A news conference turned sour Friday after a reporter called out White House counsel spokesman Ian Sams for giving “factually inaccurate” information.
“You're from the White House Counsel's office, right?” Gray Television White House Correspondent Jon Decker asked Sams. “But you're not a lawyer, are you?”
“I'm a spokesperson,” Sams confirmed.
“Any chance we can get the White House counsel to come down here and answer the questions directly?” Decker fired.
Considering Sams was actively trying to discredit Special Counsel Robert Hur explosive claims that President Biden is too mentally unfit to be held responsible for “voluntarily” withholding and disclosing classified materials, an assessment that could very well trigger the 25th Amendment and change the course of American history, was not a big ask.
The spokesman dismissed Hur's findings as “gratuitous” and “incorrect”.
“Unfortunately, the gratuitous comments that the former attorney general talked about have naturally grabbed the headlines for all of your attention,” Sams informed reporters. “They are wrong and they are inaccurate.”
With so much on the line, having an actual lawyer on hand to offer more than a self-serving statement to the American people was the least the White House could have done.
But Sams and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were upset by the suggestion that this was above their public relations pay grade.
“Should you offer me this?” Sams asked. “What? I mean, come on.”
“I get offended all the time,” Jean-Pierre said.
Decker didn't move.
“You said something that was wrong, Ian,” he pointed out.
Sams had twice previously claimed that Hur was “the first special counsel investigation that has not indicted anyone.”
Because of this, Sams inferred, Hur's report included “gratuitous and inappropriate criticism of the president.”
“We're in a very high-pressure political environment and when you're the first special counsel in history to not indict anybody, there's pressure to criticize and make, you know, statements that you might not otherwise make,” Sams had said. .
“There has been a previous special counsel…” Decker said before Jean-Pierre cut him off.
“Jon, finish your question, please,” she said.
“Your colleagues in the press corps asked me to come today, and we complied,” Sams said in his own defense.
Decker then pressed Sams to explain “to every voter out there, to every American, why President Biden is essentially being sidelined and former President Donald Trump is now facing a lot of criminal charges that, to most people, look very similar.”
“Great, Jon,” was Sams teasing reply. “I mean, really, a good settlement.”
According to Sams, “the report itself goes over in great detail the facts and evidence that led to the obvious conclusion that there was no case here.”
After encouraging Decker to “read the report,” the correspondent replied, “I've read the report, and that's the reason I asked this question and the reason so many people seem confused. How you hear “voluntary withholding of National Defense information” related to Trump, “voluntary withholding of classified material” related to President Biden, and yet one person is facing a criminal trial being filed by the Department of Justice in Fort Pierce, Florida, and the other is not facing any charges.”
Sams insisted that Hur only “explored the theory of deliberate retention, but that the evidence as a whole was insufficient because that is not what the facts show.”
Sams then pitched.
“By the way, there was a prior investigation by the special counsel that did not result in charges,” Decker declared as Jean-Pierre took the podium. “The Hamilton Jordan Case.”
For those unfamiliar, Jordan allegedly used cocaine while serving as former President Carter's White House Chief of Staff. After an investigation, a special prosecutor declined to charge him.
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