession of classified documents for their own benefit – amid pressure to provide straight answers on camera about the state of the matter.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced calls to reveal more details about the documents discovered at Biden’s Wilmington home Friday – as she once again referred reporters’ questions to the Justice Department.
Another White House official, Ian Sams – who has been speaking on behalf of the White House counsel amid the ongoing probe – on Monday faced similar demands in an off-camera ‘zoom’ setting.
‘In every presidency, you know, 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,’ he scolded, when asked about the criticism, and whether he himself would provide an on-camera briefing. (He sat for an MSNBC interview earlier Monday.)+6View gallery
President Joe Biden has taken a few questions on document discoveries in his home and Penn Biden office. But the White House has been referring a host of questions about classified materials found there to the Justice DepartmentJean-Pierre grilled by reporters over classified documentsProgress: 0%00:00PreviousPauseSkipMuteCurrent Time00:00/Duration Time16:09FullscreenNeed Text
His broadside came on a day when Jean-Pierre got grilled on whether Biden was ‘surprised’ by the latest document discovery following Friday’s FBI search.
‘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 disclosed that to the proper authorities,’ he continued.
‘They 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. That’s what we’re talking about,’ he insisted.
Sams, who took his new role in anticipation of facing intense House GOP probes, said the office tried to provide ‘public information as it’s appropriate, consistent with that ongoing investigation to respect the integrity of that investigation,’ and repeated Biden’s refrain of seeking an independent DOJ.
He also took a veiled shot at Donald Trump, saying: ‘And I know for, you know, a lot of you guys who have been covering this for the last few years especially, that may be a foreign concept.’
His slap came on a day when Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy nearly got a rise out of Jean-Pierre by asking: ‘When you found out that the FBI located even more Classified Materials in Wilmington, which four letter word did you use?’
‘Oh my goodness,’ she responded. +6View gallery
White House Press Secretary referenced a separate off-camera briefing when asked questions about the documents Monday+6View gallery
‘When you found out that the FBI located even more Classified Materials in Wilmington, which four letter word did you use?’ asked Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy+6View gallery
Pictures of the entrance to President Joe Biden’s lake front home in Wilmington, DE. FBI agents searched the premises on Friday. There are calls to search Biden’s Rehoboth Beach house+6View gallery
He made other efforts to try to knock her off her talking points – just as journalists from CBS News, ABC, NBC and other outlets have done.
Peter Doocy wanted to know if there was ‘precedent for people running for president after the FBI searched their sock drawer?’ – in a reference to the 13-hour search, which the White House counsel’s office said included every room in Biden’s home.
That also didn’t spur much of a reaction from Jean-Pierre. ‘Here’s what the president’s going to focus on. He’s going to focus on continuing to deliver for the American people. That’s his focus. That’s what he focuses on every day,’ Jean-Pierre responded.