James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
3:05 P.M. EDT
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody.
Q Hi, Karine.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi, Peter. (Laughter.) You’re like that kid in the class.
Q What kid?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re like —
I’m expecting an apple — like a nice, shiny red apple.
Q Next briefing.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. All right.
Okay. So, moments ago, the President signed the Instruments of Ratification for the Accession Protocols to NATO for Finland and Sweden.
Before the signing, the President spoke with Swedish Prime Minister Andersson and Finnish President Niin- — Niinistö — Niinistö? — okay, Niinistö — to emphasize the United States’ strong support for their decisions to apply for NATO membership and reiterate that the United States will continue to work with our NATO Allies to quickly bring Sweden and Finland into the greatest defensive alliance in history.
Finland and Sweden will make NATO stronger and deepen the transatlantic partnership at a time when Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered peace and security in Europe, and fundamentally disrupted the rules-based international order.
As the President said, this is a watershed moment for our Alliance and for the greater security and stability of the world.
As you all saw this morning, today the President signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which will supercharge our efforts to make semiconductors here in America, which power everything from our smartphones, to dishwashers, to automobiles.
You have heard us talk about the economic and national security benefits of this bill for months now, but I wanted to lift up one new story that we heard from the President directly today and from Joshua Aviv directly today, the founder and CEO of SparkCharge.
We know this bill is going to help major companies, like Micron, Intel, General Motors, Ford, and so many more. But when Joshua introduced the President today, we also heard how the CHIPS and Science Act will help young, diverse, and self-starting entrepreneurs as well.
Joshua’s company, SparkCharge, is the first mobile, ultra-fast charger for electric vehicles, and he also started “Currently,” which delivers a charge directly to u- — to EV owners on the road. He manufactures all the products his company needs at their fa- — factory in Buffalo, New York. And the CHIPS and Science bill will help Joshua build and grow his business.
As the President said today, this is a once-in-a-generation law that invests in America itself, a law that the American people should be proud of.
Also, as you may have seen yesterday, the — Secretary Blinken was in South Africa and he announced the new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.
This strategy articulates our new vision for a 21st century U.S.-African partnership. It recognizes the tremendous, positive opportunity that exist to advance shared interests along our African partners, and it reframes and recognize Africa’s importance to U.S. national security interests.
This strategy also parallels many of the themes we look forward to addressing in December at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit here — right here in Washington, D.C.
We encourage you to review the full strategy and factsheet posted on the White House website.
And lastly, the average national gas price — I know you guys love us talking about gas prices going down — dropped below $4 per gallon according to a leading market analyst. That’s delivering over $100 a month in vital relief to American families with two cars.
This is the fastest decline in gas prices in over a decade — nearly a dollar drop in just 56 days — with gas prices dropping every single day this summer.
The most common price at gas stations today is $3.79. And drivers in five states can now find gas below 2 dollars and 99 dol- — 99 cents per gallon from at least one gas station.
President Biden promised he would address Putin’s price hike at the ba- — at the pump, and he has. He is releasing 1 billion barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He is rallying — rallying international partners to release an unprecedent amount of oil. And under President Biden’s leadership, U.S. oil production is up and on track to reach a record high.
More work remains, but prices are coming down, and the President will continue to call on domestic and international oil producers to increase output so that they can continue to come down.
With that, Zeke, you want to take us away?
Q All right. Thanks, Karine. Just briefly, at the earlier CHIPS signing, the President had several — several coughing episodes. Is it possible to get an update from his physician about his — his status after his recovery from COVID, please?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, we shared his — his negative test today. He’s — he has tested negative Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and now today.
We have also said many times, I think, during the briefing when we were talking about his COVID case, that he experiences coughs from time to time, independent of him getting COVID. And what he’s experiencing right now is the lingering effects of COVID, which is something I’m sure many of us who have had COVID have — have been — have endured or had to deal with. And so, that’s what you’re seeing at this time.
Q And so, no update from the physician —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, there’s no update needed. We had actually said that this was a possibility. We had been clear about that. We actually shared that he has an inhaler that he uses from time to time because he has — he has experienced coughs, as you’ve heard him from even before COVID that he has dealt with.
And — and basically what you’re seeing right now is lingering effects of that. And we have talked — we spoke to the doctor about this, and that’s what he relayed to us specifically.
Q On a different topic, the FBI has served a search warrant on the former President’s residence in Florida. Was the President or anyone at the White House aware of that search warrant? Or had — has anyone at the White House or the President been briefed in the aftermath of that search warrant being executed?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. The President was not briefed, did not — was not aware of it. No. No one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen.
Q Is the White House at all concerned, given the domestic political climate but also the signal that it sends to the rest of the world, that the Department of Justice carried out this sort of operation on a former President, that it could even be — create the appearance of a politically motivated prosecutor?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, first off, and you’ve heard us say this many times at this podium, you’ve heard the President say this: 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.
I can say that President Biden has been unequivocal since the campaign: He believes in the rule of law, in the independence of Justice Depar- — of the Justice Department investigations, that those investigations should be free from political influence. And he has held that commitment as President.
I want to also remind you all of what he said on January 7th of 2021 when he then nominated Merrick Garland to be the Attorney General, and I quote:
“We need to restore the honor, the integrity of the independence of the Department of Justice in this nation that has been so badly damaged. And so many former leaders of that department, in both parties, have so testified” and that — “and stated that. I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve. You won’t work for me. You are not the President or the Vice President’s lawyers. Your loyalty is not me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation to guarantee justice.” End quote.
So I would refer you to the Department of Justice.
Q And then, just lastly, does the White House or the President believe it would be helpful, both domestically and the signal that sends abroad, for the Department of Justice to be more open about the reasons for that search warrant — the underlying evidence there?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, this is not something I’m going to comment on today or from here at all. This goes to the Department of Justice, and that’s where I refer you to.
Q Karine? Thank you. The President this morning stressed that the CHIPS Act will create jobs, will grow the economy. But when will Americans feel the impact of this legislation? When will this law impact supply chains? When might prices go down because of this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So Secre- — Secretary Raimondo actually spoke to this a little bit, and the department is already taking steps to set up the office that will implement the bill. And so we’ll — we’ll have more details on that — on that soon.
But we are working hand-in-hand with private companies who are already announcing new investments here at home because we passed this bill. We had said for many months that we needed to send that signal for companies who were making decisions by the end of the summer.
So, by passing this and now the President signing this, we have sent that signal. So, there, you see companies working on that — private companies.
So, Intel is going to break ground on next-gen semiconductor factories in central Ohio in early fall. So that is certainly a step forward.
Micron is announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing, which will create up to 40,000 new jobs.
And Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries are announcing a new partnership, including $4.2 billion in chips manufacturing. Qualcomm will increase U.S. chip manufacturing by up to 50 percent.
Just giving you a little bit of already what’s happening. And we’ll have more specifics on when we’ll see a direct effect.
Q And on this raid, I understand you’re underscoring the independence of the Justice Department, but just politically and in terms of the optics of this, are you concerned at all about how it looks for the Justice Department to be investigating and raiding the home of the former President, who may very well be the current President’s rival in 2024?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, we’re just not going to comment on any ongoing investigations from here.
Q And to Republicans who say it reeks of politics?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’ll say this: You know, the President and the White House learned about this FBI search from public reports. We learned, just like the American public did yesterday, and we did not have advance notice of this activity.
President Biden has been very clear from before he was elected President and throughout his time in office that the Justice Department conducts its investigations independently. He believes in the rule of law and what — we are nations of law — are a nation of law.
And he — again, we defer any incoming on this particular incident yesterday to the Department of Justice.
Q To follow up on that, Karine, Republicans have said that they will probe this raid if they take over the House or the Senate after the November elections. What’s the White House’s reaction to that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m just not going to comment on any reaction to what happened yesterday. We are going to refer any incoming to the Department of Justice.
Q Okay. But that’s not really about DOJ. It’s more about what might be coming your way if the election does not go your way in November.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s a hypothetical, and I’m just not going to entertain it at this time.
Q And another topic. The House is meeting on Friday to vote about the Inflation Reduction Act. Assuming that they go ahead and pass the bill, what are the President’s plans for signing that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, no plans at this moment to share with all of you. As you know, there’s some — there’s an enrollment process; it takes some time before the bill can get signed. I have nothing to share at this time on what that looks like.
So we just are looking forward. We are grateful for what the Senate was able to do just a couple of days ago. And we are looking forward to the House passing it so that we can deliver for the American people.
Go ahead, and then I’ll come back to you.
Q Just to follow up on the Republican criticism of this search warrant that was executed on Mar-a-Lago, does the President believe that the Justice Department acted accordingly here?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is not — I’ll say — I’ll say this again: That’s up for the Department of Justice to decide. It is — when it comes to the criminal investigation, it is independent. And they make that decision.
Q And has the White House been told whether or not Attorney General Garland signed off on the search warrant himself?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We learned about this, the President learned about this just like you all did, through the public reports. And we learned about this just like the American people did.
Q So you don’t know whether or not Garland signed off on it?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more to share.
So we — like I said, we didn’t lear- — we did not know about this, and we have not been briefed on this. We learned about this just like the public — just as you all were reporting it, through the public reports.
Q And on the President’s agenda, how does he plan to use the string of wins that he’s had lately and that Democrats have had lately to turn it into a sense of momentum — not just for his own low approval ratings, but also to help Democrats in the midterm elections?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, you know, what we have seen this past week and, I would argue, the past 18 months has been a president who has a legislative success — more legislative success than any modern President.
If you think about the American Rescue Plan, if you think about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, if you think about what’s going on with CHIPS, what’s happening with the Inflation Reduction Act that’s — we are grateful for, and it looks like it’s going to be passing out of the House in a couple of days, and so much more — burn pits — all of these successes certainly is something that the President has talked about for many years.
If you look specifically at the Inflation Reduction Act and those components that are incredibly popular, when you think about how the American people feel about these — about lowering costs — energy costs; lowering premiums — healthcare premiums — these are things — and especially the Medicare to be able to negotiate — these are things that Democrats have been fighting for for 34 years. And — and special interest groups have said no and have not allowed — you know, have [not] allowed congressional members to work really hard and pass bills to lower those costs for American people.
And finally, what we have seen this week is a win — is a win for the American public. And so, the President, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, congressional members are certainly going to be out there talking to the American people, talking about — about these wins for them that we — that we were able to work together on.
And so, that’s what you’re going to see in the upcoming weeks. And you have congressional Democrats right now in their districts talking about this particular bill and others — CHIPS as well — in their district and talking about how they were able to deliver.
Q And does the President think he’ll get a boost from this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I think our focus is always on delivering for the American people. This is a President who has been in office for some time. A lot of the components that we have seen delivered are things that he has fought for since he was a senator. And when you think about lowering prescription drugs, that’s something that’s incredibly personal to him, and that’s what matters. What matters right now is the work that we’re doing, which are very popular — the components, the legislation are very popular with the American public. And that’s going to be our focus.
Q The Archivist said in a letter to the Justice Department in February that classified material apparently was taken from this building down to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. What’s the President’s reaction to that general notion?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m not going to comment further from here from what I said. This is a — this is a criminal investigation that the Department of Justice is running, and I leave it to them to speak to it.
Q The President is the original classification authority; all of it stems from him personally. He has no specific reaction to the way that classified material was apparently handled in this case?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, this is a criminal investigation that the Department of Justice is independently running. We will leave it to them to speak to this.
Q Once more on this question of the general reaction to what has happened since yesterday. Does the President feel that the FBI’s legitimacy and its decision-making, the way that it handled this, is on the line now?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President has been very clear. I read his quote from when he — on January 7th in 2021, when he nominated Merrick Garland, and how he felt the importance of not politicizing the Department of Justice, the importance of having that independence. And so I leave the — I leave the quote that I read to — to all of you just moments ago to you.
Q Separately, the President visited — well, we know that the Speaker of the House was here visiting with the President today. Did they discuss the Speaker’s visit to Taiwan?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I have not seen the President since the event, so I can’t speak to that at this time.
Q Thanks, Karine. Do you consider Donald Trump to be a political rival of President Biden?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to speak to that from here.
Q But you talk about Trump all the time. So do you consider him to be —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Mm, I don’t talk about Trump all the time.
Q “Ultra MAGA.” You guys were criticizing his handling of COVID last week. You’ve mentioned his January 6th response a couple days ago.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No —
Q So can you say, based on all that — I didn’t say anything about Mar-a-Lago. I’m just asking you if you consider the President to be —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m saying, from here, I’m not going to comment on it.
Q Does the President still want to — think that he would be very fortunate to run against Trump in 2024, like he has said before?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m not going to comment on —
Q It’s just — it’s just a —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — I’m not —
Q — a quote from the President: In “the next election, I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me.” Does he still think that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All I can tell you, Peter, is that the President intends to run in 2024.
Q Is there a concern here that if you guys don’t say more than these Republicans — who are accusing this White House of weaponizing the Justice Department, weaponizing the FBI — are, that that’s going to become the public sentiment, if you guys don’t say once and for all, “We are not doing that”?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: First — first of all, we’re just not going to comment on the Department of Justice investigation. We’re just —
Q Okay, but I’ll make it easier. Are —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re just not going to comment on that.
Q Is this White House weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against a political — against political opponents?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President has been very clear from before he was elected, very clear on this. Hold on.
Q It’s just —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Throughout his time in office —
Q He is President now. I heard the quote. We will be playing the quote tonight at 6 o’clock. Is this administration weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Peter, the President believes in the rule of law. The President believes in the independence of the Department of Justice.
Q That’s — that’s a yes or no.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, that is —
Q Just, is the White House —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, it’s a yes-no for you. I’m answering the question. You may not like it, but I’m answering the question.
Q I’m just —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I’m s- — no. No. I’m answering the question, and —
Q I’m just trying to figure out what’s happening —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — 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 7th in 20- — 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.
Q And just one more about the Inflation Reduction Act. Who around here decided that Americans were crying out for more interaction with the IRS?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I don’t understand your question. You have to say more.
Q Do you think it’s going to be popular when the 87,000 new employees hired by the IRS go around and start auditing people to pay for the Inflation Reduction Act?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So it’s very clear. The IRS Commissioner was very clear on this. He said that — on the record, that this only will — it will only apply to those earning over $400,000. The Commissioner said, and I quote, “These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans. As we have been planning, our investment of these enforcement resources is designed around… Treasury[’s] directive that audit rates will not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000.” So this is —
Q So no audits?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: This is focused on those who are, you know, corporate, wealthy tax cheats that Republicans — congressional Republicans wanted to defend. That’s who they wanted to defend. They wanted to defend those corporate tax cheats. This is not about — this is not about that. This is not about folks who make less than $400,000.
Q So new audits on anybody making under $400,000 a year?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. Very clear, no.
Hey, Monica. Welcome to the briefing room.
Q Hi. Thank you very much. Former Vice President Pence called on the Attorney General to provide a full accounting of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. Is that something the White House would support?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to comment on the depart- — I’m not going to comment on this. It’s going to — I’d refer you to the Department of Justice.
Q And has the President spoken with the Attorney General today?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m — I’m just not going to speak further on any — any conversations. There’s no calls for me to preview.
Again, I’m just not going to comment on any ongoing criminal investigations.
Q When it comes to student loans and the current pause on the payments — they’re set to expire at the end of the month — a lot of borrowers told us that they feel they’ve been left in limbo, making it difficult to plan financially. Is there any update on that expected? When can they expect that? And would it possibly just be another extension, or what else is on the table for that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So the President spoke to this when he was asked, I think about two weeks ago, about the student loan and his decision. He said by “the end of August.” So we’re still kind of at the beginning, getting into the middle of August. So when he’s ready to make that decision, we will let you know.
Q And what would you say to the borrowers that these —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So —
Q — three-month extensions are making it —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — I’ll — I’ll say — I’ll say this —
Q — very complicated —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — and we have been very clear on this: Like, the President understands how student loans could affect a family and — and how the pressure of that can really be a lot and put a lot of weight on a family’s purse or economic situation. So, we understand that. He is making — he is going to make his decision on this, and when he has something to say, we will share that.
Q And just finally on Ukraine: What is the White House understanding of the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The — which — which power plant?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I spoke to this yesterday during — during the gaggle. Basically, what we said then is that — what I said yesterday is that we continue to closely monitor the situation at the ZNPP. The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration report that radiation sensors are continuing to provide data. And — and thankfully, we have seen no indications of increased or abnormal radiation levels.
We also are aware of reports of mistreatment of N- — ZNPP staff and applaud the Ukrainian authorities and oper- — operators for their commitment to nuclear safety and security under trying circumstances.
Fighting near a nuclear plant is dangerous, and we continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and return full control to Ukraine.
For our part, we will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to fulfill its techn- –its technical safeguards mandate to assist Ukraine with nuclear safety and security measures across its nuclear facilities.
Q Thanks, Karine. President Biden is scheduled to leave town for South Carolina tomorrow. Can we get any details on how long he’ll be away on vacation, what he’ll be doing?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — I don’t have more to share on that. I’m sure as — as the days go by, we’ll share more about what — what the timing will be. I just don’t have any anything for you to share at this time on his schedule.
Q And would he — I know you spoke to this before, but would he come back from that to sign the reconciliation bill?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, you know, first, we — we got to — we’re going to work closely with the House to get that passed in the next couple of days. And once we have more to share, we will share your — his schedule, if that changes.
Q Can you talk a little about the CPI data tomorrow — what your expectations are, what you guys are looking at?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep. So, as you know, the President has — his — the President’s number one priority is to making sure that America- — that we lower costs for American families. That’s what we have been saying the past couple of months, especially as it relates to inflation. We laid out our — our plan on what that would look like.
So, we haven’t seen the data yet for tomorrow. We know that gas prices have fallen –I just listed that — for 56 days straight to below $4.00 nationwide. And we hope those gas price declines will factor in into the CPI inflation data. And because of that, because of the work that the President has done these past several months, as I just mentioned earlier, we have seen a decline — a steep decline, a decline that we haven’t seen in more than a decade, saving families about — families about 100 bucks a month.
But again, we haven’t — not seen those numbers yet. And — and so we’ll see tomorrow what that holds.
Q Hey, thanks, Karine. A question about the Affordable Care Act. Does the White House plan to respond in any way to the Kelley v. Becerra lawsuit in Texas, which threatens provisions around preventive care?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to respond to any lawsuits from here.
Okay. Anything else?
All right. Go ahead.
Q To the back?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’ll come to the back.
Q I know that you’ve spoken about conversations — or not commented on any conversations today with the Department of Justice, but would the White House now rule out any briefings moving forward as this investigation continues, given the accusations around any sort of partisanship impacting the investigation? I guess, the question —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Can you say more?
Q Sure. The question being: Is it — is the — moving forward, will the President or anybody from the White House be engaged in any briefings with the Department of Justice over this search or the investigation?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We are — when it comes to a criminal investigation, that is the Department of Justice to — to investigate and deal with. We give them their independence on that.
Q But not — but not clarifying whether or not there would be any sort of briefings — whether any briefings would be made between the Justice Department and the White House, and whether they will be made public if those briefings happen?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. I mean, this is not something — again, they’re independent. We are not — we’re not involved in their criminal investigation. That is not something that we do here.
We give them their independence when it comes to that. And so we leave it — we leave it to the Department of Justice.
So, any particulars, any specifics on what they’re going to do next or — or anything to that fashion, I would refer you to the Department of Justice.
Q I want to ask student loans just one more time. The way this was described previously in reporting and just in conversations about it, even in this room, is around cancellation and a possible extension when it comes to a decision being made before August. And the President has said that, that a decision would be made before August.
Is it possible that that decision is just limited to whether or not there is an extension or not, and cancellation or any sort of relief is left for another time?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So when it comes to the — to the pause — I know there’s the pause and the cancellation — we haven’t made a decision yet, so I’m just going to go to — go to the pause first.
The Department of Education will communicate directly with borrowers about the end of the payment pause when a decision is made. So, again, no decisions have been made.
When it comes to the cancellation — look, I just said the President understands firsthand the burden — the burden that student loan has on families, it puts on families. And we’re just going to continue to assess our options for cancellations. So, no decisions have been made on that
yesterday [yet]. And the President has made clear it will — he’ll have something before August 31st.
Q And would any decision impact public and private — students of both public and private?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to get into specifics. Once we have more, we’ll share that with all of you.
Q Thanks, Karine. Homeland Security announced yesterday that it is ending the Remain in Mexico policy, so I just wanted to see if the White House has any reaction to that.
Also, I’m wondering, too, if you can talk a little bit about the timing of this decision. The Supreme Court ruled in June — late June — that the administration had the authority to eliminate the program. So I’m just wondering: What took so long? Did the President want it to be done earlier?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as we have said before, the Migrant Protection Protocol — MPP policy — under the prior administration was flawed, it was inhumane, and it was ineffective.
Now that the lower court’s order requiring us to continue the policy has been lifted — that happened just yesterday — the Department of Homeland Secur- — Security has restarted efforts to terminate it.
So, it was — we were waiting for the lower court, and it made that decision yesterday.
So, any further detail, I would just refer you to them — to the Department of Homeland Security.
Okay. Go ahead, in the back.
Q On — so CPI inflation is coming out tomorrow, and I had a question on that. So, you’ve pointed out the gas prices are now falling. You said the government spending won’t really affect inflation going forward. So, then, has the American people seen inflation peak? And is it now coming back down?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, what I can tell you is — I explained CPI. We don’t — we haven’t seen the number yet. We’ve seen the gas prices come down in the past 56 days, which is because of the work that this President has done. We hope to see that is reflected in CPI, so we will see what that looks like tomorrow.
As — as it relates to inflation as a whole, what I can speak to is the work that we have been doing and what we have — you know, what we — the plan that we have put forth, including making sure the Federal Reserve has their — has their independence to make sure that they can do the work that they’re doing and have — they have the strongest monetary policy to work on those things.
And, you know, it matters that the Inflation Reduction Act is going to — is — looks like it’s going to pass. It matters because we have 126 economists, both on the right and both on — on — on the “D” side — Republican and Democrats, who have said it is going to help fight inflation. That is important, including five Secretary — Treasury Secretaries, also Democrats and Rep- — under Democrats and Republican administration.
So that’s going to be incredibly important. And we’re just going to continue to doing the work.
Yes, gas prices came down by a dollar per — per gallon, but we understand that there’s more work to do, and we’re going to continue to do that.
We leave — any data, I’ll leave that — we’ll see how — what the data looks like.
Q On the CHIPS Act, the Intel CFO says that they don’t expect to see the money until the end of 2023. You know, so then, the jobs the President is promising from this act, will they then have to wait until 2024 as the money cycles through?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I mean, I was kind of clear on this, and we have been for the past several months, and I said this moments ago: One of the things about passing the CHIPS Act and now signing into law, as you saw the President do today, was sending that signal to private companies that we were — we were going to — we were going to take action to make sure that investments were happening here — right? — to make sure that manufacturers were staying in America and that we were being — we were able to make sure that we were doing the work that our country needed to do to make sure that we’re leading — leading across the globe.
And so that sent a signal to private companies. And that’s why I was able to lay out what Intel is going to do, what Micron is going to do, and Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries —
Q But when — for those jobs? When will we see those jobs?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I think we’ll have more to share. This is the question that I’ve kind of gotten, like, “When are — when are the American people going to feel the impact — impact?” We’ll have details on that very soon.
In the meantime, we’re taking steps to set up the office to get this done as quickly as possible. But I think what’s important here is that this commitment that we have made — again, CHIPS — bipartisan, very important; both Republicans and Democrats came together to get this done — shows a very loud message to private companies that we want to make sure that we’re investing in America and also can compete across — across the globe.
Go ahead, Sebastian.
Q Thank you, Karine. So I’m not asking you to comment on the Justice Department side of this, obviously, because I know you can’t. But, politically, is the President, who is the country’s leader — is he confident that he has a plan to address the way that a lot of Americans, maybe even a very large number of Americans, are being told and may now believe that Donald Trump is being persecuted and the deep state is coming after you, that the IRS and the FBI are corrupt? All this kind of stuff — this is really believed, apparently, by, really, a lot of people.
He’s the leader of the whole country, as he often says. Does he have a handle on this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Your question is still asking me to comment on what’s happening, right? By me answering, it is still asking me a question to comment on it.
Q Not really.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, absolutely. So I’m going to stick to what I’ve been saying, is that this is a criminal investigation that’s independent of — to the DOJ, and we leave any inquiry, any questions about what is happening to the Department of Justice.
Q Thank you, Karine. One on NATO, one on Ukraine. The President urged the remaining seven NATO members to complete ratification process for Finland and Sweden, as he said, “as quickly as possible.” What is desired timeframe when he wants other leaders to complete the process? By the winter? By the end of the year?
And what’s his message to those leaders — leaders of those seven countries, including Turkey?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So we don’t have a timeline to share. I think what you were hearing from the President is his strong support, clearly, from — not just from him, but from — from Congress, from Americans about how we support the — this expansion, this ratification that we saw today with Sweden and Finland.
As I just laid out, he spoke to both of them. We, hopefully, have put out a readout by now, so you’ll hear directly from us on how those conversations came — have went.
And so, you know, we’re going to continue to work with our Allies and partners to strengthen defense and deterrence and to avoid — to strengthen — to strengthen that defense alliance.
It’s one of the strongest that we have seen in modern times, and that’s — a lot of that is because of this President’s leadership. And so we’re going to just continue to make sure that — that we make our voice clear.
But I don’t have a timeline to share. You know, the President speaks to his — to the NATO members very regularly, as we read out to all of you. But this is an important day. We think this is a very important day for NATO as we continue.
Q On Ukraine, there has been a series of explosions at the Russian air force base in Crimea. It’s not clear yet what happened. But I’m wondering if you consider Crimea a legitimate target for Ukraine when they use U.S.-provided weapons.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So we are supportive of Ukraine’s efforts, as you know, to defend its sovereignty and territory int- — territory integrity, as we have said many times from here.
The fight has been in the east and the southwest of the country, and it’s far from over. We have warned this could be a long and protracted war.
We will continue to ensure that Ukraine can push back against Russia’s unprovoked aggression, and that’s going to be our focus.
Q So is a legitimate target or not?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Say that one more time?
Q So is the Crimea a legitimate target for Ukraine when they use U.S.-provided weapons? Because in the past, Pentagon seems to — seem to try to convince Ukraine not to use U.S.-provided weapon to attack Russia, Russian territory.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I don’t have anything else for you on this. I’m saying to you that we are going to continue to support Ukraine as they’re fighting for their freedom, as they’re fighting for their sovereignty, you know, against a brutal — a brutal attack from Russia.
Go ahead, Jenny.
Q Thank you.
Q Karine — thanks, Karine.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’ll come to you. Go ahead, Jenny.
Q I know you said that you haven’t seen the President since the bill signing and his opportunities to speak with Speaker Pelosi about his — her Taiwan trip. Presumably, tomorrow they have another chance at the PACT Act signing. But since you have talked with him about the trip since it happened, does he want to have a conversation with Speaker Pelosi about it to hear what she’s heard on the ground, what the Taiwanese government would want to see from the U.S. government? Does — is he seeking at all a conversation like that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, one thing I will — I mean, they talk pretty regularly, right? This is the Speaker of the House and the President. They have a friendship; they have a relationship. I don’t have anything specific to read out about any recent conversation on her trip.
What I can say is — reiterate a little bit of what the President said yesterday when he was asked about the Speaker going, and he said, you know, it was — it was her right to go.
Again, we’re going to reiterate this: It was her right to go. There was precedence for this. As we know, Newt Gingrich, when he was Speaker, went a generation ago. And — and, again, it does not change our policy, our One China policy. It does not change any — any of that.
And — and so I will leave it to the Speaker. She spoke to this earlier today. She was on some — one of your colleagues’ networks, talking about her trip, so I’ll let her speak to it directly.
Q Does the President agree, since you just mentioned her appearances this morning, that President Xi Jinping is a “scared bully” and “in a fragile place”?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I actually did not watch the interview. (Laughs.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know — I know she was on — I know she was on.
Look, she’s going to speak for herself. She is the Speaker. It is up to her to make decisions on where she will travel. It is up to members of Congress to make that decision on where they will travel.
What we provide — we provide a briefing on what the geopolitics looks like in the region, in that country, the national security components of their particular specific trip. But we are not — it’s — and you’ve heard us say this this: It is a — you know, it is a co-equal branch of government but also separation of powers. And she has her right to make that trip. I will let her speak to — speak to it and how she feels about it. I cannot speak from — on — for her from here.
Q One more on Russia. My colleagues reported today that a merchant ship carrying military equipment passed Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait on the way from Syria to Russia. And I’m wondering if you can give us an update on, you know, how concerned the U.S. is about this, but also, was there any outreach to Turkish officials since it was a Turkish strait.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We don’t — I — we don’t have anything to share on that from here at this time.
Okay, I’m going to try and go to the back. Go ahead.
Q Karine, thank you.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, (inaudible) — I’m going to go to Phil?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, I’m sorry.
Q The President campaigned on binding up the wounds of the country and restoring norms. And I’m wondering, two years in, if the President believes that he has made progress in restoring the American public’s faith in federal institutions.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, one of the things that we understand and the President understands — and I’ve been asked this question in different variations, and it’s pretty much the same. He — you know, when he — when he ran, he understood that we were in a politic- — politically polarized environment. He understand that it was going to be a lot of work to bring people together. And I think the work continues, even in his first 18 months. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
And, you know — but he has been able to do some things that people said he couldn’t be — he couldn’t do. Right? The bipartisanship on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it brought the Right and the — you know, the “R’s” and the “D’s” — Republicans and Democrats together. That was because of this President’s leadership that he was able to do that to deliver an infrastructure investment that was historical.
He was able to — we were able to do that with the CHIPS –CHIPS and Science Act — bring the two sides together to get something done, to make sure that we’re leaders across the world when it comes to manufacturing.
And so there are things that this President has done because of his leadership — somebody was asking me about NATO — that is also important as well. NATO is the strongest that it’s been in modern times because of his leadership abroad.
So I think there’s still more work to be done. It’s not like turning the light switch on. And so we’re going to continue to do the work.
So there’s no — there’s no “yes” or “no” answer. There is: We’re going to continue to work towards that.
Q Gotcha. And then, you’ve said repeatedly that the President learned of the news of the FBI visit to Mar-a-Lago the other day through news reports. Can you tell us anything more? Was he watching the news? Was he scrolling Twitter? Did someone in his staff flag it for him?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I can tell you this: He was not aware of — of — of the — was it the Mar-a-Lago raid? I don’t know what you guys are calling it — before it happened.
So, I can tell you that he did not know.
Q But, so did someone flag it for him?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He learned about it, really, like all of us did. I’m sure maybe someone on his team flagged it for him, but he was not aware.
What I can tell you definitively and for sure: He was not aware of this. He was — we were — nobody in the White House was. We were not given a heads up, and we did not know about — about what happened yesterday.
Q Karine, can you speak to the West Wing communication afterwards between the Justice Department and President Biden?
Q One question for Africa, Karine?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m going to come back, guys.
Q Thank you. Why do we always have to beg for questions? Africans deserve questions as well, Karine.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.
Q Come on.
Q What is the latest on communications with Beijing? And are there still efforts to find a meeting for a face-to-face with President Xi?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No — no update on his schedule, on any meeting at this time. Look, we have said — we have said this many times that we’re keeping the line of communications open with Beijing. The President spoke with President Xi not too long ago. We read that out. It was more than a two-hour and 20-minute conversation.
He — that was his fifth conversation with the President. And on staff levels, there’s an open — open dialogue that we’re going to keep.
Q Karine, we’re getting — we can tell that your staff is trying to give you the hook. I don’t know if you (inaudible) —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, I’ll take — I’ll take a couple more questions. Okay, I’m going to take — I’m going to take —
Q One for Africa. One question for Africa.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m going to take — I’m going to —
(Cross-talk by reporters.)
Guys — go ahead. Okay.
Q (Inaudible) question on the back.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Give me — give me a second.
Q We have been asking for a question, Karine, every time. And even when you give questions to Simon, it’s because he forced. We don’t need to force for question. We also deserve to have a question. Why —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I will get — I will get —
Q Do you have something against African reporters?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead.
Q On Afghanistan, Jake Sullivan —
Q We deserve questions too, Karine.
Q — said last year that there was going to be —
Q You have to be fair.
Q — an extensive top-to-bottom review of the withdrawal and how that went.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Can you start again?
Q Sure. Yeah.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Because someone was — was yelling over you.
Q On Afghanistan, Jake Sullivan said last year that there was going to be a top-to-bottom extensive review on how that withdrawal went.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The “hotwash.”
Q There was some reporting today that that is not going to be ready for the one-year mark. I guess the question is: Why is that process taking so long? What’s been the holdup there?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I know you’re talking about the — the “hotwashing” specifica- —
Q The hotwash, yeah.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — specifically.
So, the update that I can give you from here is that departments and agencies have begun their independent after-action reviews of the operations at the end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.
And again, once those internal reviews are done, we will have an opportunity to look at the full picture. Once they’re done, we will give you the full — have the full picture in a way that will help inform future operations. Department and agencies will share lessons learned consistent with operational and classification security. It’s just still underway. Once we have that, we will — we will share our lessons.
Q So that’s the wait on, like, agency level and department level. You haven’t — the White House hasn’t received anything —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: From what I understand, this is department and agency levels.
Q And there’s no set timeline for when that’s (inaudible)?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a timeline for you on this.
Q Can I get one question please?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead, Andrew.
Q Can I have a question, Karine?
Q Thank you. Adjacent to the news of the day from yesterday, since the news of the search of former President Trump’s home in public, there’s been a lot of reporting on chatter among extremists online about the possibility of violence, people talking about Civil War Two, et cetera, et cetera.
The President put out a domestic violent extremism strategy last year. Is the White House in contact with the Justice Department, DHS, or other departments about preparing for possible violence as a result of this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we’ve been very clear, and so our message is this: that the President and this White House — there is no place for political violence in this country. People have the right to raise their voices peacefully. But we would strongly condemn — as we have many times from here — the President has condemned any efforts to plan violent behavior of any kind. And so we would — we would ask Americans to remain peaceful in this time.
Again, this is something that we condemn. I don’t have any — anything more to share about the particular policy that you’re asking me about.
Q May I have a question?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead — right behind.
Q Thank you, Karine. Can you speak to the importance of the Inflation Reduction Act reaching Black and brown communities, which we know are — they make up — make up a disproportionate share of poverty rates and pay more in energy costs? And to what extent will the administration ensure that it’s implemented equitably?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, clearly, we have to get this passed. We’re going to work very closely, as we have been, with — with Congress to get this done because this is incredibly important, and we want to make sure we deliver — we deliver this for the American people.
I think if you look at how prescription drugs are going to go down, because Medicare will be able to negotiate with — with companies, that is — with pharmaceutical — that is going to be incredibly important — right? — when you think about brown and Black communities are spending.
And not just them, but you think about Americans across the board that are spending so much money — seniors — our seniors — just to get that vital — vital drug that they need just to — just to live their everyday lives. That’s going to have an impact on brown and Black communities, I beli- — we believe.
And when you think about utility bills coming down because of this investment that it’s going to make in — in really — in lowering energy costs. And so those things are going to make a difference.
We think about the ACA premiums — that’s going to — that’s going to keep our lower costs on healthcare. That’s going to make a difference in communities as well.
And so, when — and when you think about the President’s economic plan more broadly, it’s always been about making sure that it is — it is economically fair, that we don’t leave anybody behind. It — we talk about building it from the bottom up and the middle out. We don’t want — we want to make sure that no communities feel like they’re left — being left behind.
And so that is always been part of the President’s agenda, and you see that here with the Inflation Reduction Act as well.
Go ahead, Simon.
Q Okay, thank you, Karine. I know you said that you don’t really want to comment on an ongoing investigation. But what time did the President learn about the raid on — the raid yesterday?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to — more to share, Simon. I’ve shar- — I’ve said all that I can about — about the — the topic.
Q Yeah, and then also you said that the President believes in the rule of law. Does he believe in the rule of law when it comes to the former President or even his son?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not going to — I’m not going to comment any more on —
Q And — and —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — on both of those topics that you just mentioned.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The Department of Justice is independent with their criminal investigation. The President has been very clear on that. And we — I would refer you to Department of Justice on those — those two topics that you just brought up.
Q Yes. So, one final question from me.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure.
Q The Secretary is in Africa. Yesterday, he unveiled the U.S. — the new U.S. strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. But that strategy doesn’t really — doesn’t have any step to show how the U.S. will counter China or Russia in Africa. And why is that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I could say — say this: We want to make sure that — one of the things that we made sure about this, our strategy, it had a different approach on — on what we — a unique approach on — about how we are doing it. So we seek to engage not only government leaders, but a wide range of African and U.S. stakeholders, such as youth, business, civil — civil society, and the diaspora.
As you know, there’s going to be a summit here in December — December 13th to the 15th. And so that’s something that I want to make sure that is said as we’re going to — as we’re headed to — as we’re headed to the summit in just a couple of — a couple of months.
And our relationship, as it relates to Africa, we believe is incredibly important. I just laid out what the President — what the Secretary talked about. So we want to make sure we’re reinvigorating and modernizing U.S. partnerships across the continent; building substantive, reciprocal partnerships with African governments, institution, and public, based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and other shared values, and strengthened by our long-lasting historical and cultural connections.
So we want to make sure that our commitment is there. There is going to be many issues to talk about for the summit. And as we lay out our African strat- — Africa — our strategy for Africa, it’s going to be about — national security, we’ll talk about. We’ll talk about COVID. We’ll talk about food security. And we’ll talk about other items as well, that’s going to be important to both global challenges, that’s going to be important to African — African nations and also the U.S.
Q And if I can ask you this last question —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I — we got to move on. We got to move on.
Q No, one last —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, we got to move on.
Way in the back, go ahead.
Q Thank you. On the CHIPS Act signing today. With semiconductors primarily being manufactured right now overseas in East Asia, what message does this send — does the President want this to send to China, specifically, at a time when tensions are high?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, the President talked about this in his speech as well. He mentioned the importance of being competitive, and that competition — this is why this CHIPS and Science Act is so important — so we show that we are committed in investing in us — in “Made in America” — and committed and making sure that we have manufacturing that’s happening here.
As you mentioned, chips and semiconductors — as you mentioned — even our national security — strengthening our national security is going to be important in chips. Strengthening our supply chain is going to be also important as a — as we look at chips.
So, look, it doesn’t stop us. Even the escalation that we’re seeing and that we are being very clear about with our — how we’re communicating on that piece as well. But we also have to continue to do the work of the American people. We have to make sure that we are delivering for the American people. And that’s what this shows.
It’s going to create jobs. And it’s going to create those important chips.
When you think about the automobiles, when you think about the smartphones — all of these things — it’s going to be important in lowering costs for the American people.
And so that’s our — our message to the American people is that we’re going to make sure that we deliver for them and lower costs and create jobs at the same time.
Q Thanks, Karine.
Q And one more on inflation with numbers coming out. Wanting to get more details about what the White House is prepared to do to help families on a fixed income who are still struggling.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, that’s top of mind for this President. We’ve — we talk about that, you know, pretty regularly — how lowering costs for Americans is so important, how lowering costs for Americans is critical.
We understand what is happening. The President personally understands what’s happening around the kitchen table and the conversations that people are having — about how are they going to put food on their table, how are they going to put gas — you know, gas in their car.
That’s why one of the things that we have been talking about and working on with the gas prices coming down — the last 56 days matters. It gives Americans a little bit more of breathing room.
So the President laid down what his inflation plan is — is. He knows there’s still more work to do. But again, the ifla- — the Inflation Reduction Act, once that gets passed, that is going to make a difference in people’s lives. Prescription drugs, utility bills — that — and we think about ACA bringing down the premiums for folks. That’s going to make a difference in people’s lives.
The CHIPS Act I just laid out — that’s going to make a difference in people’s lives. And so that’s the work that we’re going to continue to focus on. And we’re going to make sure that we deliver for the American people.
All right, thanks, everybody.
4:01 P.M. EDT