by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that President Biden was not made aware that the FBI planned to search former president Donald Trump’s personal residence at Mar-a-Lago before the action was carried out on Monday.
“What I can tell you definitively and for sure, he was not aware of this,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden. “Nobody at the White House was. Nobody was given a heads up and we did not know about what happened yesterday.”
Asked if the president is concerned about the potential for politically fueled violence in the wake of the raid, she said: “We would ask Americans to remain peaceful at this time.”
Jean-Pierre dodged a question about whether the White House is concerned about the raid, given the domestic political climate and the signal that it sends to the rest of the world.
“The Justice Department conducts investigations independently and we leave any law enforcement matters to them,” she said. “It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigations. I can say that President Biden has been unequivocal since the campaign: he believes in the rule of law, in the independence of the Justice Department investigations, that those investigations should be free from political influence and he has held that commitment as president.”
She also had a tense back and forth during the press briefing with Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who asked if the administration is “weaponizing” the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents.
The press secretary replied, “The president believes in the rule of law. The president believes in the independence in the Department of Justice —“
Doocy then interrupted to say it was a yes or no question, to which Jean-Pierre replied: “No, it’s a yes or no for you. I’m answering the question, you may not like it but I’m answering the question.”