White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment from the White House podium Tuesday about Special Counsel John Durham’s report on the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.
Durham’s 300-page report found that the FBI and Department of Justice “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” regarding its investigation into possible Russia collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Though the report dropped on Monday, only RealClearNews reporter Philip Wegmann referred to Durham’s report and asked for a reaction at the White House press briefing.
“What is the White House reaction to special counsel report on how the FBI handled the Trump-Russia probe?” Wegmann asked the press secretary.
Jean-Pierre responded, “I would leave it to the Department of Justice to speak to that.”
Wegmann pressed further, asking, “The president talks often about how he wants the DOJ and FBI to remain independent and above the fray. That report seems to reflect the opposite. Does he agree with Special Counsel Durham that there needs to be wholesale changes at the FBI?”
“Again, that is with the Department of Justice,” Jean-Pierre said as she closed her briefing book. “That’s not something that I’m going to speak from the podium. As you just stated in your question, we believe in an independent Department of Justice. That’s what the president said when he was running and that’s what the president has said the last two years.”
“Thank you so much. I’ll see you guys in Japan,” she said while leaving the podium before any more questions could be asked.
Social media users blasted the response for ignoring both the White House and Jean-Pierre’s own history with the Russia collusion allegation.
Prior to becoming the White House press secretary, Jean-Pierre wrote multiple tweets in which she supported the theory that former President Donald Trump was “illegitimate” and took part in Russian collusion. In December 2016, she agreed with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Trump’s campaign was “all in” on Russia interference, writing, “Flynn, Manafort and The Donald himself (inviting Russia to partake in espionage on our election) #PutinLoveAffair.”
In 2018, she added, “And, Russia is still winning because his puppet Trump continues to flagrantly degrade America’s standing on the global stage.”
Ted Cruz communications adviser Steve Guest posted images of some of the tweets, adding, “It’s no surprise KJP fled the podium… she is guilty of pushing the ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ nonsense.”
“Not surprising that Karine wouldn’t want to weigh in, since she said 2016 was ‘stolen’ & praised Jimmy Carter for saying Trump ‘didn’t actually win.’ She tweeted on convincing Electoral College to reject Trump & was MoveOn’s spox as it joined that effort,” Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy wrote, citing Jean-Pierre’s past tweets.
“She’s deflecting and she isn’t even good at it. Psaki was a lot better with her ‘circle back’ responses,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong commented.
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich remarked, “Jake Sullivan, who pushed and helped concoct the Russia hoax when he worked for the Clinton campaign in 2016, is Biden’s National Security Advisor and the White House still punts to DOJ.”
“He asked for the WHITE HOUSE reaction, K — just say ‘we don’t have one for you,’ Newsbusters executive editor Tim Graham joked.
Josh Hawley communications director Abigail Monroe tweeted, “the ‘muh norms and institutions’ crowd has nothing to say?? weird…”
Though Durham did not “recommend any wholesale changes” to the agencies’ guidelines, his report spotlighted the “lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents” regarding accusations of foreign collusion with Trump.