Reporters Fire Barrage of Trump Indictment Questions — Including On ‘Political Violence’ — In Air Force One Briefing
White House reporters fired a barrage of questions on Trump’s federal indictment — including on the prospect of “political violence” — during an Air Force One briefing.
On Friday morning, reporters shouted questions to President Joe Biden about the blockbuster news Thursday that he has been indicted in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his retention of classified documents under the Espionage Act as he boarded Air Force One en route to North Carolina.
But that did not deter the press corps in the least. During a briefing aboard AF1 with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton, despite Dalton’s repeated assurances that she would not comment, the bulk of the questions were indeed about the Trump case:
Q Thanks, Olivia. Did — does the President have any reaction to the Trump indictment?
And then secondly, does the President have confidence in Attorney General Garland and Jack Smith to oversee this case?
MS. DALTON: We are just not going to comment on this case and would refer you to the DOJ, which runs its criminal investigations independently.
Q Sorry, quickly, just to follow up on that, I know you don’t want to comment on the case, but what does the White House tell Republican critics who are now increasingly saying the DOJ has become politicized?
MS. DALTON: Look, this is a President who respects the rule of law and has said that since day one. That’s precisely why we’re not commenting here. He believes in respecting the independence of the DOJ and protecting the integrity of their processes. And that’s, again, why we’ll leave it there.
Q I have a follow-up on that. What do you say to concerns the Trump indictment is bad for the U.S. reputation around the world?
MS. DALTON: Look, the rule of law is a bedrock principle of our democracy, and we’re going to respect that. And we’re just not going to have comment on this today.
Q Olivia, Republicans are charging that the timing is suspicious on the indictment because of those Burisma FBI documents coming out the same day. Can you at least comment on whether there was any kind of coordination between the DOJ and the White House on the indictment?
MS. DALTON: Again, we’re not going to comment on this. I will tell you, though, that — and confirm, as we’ve said overnight, that the President, senior staff found out just like everybody else last night. No advance knowledge that this was coming. Found out from news reports, just like everybody else across America.
Q Olivia, are there preparations underway to respond to possible demonstrations around the indictment of the President?
MS. DALTON: Look, we’re always prepared. I don’t have anything specific to share with you on that. And truly, beyond this, I just don’t have any comment.
Q Have you been in touch with local authorities in Miami at all about —
MS. DALTON: I don’t have anything to share specifically on this at this time.
After a brief subject change, several more indictment questions were sprinkled in:
Q A follow-up on the, sort of — the political fallout in terms of — after the Trump indictment. How concerned is the White House? And how are you preparing for any potential political violence after this decision?
MS. DALTON: I think I just addressed this question. I really — I’m not going to comment on the — the news overnight. And beyond that, I have nothing to announce today, but I did say that we are always prepared.
Q Sorry, Olivia, is the President comfortable with Democrats fundraising off of the Trump indictment? Hillary Clinton put out a call to do so today.
MS. DALTON: I’m simply not going to comment on this.
Watch above via Mediaite.
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