James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:26 P.M. EST

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hey, hey!  All right, good afternoon, everyone.  Happy Monday.  Okay.

Q    Monday?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Monday?  Wednesday?  See!  (Laughter.)  That is how my week is going. 

Q    Do you mean previous Monday or next Monday?  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Ahh, whatever Monday you want is yours.

Okay.  So, again, good afternoon, everyone.  Please bear with me.  There’s been a lot of news, so I have a few things at the top.

So, with respect to the FAA system outage that occurred early this morning, the safety of Americans is the top priority of the President, the Department of Transportation, and the FAA. 

DOT and FAA report that, yesterday, they were working through issues in the NOTAM system, which is used to communicate key safety information about runways and flight patterns with pilots. 

To be clear, we’re not talking about air traffic control here, but we still consider this to be a vital safety system as well.

So, FAA staff continued to work through the night to resolve the outage and issued a ground stop at 7:25 a.m. this morning, which lasted for approximately 90 minutes.  FAA lifted the ground stop once the NOTAM system was available again, which means that the critical safety information required to resume travel was indeed available.

The President was briefed this morning by Secretary Buttigieg before departing for Walter Reed with the First Lady, as you heard directly from the President on the South Lawn this morning for yourselves. 

As we shared this morning as well, we do not have evidence that this outage was caused by a cyberattack.  The FAA is working aggressively to get to the bottom of the root causes for the system outage so that it does not happen again.

(Press Office aide sneezes.)

Bless you, Emilie.

Okay, so, yesterday, the Department of Education proposed what would be the most affordable student loan repayment plan in history.  The new plan, if implemented, will cut monthly loan payments in half for undergrad borrowers.  It will mean borrowers making less than about $30,000 per year will not have to pay a dime on their student loans each month, and it will reduce the time it takes for low-balance borrowers to get their student loan debt forgiven.

The proposal delivers on the plan President Biden announced in August to provide millions of borrowers with more affordable monthly student loan payments, giving them additional breathing room to start a family, buy a car, and purchase a home.

Today, we have further evidence of President Biden’s economic plan delivering for American workers.  Q CELLS, a major Korean solar manufacturer, announced it will invest more than $2.5 billion to expand their plant in Delton [sic] — in Dalton — pardon me — Georgia, and to build a new plant northwest of Atlanta.

This investment will create 2,500 jobs in Georgia and represent the single-largest investment in solar manufacturing in U.S. — in the United States.

In its announcement, Q CELLS emphasized the Inflation Reduction Act was critical to making this investment possible.  This builds on the more than $25 billion in major investments in Georgia in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, solar manufacturing, construction materials, and more since the President took office.

When the President talks about building our economy from the bottom up and middle out, this is exactly what he is delivering: more investments, more jobs, more manufacturing in America.

In gun safety news, Illinois has now become the ninth state across America to pass an assault bans weapon [assault weapons ban] and take bold action to keep weapons of war off America’s street. 

President Biden commends the leadership of Illinois’s Governor JB Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, Representative Bob Morgan, and the numerous advocates, survivors, and elected officials whose tireless efforts turned the pain of Highland Park and other facts — acts of violence into meaningful action on behalf of all of the people who live in Illinois.

As you’ve heard from me before, President Biden has taken historic action to reduce gun violence, including sign — signing the Bipartisan Safety [Safer] Communities Act last summer.  And he has continued to press for more action to keep our homes, schools, and communities safe, including federal laws requiring background checks for all gun sales and a gun — and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

In the meantime, the President continues to urge other states to join California; New Jersey; Connecticut; Hawaii; Maryland; Massachusetts; New York; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; and now Illinois to ban assault weapons at the state level to save lives.

And finally, a quick note on yesterday’s special election in Virginia.  We congratulate Aaron Russe [sic] — Rouse for his win in Virginia’s Seventh District, a district previously held by a Republican.

He made his campaign clear about the choice Americans across the country have between extreme MAGA Republican policies that would take away women’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions and Democrats focused on expanding access to reproductive care and lowering costs for American families.

It’s not just in Virginia.  This was a — of course, a critical issue in the midterm elections, as many of you reported.  And in their first slate of bills, House Republicans are prioritizing legislation that would amount to a national ban on abortion.  It’s not just tone deaf.  As Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace said herself, it’s extreme, out of touch with the beliefs of the majority of Americans around the country.

The President knows that women’s ability to make their own healthcare decision is non-negotiable.  And we will continue to fight to make that cau- — that case at the state and federal level.

And one final note.  On Friday, ahead of the President’s trip to Atlanta this weekend, we will have a special guest in the briefing room.  We’ll have Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms — will be joining us — will be joining me to talk about some of her work, as well as preview the significance of the President’s remarks at Ebenezer Church on what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 94th birthday.

With all of that said — you guys can start waking up now — Zeke, why don’t you take us away?

Q    Thanks, Karine.  I was hoping you could provide an update on what the President has been doing at Walter Reed while the First Lady has been undergoing this procedure.  We saw the First Lady’s office put out a brief statement a couple of minutes ago, but what has the President been doing?  He was supposed to get the PDB at one o’clock.  Did that happen while he was up there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I’ll — I’ll say this and be very simple.  Today is about his wife.  That is the focus for the President right now.  As many of you know, the President accompanied the First Lady to Walter Reed National Medical Center for her scheduled outpatient procedure, commonly known as Mohs surgery.

The First Lady’s procedure is proceeding well.  And as expected, Dr. O’Connor will provide an update about her — her today.

But again, this is about the Pres- — this is about the President supporting his wife of 45 years.  And so, again, when it comes to her condition specifically, Dr. O’Connor will have more to share. 

But again, I’m not going to go beyond how important it is for the President to be there with his wife today.

Q    Thanks.  And then, a couple of specific questions regarding the discovery of, apparently, documents marked classified in the President’s former office.  The President acknowledged yesterday that he had been briefed that those documents had been found.  When was he briefed that those documents had been found?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, let me just lay this down a little bit because there’s some — just for folks who happen to not be following this.

Look, the President addressed this issue yesterday.  He addressed it on — in Mexico City, on the world stage, in front of many of you at a press conference with two of our closest neighbors, as you all know.  And he said he takes classified documents and information seriously. 

He was surprised to learn any records had been found — found there.  He doesn’t know what was in them.  He said this.  I’m just repeating what the President has said.  As soon as his lawyers realized these documents were there, they did the right thing and immediately turned them over to the Archives.

As he said, his team is cooperating fully with the review.  And we also released a statement from the White House Counsel’s Office, as you know, on Monday, which had — which had — which had information — detailed information about the particular situation.

As my colleagues in the Counsel have stated and said to all of you yesterday, this is an ongoing process under the review of the Department of Justice.  So we are going to be limited on what we can say here.

But as — as the President told you, as my colleagues have said to many of you, we are committed to doing the right thing.  We’re doing the — doing this in the right way.  And we will provide further — further details when it’s appropriate.

Q    Karine, you mentioned you want to do this the right way.  Presumably, that means the transparent way.  So my question was: When was the President briefed?  You said he was briefed.  When did that briefing happen?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, I’m not going to get into the details.  I’m not going to get beyond what the President shared yesterday.  He laid out what he knew, when he knew it.  He laid out how important it is.  He sees it serious- — very seriously, when it comes to taking classified documents and information.

I’m just not going to — I know you all are going to have a lot of questions on this, but, at this time, I’m not going to go beyond what the President said yesterday.  I’m not going to go beyond what my colleagues from the White House Counsel shared with many of you as well on Monday.  And so, I’m just going to leave it there.  I want to be prudent here and make sure that it is — that my colleagues really, truly handle this issue.

Q    Let’s try one more stab at this, because, again, this is of a lot of importance to people.  The President mentioned that handling classified information is important.

These documents were discovered on November 2nd.  This wasn’t — this didn’t become public until my colleagues at CBS News reported this on Monday.  That’s more than two months later.  Why was the public not informed while the White House prepared its PR response for two months?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, this was under review — this is under review by the Department of Justice.  I’m not going to go beyond what the President shared yesterday.  I’m not going to go beyond what my colleagues at the White House Counsel shared with all of you as well.

Look, what we received from the White House Counsel on Monday was — had complete details, a lot of details to all of you on what occurred.  And just not going to get beyond that.  It is, again, an ongoing process.  We’re going to respect the process. 

As the President said, his team handled it the right way.  And we’re just not going to get ahead of the process from here. 

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Have you spoken to the President about these documents and their discovery?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I have not — I have not spoken — well, first of all, I have not spoken to the President about any of this specifically, because he’s laid out what he knows.  He has said he — he doesn’t know what is in them. 

So, there’s no way for me to talk about the documents if he has said he doesn’t know what’s in them.  And we’re just going to allow the process to continue. 

Q    So, for the sake of the American public who want these questions asked and answered: Would the President characterize what happened here as a mistake?  Would this White House characterize this as a mistake?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I’ll say is: This is an ongoing process.  You heard from the President; he spoke about this in detail yesterday, in front of — on the world stage, in front of — in front of many of you who were there, in front of many of your colleagues.

He laid out what — what he knew.  He said that he seriously — he takes this seriously when it comes to classified documents, when it comes to information that is classified.  He was surprised to learn about the records had — had been there. 

And again, he believes that the — that the lawyers did the right thing.  And they immediately turned them over to the Archives.

Q    In the President saying that he was surprised to learn about these documents, is he saying that he did not bring those documents to that office?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m just not going to go beyond what the President said.

Q    Do we know who did bring those documents to the office?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not — I’m not going to go beyond what the President said.

Q    But you’re saying you want to be transparent and do things the right way.  We’re not going to get —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yes, and we —

Q    — any more answers to any of these questions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And his team of lawyers did do that.  They did the right thing by turning over the — by turning over the documents to the Archives.  That’s what they did once they realized that they had them and that they were there. 

Q    It was not clear, Karine, how the documents got from the White House to this office?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m — Steve, I appreciate the question. 

Q    Sure.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It’s under review.  I’m going to let the DOJ do their — do their process. 

Q    Okay.  Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m just not going to get ahead of it. 

Q    Back on the FAA outage, has cyber totally been ruled out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Right now, that is what I said.  We do not — this has not been viewed as a — there’s no evidence of a cyberattack at this point.  The President has directed the Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation into the causes and provide regular updates. 

Again, this is incredibly important, a top priority: the safety of Americans who are flying every day.  We want to make sure that they’re safe.  This is a top priority for the President, a top priority for the Department of Transportation and certainly FAA.  And so we want to make sure that we get to the root causes so this does not happen again. 

Q    And, lastly, on the First Lady, when was this lesion discovered?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not going to — I’m not going to get ahead of what Dr. O’Connor is going to share later today.  I stated that the procedure is going well.  I’m just going to leave it there and let — and let her doctors speak to — speak to it. 

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.

Q    On the documents case again, you’ve laid out that the President’s lawyers and the Special Counsel are dealing with the legal side of this.  You’ve now laid out that you have not had a conversation with the President about this. 

But this was reported Monday; it happened in November.  Are you aware of any conversation in the West Wing among others — people other than the President — about disclosing this once it was discovered?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can say is somebody — I was asked by your colleague if he — if we talked about the documents themselves.  The President said he does not know what was in them.  Right?

Q    Okay.  Set that aside.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But I — but also, I just wanted to clear that up. 

I — look, I understand you guys are going to have a lot of questions on this.  I get that.  I know you guys are going to have a lot of questions on process and specifics.  And what I can tell you is that I’m not going to go beyond what the President laid out.  I’m not going to go beyond what my White House Counsel colleagues have stated.  I would refer you to them for any other specifics or additional information. 

I want to be prudent here.  I want to make sure that we do this in an appropriate —

Q    Okay.  You’re not going to answer the questions —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — the appropriate way.

Q    — but we’re going to ask them, because that’s our job.  And so be it.  So —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I understand.  And — and my job is to answer your questions. 

Q    So here we go.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So here we go.  Let’s go.

Q    One of the reasons we ask this is because on, like, day two of this administration, when he swore all of you in, the President said, quote, “I’m going to make mistakes.  When I make them, I’ll acknowledge them and I’ll tell you, and I’ll need your help to help me correct them.”

So you’re the one here — 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, and I —

Q    — talking to us about this.  That’s why we’re asking you.  So, let’s just remember that. 


Q    When he was asked yesterday —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Ed — Ed — Ed, I am — we don’t need — we don’t need to have this.  We work very well together. 

Q    We do.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t — we don’t need to have this kind of confrontation.  Ask your question, and I will answer them the best that I can. 

Q    Well, part of the reason — part of the reason we’re laying that out is because you’re laying out your part of the job. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know —

Q    We’re laying out our part of the job, which is to ask the questions.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know.  But I’m just saying that we don’t need to have contention —

Q    And we know there will be people who will be watching and wonder.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You don’t need to be contentious with me here, Ed.

Q    The President was asked yesterday but did not answer this part of the question.  Why didn’t he or someone in the White House inform the American people when these documents were discovered on November 2nd?  Did it have anything to do — because people are asking this part of it — did it have anything to do with the fact that the election was just a few days away?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, Ed, this is under review by the Department of Justice.  It is literally under review right now.  As we are — as I am talking to you, it is under review.  So, I’m not going to get beyond the process.  I’m not going to get beyond what the President said.

Look, the White House Counsel, my colleagues in the White House Counsel laid out very detailed information about what — this particular issue on Monday.  You all have that.  I’m just not going to get beyond that.  The Department of Justice is independent, as you know.  They’re — they’re doing a review.  And I want to be prudent here. 

And it would be more appropriate —

Q    But there’s nothing stopping you —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It would be more appropriate for my colleagues in the White House Counsel’s Office to address this. 

Q    Then we welcome them to the briefing room, and we hope they can come soon to discuss this. 

But there’s another thing.  There was nothing stopping the President of the United States from disclosing the discovery of these classified documents in his former office before it was under Justice Department review. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can tell you —

Q    So, why didn’t he disclose it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can tell you right now is what the President is — share with you what the President said to all of you — right? — which is he was surprised by this.  He definitely, truly respects the process here.  And also, when it comes to classified, he takes classified documents very seriously. 

And, again, I’m going to leave you to the information that the President provided to all of you and also — just yesterday, in front — in front of many of you or your colleagues — and also what my White House Counsel colleagues shared on Monday.

Q    (Inaudible) this.  The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee today, like they did after the raid of Mar-a-Lago, have asked that the Director of National Intelligence conduct a national security assessment of this apparent discovery of classified information.  Has the President asked for one?  Or are you aware of the ODNI conducting one?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would refer to the Department of Justice here.  This is — again, this is —

Q    The Department of Justice doesn’t handle national security reviews.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would refer you to Department of Justice on this particular issue that’s being reviewed currently.

Q    On whether the Office of Director of National Intelligence —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would —

Q    — is conducting a national security assessment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would — when it comes to the review that we are currently speaking of right now, of these classified documents, I would refer you to the Department of Justice.

Go ahead.

Q    Apart from those classified documents, the President did say that he was unaware of records being brought to that specific office. 

So, aside from those, has he asked his lawyer, has he looked into whether any other documents have been taken to any other — his — any other office that he has, whether in Wilmington or Rehoboth?  Has there been any kind of, like, audit that’s been done of where — where he may — where there may be others that he doesn’t know about?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m just not going to speak to this.  I’m going to let the process continue.  It’s an ongoing process.  And so, I’m just not going to — to speak to this from here. 

It is more prudent and more appropriate for my colleagues at the White House Counsel to speak — to speak to this.

Q    On another note, you were — you were touting the Q CELLS announcement and the Influction [Inflation] Reduction Act.  I just want to ask, though — you know, Governor Kemp in Georgia is also, you know, touting the deal and taking credit for it.  Did the administration work with the Republican governor to get this project off the ground?  How much help was he in this — in this process?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have any specifics to share on — on our conversations with the governor of Georgia.  But what I can share with you is what we have said many times: is how important the Inflation Reduction Act is here. 

And we see this.  We see this in — in many of the announcements that we’ve seen across the cou- — clearly, across the country, when it comes to making sure that — making sure that we’re lowering costs for Americans; making sure that we’re bringing manufacture — our manufacturing jobs back home.  And this is part of, more broadly, the President’s economic policy.

And so, we see this a lot.  We see where Republicans do not support some of the major critical policies — like the Inflation Reduction Act, but then take credit for it; like the American Rescue Plan, but then take credit for it. 

But that also shows you how effective the President’s economic policy has been and how it does indeed work and deliver for the American people. 

And so, I’ll just leave it there. 

Go ahead.

Q    But the President does talk about bipartisanship.  I mean, did —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He does.

Q    Did — would — did Governor Kemp help?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He does.  I just said I don’t have anything to lay out for you.  But what I’m sharing with you is what we have seen over and over again when it comes to Republicans who do not support what we’re trying to do on behalf of the American people.

Again, the Inflation Reduction Act; again, the American Rescue Plan — right? — which is all part of the President’s economic policy, which has shown to have worked, which has shown to actually create tens — 10 million — more than 10 million jobs, which have actually helped to lower — helped lower costs.  When you think about the Inflation Reduction Act, as we’re going to move forward in implementing that. 

So, all of these things are incredibly important.  I’m just laying out to you that the President’s economic policy is working. 

Go ahead.

Q    Karine, when you were talking about the FAA, you said that the issue arose as they were working through some issues.  And so, I was wondering if you could explain a little more if, basically, the FAA was trying to update the system or was there a server issue, a database issue — if you have any more detail on how exactly — you know, prior to the full investigation — this seems to have happened. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I would refer you to the Department of Transportation.  Secretary Buttigieg has been on many of the — of your colleagues’ airwaves speaking about this and what occurred.  He has directed an after-action process to determine exactly the root causes and recommend next steps.

FAA and DOT will continue to be transparent here about the causes of the issue and how we will ensure a system outage of this magnitude does not happen again. 

So, number — what I said earlier, which is very true: Our number one focus is to make sure that the safety of Americans who are flying — right? — we want to make sure that they’re safe.  And the second part of this is to make sure that this does not happen again. 

And so, again, there’s going to be an after-action process, and we’ll move from there. 

Q    Can I ask about this gas stove thing that kind of bubbled up yesterday?  Does the White House think gas stoves are safe? 

And I know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that they’re not looking to ban gas stoves, but I’m wondering: Was there communication between the White House and CPSC?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as far as the safety piece of it, it’s not something for us to answer from here.  I would refer you to the Consumer Productiv- — Product Safety Commission. 

As the chair said today, and I quote, “Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards…But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

Look, as far as our conversation with — to your question, we are in regular touch with them.  But, of course, they are independent — they were independently correcting the record on this for several days now.  And so, as far as I’m aware, we’re not in touch with them on this particular issue.  Again, I would — I would refer you to their comment.

Q    One last quick one.  Russia announced today that they’re replacing their military chief in Ukraine.  They’ve installed a Kremlin loyalist there.  I’m wondering if you have a reaction to this and what you think it says about, sort of, the state of the conflict.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I’m going to let the Kremlin speak to their leadership decision.  But as an outside observer, as we all are here, they are — they sure have a lot of changes.  You know, they made a lot of changes as they continue to try to overcome their own difficulties in a war that they — shouldn’t happen in the first place.

So, again, I’m not going to comment for them.  I’ll certainly let the Kremlin speak for themselves.  But again, this is a war that they started.  This is a war that they created — a brutal war — and they can end it today if they choose to do so.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  I have two questions for you.  Last week, President Biden said that the war in Ukraine is at a critical point.  And then you repeated the statement from this podium.  So, I’m wondering where does this assessment come from and why the White House thinks that the war in Ukraine is at a critical point right now. 

And secondly, Poland announced today plans to send a company of Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of international coalition.  Does the U.S. support such a coalition?  And is President Biden considering sending American Abrams tanks to Ukraine to help, especially if he thinks that the war is at a critical point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I’ll say this: Look, Russia has been attacking Ukraine for 10 months now — 10 months.  And this winter, we’re seeing a new approach by Putin, targeting civilians.  You’ve heard the President talk about that specifically.  It is unspeakable what the Ukrainian people are enduring, and they are bravely fighting back.

I’ll say this to your — to your second question: The President has made clear to — to President Zelenskyy.  As you know, he was here very recently; you saw them stand side by side.  And you heard the President talk about the commitment that he has for the Ukrainian people and that the U.S. will continue to have their back, stand with Ukraine, as long as it takes.  And we’ve been very clear and consistent on that.

We are moving fast in delivering to support Ukraine with the tools it needs to win this war. 

We just announced a PDA of $3 billion — the largest one — just last week.  And so that is going to continue.

Again, we will be with them as — as long as they need us.

I’m going to move on.  I’m going to move on.

Q    (Inaudible) time to train the troops?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m going to move on. 

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Do you have a reaction to Moderna potentially increasing the price of its COVID vaccine by 400 percent?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have — I don’t have a response to that.  I would have to check in with the team.  This is the first I’m hearing about this.

Q    And separately, do you have a reaction to Governor DeSantis, a couple of days ago, claiming to activate the National Guard in res- — the Florida National Guard in response to the Cuba migration surge?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, we have known for some time now — right? — we’ve seen Governor DeSantis do political stunts.  That is how he — how he perceives to fix this issue from Florida.  Right?  And he takes — you know, he — we’re talking about people who are coming from countries who are dealing with political strife, who are dealing with issues where they’re — they’re trying to find asylum, and he treats them like pawns.

And so, we have called that out over and over again, and we will continue to do that.  And he is not dealing with the problem; he’s actually creating a problem.  And — and so, that’s what I have to say to that.

We’ve talked about Governor DeSantis and the — again, what — the mockery that he’s making of a process that the President is trying to fix.  He’s trying to deal with this issue.  He has made — when you think about immigration reform — a priority by putting — putting forward a piece of legislation on the first day of his administration.  And what he’s going to continue to call on is for Congress, Republicans to — to actually take action and really deal with this crisis, this issue.

Go ahead.

Q    Karine, a couple of questions.  One, is there a log showing how many times the President has been to that office during, you know, his Vice Pres- — when he was Vice President, et cetera?  Is there a log showing the times that he traveled there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Traveled where?

Q    To the office.  To that office.  To the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  To the —

Q    Yes, the Biden Penn Center.  Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Do you mean since he’s been Vice President?

Q    No.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, since he left as Vice President?

Q    Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I do not know of a such log — of such a log.

Q    Okay.  You don’t — you don’t — nothing?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I’m not sure — you’re just trying to see how many times he’s gone to Penn — the Penn Biden Center office? 

Q    Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t — I don’t have anything to share about how he’s — I mean, at least for the last two years — right? — you guys have been very aware of where he goes — right? — because he has a protective pool that travels with him at all times.  So, I can only speak to the last two years. 

When he was a citizen — right? — after becoming Vice President, I cannot speak to — speak to his movements there — where he’s been or how many times he was there.

As you know, he worked at University of Pennsylvania.  So, clearly, he was there often.

But as President, you guys are very much aware of his movements and where he goes and the trips that he takes because he is, indeed, President of the United States.  So, I can’t speak to — speak to after that or before that.

Q    You spoke of the legal aspect of it.  There is also a political aspect to this as well.  There are some Republicans who are grabbing on to this cloud of documents that have been reported.  What do you believe will happen?  How will the work for the American public go forth with Republicans already talking about investigations? 

Already, Marjorie Taylor has been screaming “impeachment” for the longest.  And now, with this, she’s saying “impeachment.” 

How does the work of the American public move forward as now documents are reported that were in an office connected to Joe Biden?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, I’m — I’m going to sound like a broken record, but the pru- — more prudent thing to do is to make sure that my colleagues are dealing with this — my colleagues in — in the White House Counsel Office, and I want to respect the process. 

This is an ongoing process, as you all know, that is being reviewed by the Department of Justice.  And I’m just not going to speak beyond that.

Q    But I was talking about the politics. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know you’re talking about the politics —

Q    Not just the legal, but I’m talking about the politics.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know.  I understand.  I’m just not going to — there is an ongoing process that is being reviewed by the Department of Justice.  I’m just not going to speak beyond that.

Q    And lastly, the Atlanta trip.  Can you talk about what this moment — with this year being the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, what does this King holiday mean to this President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  This holiday — as every holiday when we talk about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, when we remember him on his birthday — has always been a critical moment for this President. 

You’ve heard him talk about the reasons why he decided to run.  A lot of it had to do with civil rights.  And — and he has an administration that makes sure that no one is forgotten, that there is — that he has an administration that represents the country — one of the most — the most diverse administration in modern history. 

And that also shows a commitment to how he — he believes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as well and making sure that we walk in that legacy every day.

I don’t want to get ahead.  He’s going to be speaking, as you know, at Ebenezer Church in a couple of days.  And he wanted to make sure that he recognized that day by going there and talking about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King — what he meant not just to the Black community but to every community just across the country, to Americans.

Q    Karine, thank you so much.  President Biden campaigned on a promise to stay true to the spirit of transparency.  Why then — how is it possible that the White House did not reveal the presence of these documents prior to the election when they were found?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, the President spoke to this personally yesterday.  You heard him at the press conference.  He laid out — he laid out what he knew, and he talked about how important and how he sees this as a serious matter when it comes to classified documents and information.

He talked about when — about how he was surprised to learn about the records that were — that had been found there.  And he laid out his process and his thoughts.

I’m just not going to go beyond that.  Again, we released information that was very transparent, meaning the information that you all — that — received from the White House Counsel’s Office. 

And just — I know — I just — I know you all are going to have a lot of questions.  I get that and I understand that, but I’m not going to go beyond the process that’s currently happening at the DOJ.

Q    Does it undercut the President’s promise of transparency that these documents were not revealed for several months after the White House discovered them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, you know, so, when his lawyers realized that these documents were there, they turned them over to the Archives.  They did the right thing.  They turned them —

Q    Did they tell the President immediately?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All I can say is what the President said yesterday.  I would refer you to his comments.

But they did the right thing by — once they learned of them, they turned it over.  They turned it over to the Archives. 

Q    But they didn’t tell the public about it, Karine.  That’s —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, this is —

Q    That’s the question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I understand the question, but there is an ongoing process.  It’s being reviewed by the Department of Justice.  Just — when it is appropriate for us to say more, we will.  Otherwise, I would refer you to the White House Counsel’s Office.

Q    I do want to be very clear about something you said and make sure I understand you, following up on one of my colleagues who asked you: You have not spoken to the President about this?  Weren’t you traveling with him when he made this public statement?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, no, I — no, the way I heard the question is, “Have you talked to the President about the documents?”  And he doesn’t know what’s in the documents.  That’s the way I heard the question, so that’s the way I was answering the question.

Q    You’ve talked to him about the revelation of these documents?


Q    Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We’ve talked about the CBS story.  We talked about the revelation of the documents, obviously.  But about the documents itself, what’s in them, that is something that the President doesn’t even know.  And I’m just going to leave it there.

Q    Has he — okay.  Has he conveyed to you when he was briefed?  And if not, can you go back and get that answer for us?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I have not talked to the President about that.  What I can tell you is I know you all have a lot of questions.  There is an ongoing process here, and so I’m just going to let the process finish — move forward.

Q    One more.  A quick follow.  I want to let you respond to former Vice President Mike Pence.  He talked about what he and some other Republicans are calling a double standard with the Department of Justice.  Mr. Pence said, “The kind of double standard that we see being practiced by the Biden administration in the wake of this incident in the Justice Department I think is exactly what undermines public confidence in our justice system.”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, as soon as his lawyers realized these documents were there, they did the right thing, and they turned over the documents to the Archivist.  That’s what they did as soon as they realized what was — the documents were there.

And his team is cooperating fully with the review.  Again, there’s a review happening by the DOJ.  And we’re just going to let the process move forward.

I’m going to go around a little bit.

Q    Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m going to go around.  I’ll come back.  I’ll come back.

Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Just to follow up on Franco’s question: Given the position you’re holding right now, there are no assurances you can provide at this point that there are no other classified documents out there in any other office and/or home?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, this is an ongoing process, so I’m going to let the process continue.  It is being reviewed by the Department of Justice.  And I’m just going to leave it there.

Q    Understood.  And you referenced the Counsel’s statement that there are limitations to what you all can say at this point in time.  Do those limitations, just for clarity’s sake, extend to literally everything beyond what the Special Counsel said on Monday night and what the President said last night?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  There’s the White House Counsel.  My colleagues are here to answer questions on this particular issue.  And I am just going to let them speak to this.  They put out on Monday a very — a very, you know, informative, transparent statement about this particular issue, so I’m going to let them speak to this any — further.

But as for — as for me, as for here, I’m just not going to go beyond what’s happening currently.

Q    Understood.  And just one last one.  The President alluded to last night — and you kind of have as well — the idea of once this is, kind of, all over or wrapped up, there will be more information, there will be more details. 

Do you have a plan for that?  Is there — how should we expect that additional information to come, in terms of — will you detail everything you know once this is done?  How does that all work?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as the President told all of you yesterday, we are committed to doing the right thing here, and we’ll provide further details and — at appropriate time.  And that’s all I can share at this time.

Q    Afghanistan, please, Karine?

Q    Thanks, Karine.  The U.S. Travel Association says, “Today’s FAA catastrophic system failure is a clear sign that America’s transportation network desperately needs significant upgrades.”  So what specific steps are underway to ensure that outages like this won’t happen again?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, the NOTAM — the NOTAM system is continuously being updated.  That is something that is happening on a regular basis.  As Secretary Buttigieg said today, DOT is asking the FAA how we improve the system to ensure it is state of the art.

Every five — every five years, there is a review of the FAA authorization, and that is coming up this year.  So we welcome the attention from Congress to ensure the FAA has what it needs to address these issues. 

The FAA is working aggressively to get to the bottom of the root causes of what happened with the system outage today and making sure — again, making sure that it doesn’t happen again. 

Clearly, the safety of Americans who are flying every day is a number one priority.  And what they’re going to do is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

Q    How concerning is it for the White House that there’s no backup, no contingency to this system when it does fail?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, what you saw happen today was out of abundance of caution — the action that was taken — because, again, the safety of Americans is a priority. 

They’re going to get to the bottom of this.  There’s going to be an after-action document that’s going to be put together.  And so, we will make sure that the — what the President wants to see is to make sure that this doesn’t ha- — occur again.

Q    And just quickly, could you tap into funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for example, to try to make some of those upgrades that you’re talking about?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, we’ll see — we’ll see what the after-action report shows.  I don’t want to get ahead of that as far as any funding and what needs to happen next.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  First, does President Biden have confidence in Transportation Secretary Buttigieg?


Q    Why?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Because Secretary Buttigieg is a — is — he respects the Secretary and the work that he has been doing.

You have seen the Secretary on TV.  You have — you have spoke- — probably spoken to him yourself.  And they are doing everything that they can to make sure that the experience that Americans have is a good one.  That’s why they’ve held the airlines accountable.  You’ve seen the Secretary do that over and over again. 

And we understand — we understand what — what Americans have been going through these past couple of months.  That’s why the Secretary has been very clear on making sure that they are held accountable; has put in processes in place to make sure that that occurs. 

And, yes, the President has confidence in Secretary Buttigieg.

Q    And then, on these documents, how could anyone be that irresponsible?  Isn’t that what this President says about mishandling classified documents?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  The President spoke to this personally.  He spoke to this personally.  He — again, he believes that classified documents and information should be taken seriously.  He takes them seriously.  And he was surprised to learn about —

Q    It’s — it’s alleged that he did not take them seriously.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — any — any records that had —

I disagree.  I disagree.  Here’s what happened.  Here’s what happened once his —

Q    Then why is there a Justice Department probe into this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, let me — let me explain to you the process.  Here’s what happened when his lawyers found out that the documents were there.  They immediately turned them over to the Archives.

Q    But they were there in the first place.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But immediately turned them over to the Archives.

Q    I understand that they — you say they did the right thing —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not going to —

Q    — when they figured it out.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m going to go into specifics.  But I’m going — what I’m reiterating to you is what you heard from the President yourself, Peter, which is how he saw the process and how he respects and truly respects and takes this very seriously and when he knew — and how surprised he was by it, and the actions that — the right actions that the lawyers took.

Again, this is under — this is under investiga- — this is under review by the Department of Justice, and we’re going to let that process continue.

Q    How can President Biden be trusted, moving forward, with America’s secrets?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Because his lawyers, his team did the right thing.

Q    But he had a closet with classified information in it —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He — his lawyers did the right —

Q    — that they found.  How did it get there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again — again — again, he did —

Q    Did the lawyers doing the right thing put the documents in the clost?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He was surprised that the records were there.  He spoke to this personally.

Q    But they were there.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He was surprised that the — that the records were there.  And when his lawyers found out and his team found out that they were there, they turned it over to the Archives.  And now it’s being reviewed by the Department of Justice.

Q    And just one more.  Why didn’t President Biden want to see what’s really going on at the border?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He did see exactly what’s going on at the border.

Q    He didn’t talk to any migrants, and he didn’t go anywhere that people actually cross illegally.  Why not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But he also — he met — he went to the migrant center, which was a crital- — a critical place to be, when you think about the partners who are — our partners who are helping support the migrants on the ground there.  There happened to be no migrants at the facility at the time that he visited.

Q    And is that just —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But let’s —

Q    — a coincidence?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But let’s —

Q    Because El Paso has been crushed.  The shelters are full.  There are overflow migrants sleeping in the streets.  And then it’s just a coincidence that suddenly the President shows up and there’s no one?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, let me talk about what’s going on in El Paso, right?  El Paso did go down significantly prior to the President’s visit by about 70 percent. 

And that’s a good thing, Peter.  That’s a good thing that we’ve seen the numbers go down.  And that is something that we should be saying, “Okay, that’s — good job there.”

It has helped ease pressure all across the community.  But the President’s visit had nothing to do with it.

And so, look, again, we went — he went to a migrant center.  He went to one of the busiest port of entry, which is in El Paso. 

And — and so, the President got to see.  He went to the border, and he got to see for himself, talking to — we’ve always been very clear that we were going to — he was going to talk to the people on the ground, who was — who who’s working on the border.  And that’s what you saw. 

You saw him meet with the CBP.  You saw him meet with partners on the ground, as I just stated, who deal with migrants and their families.  And the President also is going to continue to call on Congress to take action. 

Look, the President has been doing the work.  And if you think about the record funding, he has done — he has done more than any prior — prior President to secure the border and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.  And that’s what the President has been able to do.

We’ve got 23,000 agents working to secure the border, and we’ll soon be hiring 300 more.  That’s what the President has done here.

And so, again, he went down there, he saw for himself.  And — and I’ll just leave it there.

Q    Can I ask —

Q    I have a follow-up.

Q    Karine?

Q    Thank you.  One on — a follow-up on —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, go ahead — this lady in the front.  Go ahead.

Q    Was there any discussion of President Biden getting a physical while he was at Walter Reed this morning?  Or could you provide any update on when that might happen next?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, this is about his wife today.  He wanted to — he wanted to be there to support her.  I don’t have anything else to share besides the fact that, you know, this — they’ve been married for 45 years, and he wanted to be there with Dr. Biden during this time.

Q    And then I just have one quick question on Brazil.  Has there been any discussion in the administration about if there were to be an extradition request from Brazil for Bolsonaro for the events that happened this week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I don’t have an update for you on this.  I’m not aware of an official request for information of — or extradition from the Brazilian government.  The — though, of course, if we were to receive one, we’d treat it seriously and examine it carefully, as we generally do for such requests.  I’m just not aware of one at this time.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  A follow-up on the gas stoves and just a quick one on the President’s op-ed today on social media.  On the gas stoves question, Senate Democrats are calling for more regulations on gas stoves because they contribute to indoor air pollution.  Is the President worried about the climate impact of a gas stove?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, again, I — when it comes to the question about safety or — or the effect of a gas stove, that is not something that — that we can speak to here at the White House, so I would refer you to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

And, you know, the President does not support banning gas stoves.  And the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves.  So, I just want to be very clear on that.

And so, again, that’s not — that’s not something that we can make from here, about the safety of a gas stove.  That’s not something that the White House can — can provide.

Q    And then, on the President’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about social media, he talked about reforming Section 230, but the bottom line: Does the President think that social media companies should be legally responsible for what goes on on their platforms?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, holding big — big technology, big tech accountable has been a priority for this President since the mo- — since the day he took office.

In July of 2021, his competition executive order explicitly called for enforcing antitrust laws to meet the challenges posed by new industries and technologies, including the rise of the dominant Inter- — Internet platforms and addressing the surveillance of users.

It is also part of his Unity Agenda, as you heard him say last year — talk about his Unity Agenda.  And you may recall, in that Unity Agenda, he talked about the four areas that have traditionally been bipartisan and where the President believes we can make bipartisan progress.

And in his op-ed, he urges Democrats in Con- — and Republicans in Congress to pass a bipartisan legislation.

Look, the President, again, outlined the same policy positions in this op-ed today that you saw — that you heard from him in the State of the Union last year.

He said it’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our — on our children.  And also, you may remember that one of the President’s guests — the First Lady’s guest at the State of the Union was — was Frances Haugen, the Facebook whi- — Facebook whistleblower.

So this is an issue that the President is going to continue to focus on, and at the — and is incredibly important to him.  And so, as the new Congress starts, he’s going to continue to reiterate a bipartisanship there.

Q    But when it comes to liability, does he think that social media companies need to have some skin in the game, where they could be sued over what happens on their platforms?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  When it — when it comes to sec- — the reforming of Section 230, he calls for — he continues to call for that.  Increasing competition, reducing the impact of tech companies have our — on our — over our lives extends back to the campaign.  And he has reiterated that — them as President.

So he’s going to continue to do that.  He’s going to continue to call for bipartisan legislation, as we’ve seen the new Congress.  And that’s what you’re going to hear from the President.  And that’s — that’s why he wanted to lay out this — his thoughts with the new Congress in the op-ed.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Can I get your reaction on the new House Select Committee on China?  Does the administration plan to work with them?  Do you believe they will be helpful in achieving your goals in strategic competition with Beijing?  And are you concerned about the potential for anti-Asian hate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, under President Biden we are more prepared to outcompete China, protect our national security, and advance a free and open Indo-Pacific than ever before.  Many of our efforts we have been pursuing are bipartisan, underscoring the alignment at home on the key issue.

And we look forward to the committee getting stood up, and we’ll continue to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress on this — on this — on this issue.  It is a top priority, as we talk about out-competing China.

Q    And do you believe — just, on the last part, do you — do you — are you concerned about the potential of the committee perpetuating any kind of anti-Asian hate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, that is something that we’re going to — we will always call out against.  That’s something that you’ve heard from the President and you’ve heard from this administration, calling out any anti-Asian hate.  That is not who we should be or who we are.  And so, again, that is a commitment that he has to the Asian community.

Q    Okay.  And one more on Japan, please, Karine.  Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit, can you share the goals of this visit, particularly in terms of — you know, in the context of countering China and holding Russia accountable on its invasion of Ukraine?  If you can be as specific about what this visit particularly means in the U.S.-Japan strategic relationship right now.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, let me just — more broadly, the two leaders are going to have an extensive and in-depth conversation over the last year at the east — over the last year at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia — so they’re going to continue that conversation, continue that relationship — and the bilateral visit and Quad summit in Tokyo as well.  So they have had many extensive conversation.

The Prime Minister will arrive at the White House after consulting closely with us and regional partners on the release of Japan’s new national security strategy and commitment to boosting its defense — depend on — to 2 percent of GDP, including to invest in new defense capabilities.

These unprecented [sic] — unprecedented moves will strengthen deterrence in the region in order to advance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and globally, as you — as we — as you asked me about China.

This meeting also comes as Japan continues to be a critical partner for the United States and Europe in holding Russia accountable for its brutal war against Ukraine.

The meeting between the President and the Prime Minister will highlight the pivotal mo- — movement — moment we are in for the U.S.-Japan alliance and underscore how President Biden’s focus on investing alliances and partnership, including Japan, is bearing fruit.

And you will hear more on — about this meeting, and will get a readout on Friday, certainly.

Go ahead, Kristen.

Q    Yes, going back to transportation.  TSA plans to roll out facial recognition technology at its airports nationwide.  But critics have raised concerns about the racial inaccuracies, especially for Asians and African Americans when it comes to this technology.  What is the White House’s response to those racial disparities?  And what kind of oversight can be provided to ensure that there isn’t this inherent bias in this technology?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, the TS- — TSA continuously evaluates and improves upon technology and process to better protect the traveling public and ensure that screening is conducted in a manner that respects the dignity of each individual.  That is, clearly, a priority.

DHS is working with NIST to assess the performance of face recognition technology and reduce demographic differentials, particularly as it relates to race and gender.  And so that’s what they’re going to continue to do, is evaluate — evaluate and improve.

Q    Karine, can I ask question of 40 people killed in Afghanistan today?  Can you respond to that?

Q    Can I just ask if you have any information about why the President’s personal attorneys were at the Penn Biden Center in the first place?  Were they looking for something specific?  Was there something specific they were doing going through these documents?

It just seems like to send — if it was just routine moving stuff, to send a personal attorney to do that is a little —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would refer you to the White House Counsel’s very extensive, kind of, information on Monday that they provided.  So, I’d refer you to that.

Q    Karine?  Karine, thank you so much.  On the ground stop this morning, it’s just such an unusual procedure.  I’m wondering if you can go through in any more detail when the President was told that this might happen and, you know, was he involved in that — in that decision or that conversation before it was issued, or did he learn afterwards.  If you just could provide a little more detail about how that process worked.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So when it comes to the ground stop, that’s something that the FAA — a decision that they made, an order that they made, so I’ll send you to them.  

As far as the President, the FAA worked on this issue, as I mentioned, as you’ve heard from Secretary Pete, throughout the night, and briefed Secretary Buttigieg — and briefed Secretary Buttigieg early this morning.  And then, in turn, the Secretary then briefed the President, and he spoke to you all directly, shortly after.  And so that has been the process on how the President was briefed.

Q    I was just curious if the President knew before the ground stop or if he was told immediately afterward.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He was told before.

Q    Okay.  And then, I — sort of looking back to the summit, there were not major announcements on the border or fentanyl.  And I’m wondering, you know, what that — what we should take that to mean in terms of the success of the summit.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as it relates to migration — irregular migration — obviously, that was a key topic of discussion, as all of you know.  President Biden discussed ways our countries can continue to work — work together and to address irregular migration.  So that conversation certainly happened extensively. 

He discussed the recent announcement of additional enforcement actions coupled with expanded pathways for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans. 

And the leaders were able to agree on a number of initiatives, including a virtual platform through the Los Angeles Declaration website, which will provide migrants one unified location in which to access legal pathways they may be eligible for, as well as establishing physical centers where migrants can come in, in person, and access those legal pathways as well. 

And so that — again, it was an extensive conversation on irregular migration.

When it comes to fentanyl, we’ve been focused on taking big actions to fight drug traffickers and go after financiers of cartels attempting to bring fentanyl into our country. 

And so, during his meeting with President Obrador, the President discussed increased cooperation to prosecute drug traffickers and dismantle criminal networks, disrupt the supply of illicit precursors chemicals used to make fentanyl as well, shut down drug laboratories, and prevent trafficking of drug, arms, and people across our shared border. 

So there was — there was a commitment and coordination and — on law enforcement training, the best practices, so we can better go after criminal networks in the fentanyl trade.

Again, this was — this was a meeting — a summit that happened with two of our closest neighbors on how we can move forward in dealing with some of the issues that are really important to the three — to the three leaders.

Q    Was it as ambitious as you had hoped?  I mean, was the White House a little, you know, let down by the scope of the agreements?  And can you sort of characterize, you know, how you’re feeling at this moment about, you know, the outcome?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, we believe we announced a robust set of initiatives on issues that are critical to North America.  That’s what you saw from the three leaders.  You saw them yesterday in Mexico City answer questions, speak to the different — kind of, the different issues that matter to their — to their country.

And, look, just a couple of things: That includes expanding and deepening our security cooperation to combat drug trafficking, as I just laid out; redoubling efforts to address climate change by taking efforts to reduce methane emissions and decarbonize public transportation; strengthening and expanding North American supply chains for semiconductors and critical minerals; and providing alternatives to irregular migration by increasing ways migrants can access legal pathways to North America.

Again, we believe those were a robust set of initiatives, continuing their close friendships, as we move forward to — to what’s important and critical to North America.

Q    And on the border, we were wondering — there were not Republican members of Congress with the President.  Were they invited to come with him?  Can you sort of talk through that (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, so I was asked about this a couple of days ago.  Look, we go through the normal process as we go into a state with — whether it’s Republican or Democrats in that state.  And just don’t have anything further. 

Our Office of Legislative — Leg Affairs certainly reach out to congressional members.  Our Intergovernmental Affairs certainly reach — reach out to state and local official.  As you saw, the governor — Governor Abbott met with — met the President at the — when he arrived at the airport.

And so, again, this is a regular — we have a regular process that we — we — we go forth with every trip, and there was nothing different here.

Q    So, Legislative Affairs did reach out to Republican members?


Q    And the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We reached out to their federal offices like we always do with every trip. 

Go ahead.

Q    And then, one quick question, just following up on April’s really good point.  She, in her question, brought up the notion that, you know, President Biden was really former Vice President Joe Biden during the period in which these documents were found.  And can you tell us how many other offices there may have been?  I realize that you can’t say whether they’re being searched or whether there is any sort of look for documents, but how big is the scope of additional offices where the — at that point, the former Vice President was, you know, doing work?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, this is an ongoing process, and I’m just going to be prudent here.  And it would be more appropriate for my colleagues to answer — my colleagues at the White House Counsel’s Office to address — to address this.

Again, I want to respect the process.  And so, again, I would refer you to them.

Q    Just one quick — I was going to say one quick follow on that.  Obviously, you said he was surprised about these documents being found.  Has he expressed, like, any other emotion in response to these — these —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You heard directly from the President yesterday about this particular issue.  He answered it in a personal way. 

Again, I would refer you to his response and how he saw the issue.  I just don’t have anything else to share beyond what the President shared with you and the American people yesterday.

We’ll see you tomorrow.  Thank you.

3:24 P.M. EST

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