White House Spokesman for Oversight and Investigations, Special Assistant to President Joe Biden, and Senior Advisor to the White House Counsel’s Office Ian Sams appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” recently, though what the White House was possibly thinking in having him do that was unclear, as he as refused to answer questions or give insight into what happened with the Biden documents.
That steadfast refusal when “Morning Joe” cohost Mika Brzezinski asked how Biden took the documents home when doing so is so out of the ordinary (or at least supposed to be out of the ordinary), asking:
“As you just heard from Congressman Schiff, it’s sort of unusual to leave a SCIF with anything that is classified, take home classified documents. How did this happen?”
Doing the DC dodge, Sams steadfastly refused to give a helpful answer to the question, or even a believable lie. Instead, he just went on a tirade about how Biden supposedly dealt with the issue “responsibly”, saying:
“Look, I think you’ve heard the President speak to this, you’ve heard the President’s personal attorneys speak to this. The President takes this seriously, and that’s why he’s fully cooperating with the Department of Justice. We’re following DOJ’s lead throughout this investigation, making sure that they have access to the information that they need to conduct an efficient and thorough review.
“That’s why the President and his lawyers offered up access — unprecedented access, I should add — to every single room of the President’s personal home to ensure that any documents that need to be properly in possession of the government are taken and are in proper possession of the government. So, from the very beginning, when the team first discovered materials, they’ve handled this the right way.
“They’ve handled it responsibly with the proper authorities, first with the National Archives, then with the Department of Justice. And that may be a contrast to what we’ve seen in the last few years. But this is a President who believes in the rule of law, a President who understands the importance of an independent Justice Department, and so he’s giving them access to the information they need to conduct a thorough review, and the DOJ, at the end of this review, will be able to present the full set of facts.”
That wasn’t the end of it. Mika Brzezinski pressed him on the issue and noted that Sams hadn’t answered her question, saying “Okay, so I get — it didn’t answer my question really, but I agree, it’s been handled completely differently. There’s a big contrast to the Mar-a-Lago documents. Put that aside for a second. How could this happen, and do you agree, having classified documents outside of where they should be is a serious issue?”
Sams then tried the DC shuffle routine yet again, saying:
“Yeah. Look, the President takes this very seriously, as you heard him say multiple times in the last week. And I understand the question about how this happened. And I think it’s really important to understand that’s exactly the type of thing a Justice Department investigation would be looking at.
“And so, when you appropriately believe in the independence of a Justice Department to be able to conduct investigations free from undue influence and interference, that this President has committed [to], going all the way back to the campaign, that is why we’re deferring to the Justice Department to answer some of these questions.
“They’re going to be tasked with finding all of the facts, putting it all together, understanding exactly what happened, asking the questions. That’s appropriate. That’s why we’re fully cooperating, to understand how this happened. And the President –.”
That was too much of a dodge for even Joe Scarborough, who cut in to ask “But wait, doesn’t the President know? Does the DOJ need to tell the President why the President has classified documents in his home? I don’t understand that.”
Still Sams didn’t give an answer. Instead he resorted to the same tired talking points, saying:
“Joe, I understand the question. And I think it’s really just — gets to the heart of the matter. The DOJ is the one who’s tasked with finding out all of the facts here and the DOJ’s going to ask questions and the DOJ’s going to seek information. And we’re being fully cooperative with that process. We hope that that process moves forward thoroughly and efficiently so that we can get all the answers out there. And so, we’re just going to be respectful. I think it’s more appropriate for questions about the underlying investigation to be addressed by the Justice Department, but, again, we’re going to offer up full cooperation and ensure that they have access to what they need.”
Why the White House would send Sams to do that is unclear. If anything, it just made Biden to look even worse.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1