Karine Jean-Pierre spoke to reporters on Tuesday afternoon as the former occupant of the White House appeared in Miami for his second criminal indictment in as many months, this time on 37 counts related to the retention of presidential records, including classified materials, at Mar-a-Lago.
During her news conference, she issued what was essentially a variation of the same canned response that the Biden administration has made at every level since the investigations into Mr Trump were formally confirmed: that Joe Biden has instructed the Justice Department to not brief him on the subject at all.
“He was not involved. The president has been very, very clear: the Department of Justice is independent,” she asserted.
The unremarkable statement contrasted sharply with the rantings of the Republican former president on his Truth Social platform, an outlet for the unbridled rage of Mr Trump as he faces what legal experts including his own former attorney general say are extremely serious allegations.
On that platform, Mr Trump insisted just a day earlier that he would weaponise the Department of Justice to target members of Joe Biden’s family, including presumably his son Hunter, should he win the White House once again. Doing so would permanently mar the agency’s credibility and paint it as merely a tool of the White House and a vengeful president.
The agency is already undertaking an investigation of Hunter Biden for a range of possible offences including a gun crime and tax law violations; the agency has reportedly been nearing a decision on issuing formal charges for several months just as investigators made the same considerations in the case of Mr Trump.
The former president, however, remains under a second, separate investigation by the agency for his involvement in January 6 and the effort to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election. That probe is reportedly continuing at full steam while state-level investigators in Georgia examine the same issue.
Mr Trump remains the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination despite the more than 60 criminal charges now facing him; few in the GOP, with exceptions such as Mitt Romney and Chris Christie, have even been willing to give credence to the Department of Justice’s allegations while the party’s hyper-conservative base largely views the cases as a hit job against their leader.
Mr Biden and his aides have largely refrained from commenting on the former president’s prosecution at all, while the president himself has been slow to begin his campaign for re-election and has held comparatively fewer events than his Republican challengers.
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