Following Monday’s FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was grilled over whether the Department of Justice is weaponizing the rule of law.
"Is there a concern here that if you guys don't say more, then these Republicans who are accusing this White House of weaponizing the Justice Department, weaponizing the FBI, are — that's gonna become the public sentiment, if you guys don't say once and for all we are not doing that," asked Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy.
"First of all, we're just not going to comment on the Department of Justice investigation," Jean-Pierre said.
Doocy stressed the question again, asking "Is the White House weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents?" An earlier question from Doocy asked whether the president considers Trump a political opponent.
"The president has been very clear from before he was elected. Very clear on this," Jean-Pierre responded, before being interrupted by Doocy.
"I heard the quote, we will be playing the quote tonight at six o’clock. Is this administration weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents?" Doocy pressed once again.
"Peter, the president believes in the rule of law. The president believes in the independence of the Department of Justice." Jean-Pierre said.
Doocy told Jean-Pierre that he needed a yes or no answer to the question, to which Jean-Pierre said "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. And I'm no, no, I'm answering the question and I'm telling you that we are not going to comment on a criminal investigation.
"The president has been very clear. I laid out what his thoughts were back on January 7 in 2021, about how he saw the Department of Justice, and I'm just going to leave it there. We're not going to comment from here, from this White House on a criminal investigation that is currently happening," she said.
Earlier in the press conference, Jean-Pierre said that the White House had not been briefed ahead of the Monday morning raid at Mar-a-Lago, where FBI agents took documents, including 15 boxes of documents requested by the National Archives, from the residence.
"No, the president was not briefed, was not aware of it. No, no one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen."
The same reporter questioned whether it would appear to others in the nation or around the globe that the Department of Justice carried out "politically motivated prosecution."
"The Justice Department conducts investigations independently, and we leave any law enforcement matters to them. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigations," said Jean-Pierre.
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