One of the hallmarks of Karine Jean-Pierre’s brief tenure as White House Press Secretary thus far has been the expansive range of things that nobody tells her about. (I still can’t read her name without the mental image of saying it with a loud, exaggerated French accent, thanks to Tucker Carlson.) Possibly the most commonly occurring phrase in her answers to the White House press corps is “I don’t have anything for you on that.” This weekend, that lack of an explanation really got a workout when she agreed to speak with Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “The Week.” KJP was repeatedly asked about last week’s FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Florida home, but she declined to comment each time. She appeared to be doing verbal backflips to make it absolutely clear that nobody in the White House knows anything about it and the Justice Department is “completely, completely independent.”
The White House continues to stress they had no advanced knowledge of last week’s FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate or the status of the ongoing Department of Justice investigation, citing the “complete independence” of the DOJ from politicization.
“We do not interfere. We do not get briefed. We do not get involved,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
Pressed repeatedly by Karl, Jean-Pierre repeatedly declined to comment on any aspect of the federal investigation into Trump, including whether President Joe Biden is concerned about national security implications of the highly classified materials that federal agents said they found in Trump’s possession. (Through a spokesperson, Trump claimed the files were declassified.)
Here’s the clip of the interview starting with the first question.
In all fairness, I still maintain that it’s entirely possible that Joe Biden didn’t know anything about the raid. It’s difficult to judge how much anyone on his staff tells him about anything that isn’t written on cheat sheets. Or he may have been told and simply forgot. But you can bet your bottom dollar that Ron Klain knew about it and had already sketched out a game plan to handle the inevitable furor that the raid would produce.
It’s still rather annoying to be reminded of how much of a bunch of fools this administration takes the public for. Donald Trump has been out of office for more than a year and a half, but he is still clearly one of the driving forces (if not the driving force) in the GOP. Just look at the results of the primary races thus far this year if you doubt it. It remains quite possible – or probable, really – that Trump may decide to run to get his old job back in 2024. If Joe Biden is seriously thinking of running for a second term (something I’m not convinced of at all), that prospect has to terrify his handlers. Biden would be stuck facing a rematch with Trump while posting approval ratings that are only slightly higher than the popularity of most venereal diseases. They will do anything and everything possible to prevent that from happening.
With that concept in mind, we should all ask ourselves how likely it is that an unprecedented raid on a former President’s home predicated on someone at the National Archives being bothered about potentially classified documents not being properly delivered could have taken place with the current administration being left in a vacuum. As the old saying goes, pull the other one. It’s got bells on it. And let’s not forget who is in charge of this dog and pony show. Don’t you suppose that Merrick Garland might have a bit of an ax to grind against the man who wound up filling the seat on the Supreme Court that Garland no doubt feels should have been his? He should probably have recused himself from anything related to Donald Trump from the moment he took office, but we apparently don’t play by those rules anymore.
What we’ve seen at both the federal and state levels ever since Trump left office is one fishing expedition after another. New York Attorney General Letitia James has spent a huge amount of her time in office doing nothing but that and, predictably, has come up with nothing to show for it. It’s quite a stretch to believe that we’re not seeing the same thing play out in the Department of Justice under Joe Biden and Merrick Garland.
We’ll close with this clip from Sky News Australia. (You should subscribe to their YouTube channel if you don’t already because they provide better analysis of this White House than most American outlets.) They’ve compiled a staggering number of instances of KJP saying versions of “I don’t have anything for you” in a single week. And they claim they had to cut the list short due to time limits. There were actually more than 100.