Via Teleconference

(January 17, 2023)

12:38 P.M. EST

MS. YANG:  Hi, everyone.  Again, thank you all so much for joining today’s call.  As a reminder, this call with White House Spokesperson Ian Sams is on the record and embargoed until completion of the call.  By participating in this call, you are agreeing to these ground rules.

Ian will give some brief opening remarks and then we’ll move into Q&A.  As always, please indicate whether or not you have a question with the “Raise Hand” function.

With that, I will turn it over to Ian.

MR. SAMS:  Hey, guys.  And thanks for getting on a call.  I hope everybody had an okay long weekend and got a little downtime.

I’m just going to make a few points up top, and then we’ll be happy to take your questions.

So, first, as you heard the President say last week, he takes classified information seriously.

That’s why, as soon as the initial documents were discovered, he directed his team to ensure that any materials were properly returned to the government.

At his direction, his personal lawyers and the White House have fully cooperated both with the National Archives and with the Justice Department.  And throughout this process, his personal legal team has coordinated its activities with DOJ.

Now that a Special Counsel has been appointed to review the matter, they’ll continue to cooperate in this next phase.

It’s important to kind of take a step back and understand why the President and his team have committed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

Going all the way back to the campaign, President Biden talked about the importance of restoring the strength and independence of the Justice Department.

He has made clear that the Justice Department must make its decisions in cases like this independently and free from undue interference.

The President takes this seriously, and he believes in handling it the right way.  And that’s because he believes deeply in the rule of law.

We’re also providing the public with information about this matter as it’s appropriate.  But we’re, of course, limited in what we’re going to be able to say given the ongoing DOJ review.

Second, at the same time that the President and his team have been fully cooperating, acting responsibly, and ensuring that this is handled properly, you’ve seen something far different emerging among elected Republicans.

What are they doing?  They’ve decided that it’s time for more political stunts and theater.  They’re faking outrage, even though they defended the former President’s actions.

Just look at the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.  Yesterday, he actually told Fox News that he believed President Biden, quote, “probably had no knowledge of it.”

And then, on Sunday, he told CNN, quote, “At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn’t the classified documents, to be honest with you.”

Think about that for a second.  He’s on TV openly admitting that he doesn’t care about the underlying issue and doesn’t even think that President Biden has knowledge about it.

And in case there is any doubt that these House Republicans and their outrage is all pure theater, just look at how he responded to the former President’s handling of classified information.

He said last year — and this is a direct quote — it, quote, “didn’t amount to a hill of beans,” and that, quote, it “will not be a priority” in terms of an investigation.

So it’s important to really understand the distinction here:

President Biden is committed to doing the responsible thing and handling this appropriately. 

His team acted promptly to disclose information to the proper authorities and is cooperating fully. 

And while we’re limited in what we can say during an ongoing DOJ inquiry, we are providing as much information publicly as is appropriate, given that investigation.

When it comes to Congress, we intend to review and respond to oversight inquiries in good faith, but we also expect members of Congress to show the same good faith.

House Republicans lose credibility when they engage in fake outrage about an issue that they’re clearly pursuing only for partisan gain.

Finally — and I’ll make this point and then we’ll take your questions — I know you guys have a lot of questions about the details of this matter.

The President’s personal attorneys put out a long statement on Saturday.  And as they said in it, quote, they “have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity.”   They also said, quote, “These considerations require avoiding the public release of detail relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.”

So, with the appointment of a Special Counsel, we will continue to be limited in what we can share publicly.  We’re going to have to refer you to DOJ for questions about the Special Counsel’s work, but many of the answers from here may need to wait until the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s review.

But in the meantime, we do intend to cooperate with that review so that it can proceed swiftly and thoroughly, as both the Attorney General and Special Counsel have said.

And the President and his team, we’re going to focus on delivering for the American people — taking on the big, important issues facing American families.  We invite Republicans in Congress to join us in those efforts on behalf of the American people.  That’s what the public expects of us.

So, with that important caveat, I am happy to take your questions, and we’ll do our best to work through them.


MS. YANG:  Thanks so much, Ian.  Again, for those joining late, I just want to reiterate that, while this call is on the record, it is embargoed until completion of this call.  And, again, as many of you already have done, please indicate if you have a question by using the “Raise Hand” function.  And we’ll take a couple right now.

We’ll start with Zeke Miller, AP.

Q    Thanks again for doing this.  Hopefully, we can do this regularly.

I appreciate that you mentioned that the White House is going to release information only when it’s appropriate, so I was hoping you could provide some details on the timing and what you decided to disclose and when.

For instance, the statement that came out Saturday about the five additional documents found on Thursday: Why did the White House wait 48 hours to put that out?  And more pressingly, why did the White House wait months to disclose the initial discovery on November 2nd? 

And then the subsequent discovery on December 20th, even when you had the opportunity to disclose it last Monday, you waited until Thursday to do so.  If it was appropriate to release it when you released it, why not release it earlier when it was in the — you know, clearly in the public interest?

MR. SAMS:  Hey, Zeke.  Thanks for that question.  Really appreciate it.  So, I think it’s important to sort of take a step back here when it comes to this.  And I mentioned this a little bit in my opening comments.  You know, the President has spoken to this publicly about how he takes this stuff seriously and that he was briefed about the discovery and was surprised to learn about them. 

And the first thing he did was instruct his attorneys to totally cooperate with the ongoing review and to ensure that any records are sent back to the government.  So, as soon as the team found those documents, they were handed back over to the proper — the appropriate authorities.  This has all been a part of cooperating with DOJ and being careful to respect — as the President’s personal attorneys released in their long statement on Saturday — consistent with safeguarding the integrity of the investigation. 

And so, I understand that there’s a tension between protecting and safeguarding the integrity of an ongoing investigation with providing information publicly appropriate with that. 

You know, on Saturday, the President’s personal attorneys, the White House Counsel’s Office — we released additional statements.  We felt it was important to address

information that we had put out previously in the week, but we also wanted to make sure that you all had a fulsome explanation of the process so far. 

The President’s personal attorneys did that.  They put out a long statement explaining the processes and protocols that they followed in this investigation so far; committed to further cooperation with the Department of Justice, as we’re going to continue doing; and to make sure that, understanding that you guys all have questions about that, that they’re — that we’re going to have — that we’re going to try to address those appropriately, in respect of the DOJ investigation.

There was one thing that was in the statement that was released by the President’s personal attorney on Saturday that I think is worth reiterating in response to this question.  In talking about the way that, sort of, considerations respecting the ongoing integrity of an investigation, you know, something that they said in there — and I have — I’ll pull it up right here in front of me — is they said, “Regular ongoing public disclosures also pose the risk that, as further information develops, answers provided on [a] periodic basis may be incomplete.”

So, in any investigation, as an investigation is ongoing — especially an investigation where people are cooperative and are working in hand — hand in hand with the department to review these matters — information is going to develop.  That’s a natural part of any investigation. 

And so, as this investigation has been ongoing, as the President’s personal attorney stated and as the — as we stated earlier on this matter: You know, as searches were underway looking for additional documents to be properly handed back to the government, you know, we wanted to be respectful to try to provide as complete information as we could, trying to balance with the need to provide that information to you all, consistent with the investigation. 

And so, you know, these are the considerations that we’ve had to take into account while we’ve been trying to answer questions thoroughly and completely.  But the very nature of being cooperative with an ongoing investigation means that we need to let that investigation play out and to try to be respectful of facts as they come to light through that investigation. 

And so, I appreciate the question.  And hopefully, that helps a little bit.

Let’s — let me look at the questions here.  Let’s go to Amie Parnes.

Q    Hey there, can you hear me?

MR. SAMS:  Yep.  Hey.

Q    Okay.  Hey, thanks for doing this call.  I just wanted to know — I know you called it “political theater,” but how are you — there are a lot of Democrats who are saying that you guys can better effectively explain this message.  How do you effectively make that message known to the American people who aren’t aware of the hypocrisy?  How can you — what is the messaging strategy on this like for you, guys?

MR. SAMS:  Yeah, thanks for that question.  Look, I mean, I think I laid this out a second ago.  You know, we’re — we’re endeavoring to be as transparent and informative to you all in the media, to the public as we can, consistent with respecting the integrity of an ongoing Justice Department investigation — a Justice Department investigation that we are being fully cooperative with. 

Look, that’s been a — that’s been a directive of the President, and he cares very deeply about being cooperative in this process and to ensuring that the Justice Department can make these sorts of decisions independently and consistent with his promises going all the way back to the campaign of restoring the strength of the Justice Department. 

And so, I think what we can do is try to explain to you all these deep — these nuances and these constraints that we may have.  We understand that there’s a tension between the need to be cooperative with an ongoing DOJ investigation and rightful demands for additional public information.  And so, we’re trying to strike that balance and being as clear as we can. 

But I think that one of the key takeaways here — and I think something that you see, you know, neutral legal observers stating; you’ve seen members of Congress talking about this — you know, we are acting — as soon as this was made a — the President’s lawyers discovered additional material, they promptly reported them to the proper authorities, and they’ve been completely cooperative. 

I think that that’s a really critical distinction and something that’s very important to understand in this process that, you know, while we may be constrained from being able to provide a ton of facts as this investigation is ongoing, we’re being very forthright that we’re being cooperative with the Justice Department. 

And that’s such a stark contrast.  I mean, you listen to these House Republicans who, I think you mentioned — you know, they’re faking outrage about disclosure and transparency at the same time, for example, that they will not ask their Speaker to release the secret deals that he made in order to get support from the far-right, extreme MAGA members of his caucus for Speaker.

You know, we are learning drip by drip, bit by bit the kinds of things he gave away in those negotiations and the serious impact they have on the American public.

And so, we — you know, these are the same Republicans who didn’t make a peep when it — when it came to the former President handling of material.  And if they did make a peep, they often defended it. 

You know, in their moments of honesty, I think they’ve already admitted that they don’t care about the underlying issue here.  I mentioned a comment that the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee made this weekend.  You know, they’re interested in making this be political theater and political stunts instead of focusing on actually working with the President on issues that matter.

And so, you know, we’re not going to hesitate from calling that out and ensuring that that distinction is made and ensuring that, you know, if something is suggested in bad faith that it doesn’t go un-responded to. 

And so I think that that’s just an important distinction here.  And we’re going to continue doing our best to explain to you all, to explain to the public how we’re cooperating with the Justice Department and the information that we can provide.

Let’s go to Ali Vitali, NBC.

Q    Hey, thanks for doing the call.  From the Hill side, I know there have already been some requests — for example, Chairman Comer asking for documents and communications from the Chief of Staff regarding the searches.  What’s your stance and plan on engaging with these investigations, or is it your posture that you can’t because of the DOJ?  Like, just give me a sense of how you plan on interacting with the Hill on this.

MR. SAMS:  Sure.  Thanks for that question.  So, yeah, as you mentioned, you know, we’ve received a few letters from the House Oversight Chairman on this issue.  We are reviewing those letters.  We’ll make a determination about a response in due course.

But, of course, we’re going to call it out when we see rampant hypocrisy that shows a total lack of credibility when it comes to these requests. 

As I mentioned before, you know, our commitment is to work in good faith with Congress.  When they make a request, we’re going to operate in good faith.  We just expect that the members of Congress have the same good faith.  And when — you know, when we see hypocrisy, when we see comments that are so uncredible, you know, we’re going to address that. 

And I think that with the last few days, you’ve seen an eagerness among House Republicans to make their lack of credibility known.  They’re focusing on things that they did not focus on in previous circumstances.  They’re making contradictory claims on television about the underlying purposes of their inquiries. 

And so, you know, we’re going to review the letters that they’ve sent, and we’ll make a decision about how to respond.

Let’s go to Weijia at CBS.

Q    Thanks, Ian.  Can you hear me?

MR. SAMS:  Yep.  How you doing?

Q    Good.  How are you?

MR. SAMS:  Good.

Q    Thanks so much for doing this call.  Over the weekend, you released a statement disclosing, you know, the fact that Mr. Sauber found additional pages with classified markings among the material at the President’s home.

So, I’m wondering why, back in November and on December 20th, that information about the discovery of documents was not disclosed.  I understand that you have already referenced Mr. Bauer’s, you know, statement.  I just — I’m having a hard time seeing how the — disclosing the very discovery of the documents would have impacted any investigation, especially because that’s precisely what you did over the weekend.

And then, if I could, just a second question.  What prompted the President’s personal attorneys to go back to his Wilmington home on January 11th, after the documents were found in the garage on December 20th?  Thanks a lot.

MR. SAMS:  Sure.  Thanks for that.  So, on the second question, just while it’s on top of mind, you know, I would point — I would refer you to the personal attorneys to address anything that they may have there.  I think you all have contact information for them.  And if not, just shoot me a note and we can ensure we’re referring you appropriately to them on the process.

And I think we’ve addressed some of this in the statements over the last week in terms of how that process was working — whether it was ongoing, you know, how those were being conducted cooperatively with the DOJ, et cetera.  And so, I would point you to those and them on this specific sort of factual details here.

And then, on your former question, look, I think, as I said before, you know, we understand that there is a tension between, you know, protecting and safeguarding what is an ongoing investigation and providing an adequate level of public information to you all, to the public.  We understand that that’s that’s a tension and that those things can often be in tension. 

You know, I think the important thing to understand is that, you know, these things, when they were discovered, were immediately disclosed to the proper authorities — first to the National Archives and then, as the Attorney General laid out last week — the Attorney General statement appointing the Special Counsel — the Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department for further review.  And at that point, the Justice Department was engaged directly with the President’s team.  And they’ve been in cooperation ever since. 

And so I think it’s just important to understand that, like, as — as these — this matter was ongoing, we wanted to be respectful of that as an open inquiry.  And I think that it’s – you can’t do it — you know, you need to connect with that information with what was stated, I think on Saturday, which is, you know, there’s a desire to be complete and thorough in the provenance of information.  You know, that is what the Special Counsel ostensibly is going to be focused on.  Obviously, they and the DOJ can speak to that, but, you know, the various types of things — you know, the types of information, the fact pattern — these are things that, ultimately, the Special Counsel will be investigating and will come to conclusions on and be able to speak definitively about a final fact set. 

And so I think, you know, we want to be respectful of that process, noting what I said earlier, that, sort of, you know, regular ongoing disclosures do raise some risks that information, as it develops, you know, you could look back and see that certain information was incomplete.  And, you know, we want to make sure that, you know, you all and the public are served with complete information to the best of our ability as part of this ongoing inquiry. 

And so, throughout this process, that’s sort of guided the thinking and the decision making, and we want to continue that going forward, you know, in close cooperation with the Justice Department. 

Let’s go to Peter Alexander at NBC.

Q    Hi there, Ian.  Thanks for holding this call.  A couple of quick questions.  Can you — well, first of all, will there be any additional searches here or any more documents found?  Or are the documents at this point that have been discovered, is that the end of it? 

And then can you help us better understand: Did the White House initiate the additional searches after November 2nd, or the Justice Department?  Did the Justice Department asked the White House to do those checks? 

And then the final, just to punctuate it, is: Has anyone in the administration, outside of the DOJ, to the best of the White House’s knowledge, been briefed on the contents of the documents?  Thanks.

MR. SAMS:  Thank you.  I appreciate that.  I was channeling the President and jotting down your multipart question.

So, on some of these questions, I’m going to need to refer you to the Justice Department and to the personal attorney.  You know, these are the kinds of specific questions about details of the ongoing investigation that we want to be very careful to respect the integrity of that process. 

So, you know, in terms of your first question, you know, we’re in close coordination and cooperation with the Justice Department and the Special Counsel — the President’s personal attorneys are, I should say — about next steps.  And so I would refer you there. 

And additionally, on the question of the search procedures and protocols, you know, the President’s personal attorney put out a long statement explaining the facts and information about that on Saturday.  So I would point you to that for the latest on the process and protocols for determining how to do this. 

And then, on the third question about others in the administration, I’d refer you to DOJ on that.  You know, they’re managing the investigation, and those decisions would be made by them as part of the independent investigation. 

Let’s go to Sabrina Siddiqui.

Q    Hey.  Thank you so much for doing this call.  You keep going back to this point of trying to balance transparency with the integrity of the investigation.  Are there specific things that the Special Counsel or the Justice Department has told the White House not to speak publicly about?  Can you just kind of explain more clearly what some of the constraints are that you’re operating under?  And what is it then that you are able to disclose publicly as you try to be more transparent?

And then also, would the President sit for an interview with the Special Counsel if he is asked to?  Thank you.

MR. SAMS:  Thanks, Sabrina.  Appreciate that.  So on the latter question, you know, that’s — you know, we’re not going to get ahead of that process with the Special Counsel and speculate on what they may or may not want or ask for.  And so I’m just not going to comment on that at this time and would refer you over to DOJ on their process and their thinking in terms of how to conduct their own investigation. 

Can you actually repeat your first question again?  I apologize.  I did not write the notes down, which now I am learning I should do. 

Q    Yeah.  I mean, you just keep going back to this point of trying to balance the integrity of the investigation with transparency.  So can you just be more clear on what the constraints are that the White House is facing when it comes to transparency?  Are there specific things that the Special Counsel or the Justice Department has told you not to talk about?  And then, therefore, what is it that you can actually share as this investigation unfolds?

MR. SAMS:  Sure.  Thanks so much.  So I’m not going to characterize, you know, conversations between DOJ and the President’s attorneys right now.  I don’t think that’s appropriate. 

But I will — you know, I will say, again, you know, when you’re considering the release of public information that is part of an ongoing review by the Justice Department, you know, there’s a lot of factors to take into the — into the equation.  And, you know, I mentioned this before: the risk that exists by, you know, regularly disclosing partial information as an investigation is ongoing — you know, an investigation — especially one where the subject of the investigation is being fully cooperative. 

You know, the investigation may uncover additional information.  It may, you know, reveal additional facts.  It may determine specific, you know, fact patterns, the kinds of things that I know you guys are all really interested in asking about, about the underlying issue here.

But when you are releasing, you know, impartial or periodic information, you know, you run the risk that that’s not complete, and you run the risk that the public isn’t served by incomplete information at times.

And so, you know, we understand that there’s a tension here, and we’ve been trying to, you know, balance that tension while being totally cooperative with the Justice Department.  And, you know, I think we’re going to continue to try to strike that balance going forward as the Special Counsel, you know, runs the process of investigation and we openly cooperate with him in that matter.

Let’s go MJ.

Q    Hey, can you hear me?

MR. SAMS:  I gotcha.

Q    Hey, thanks.  One first question for you.  And I have a second one.

What led to President Biden’s personal lawyer or lawyers coming across classified documents at the Penn Biden Center on November 2nd?  I guess we’re just trying to understand what they were doing there in the first place.  Were they specifically searching for documents?  Or were they just trying to vacate the office and just happened to come across those documents? 

And if it’s the latter, we’d love to know why lawyers were involved in packing up boxes.  I’m also just hoping that you can answer this question, given that it has to do with events that happened before a DOJ review was triggered.

And then I have a second question.

MR. SAMS:  Go ahead with your second one.  I’m writing it down.

Q    Yeah, can you shed some light on how exactly — who would search these locations, how those people were selected?  Since classified material was discovered on November 2nd, why were Biden lawyers who do not have security clearances involved in subsequent searches?

MR. SAMS:  Thanks for those.  I appreciate it.

So, on the first question, you know, that was addressed in the initial statement.  The — the President’s personal lawyers were — were basically cleaning out the office to prepare to vacate it when they came across this.

I mean, I think it’s important to note, you know, this is the President of the United States, and these are personal materials.  And he — you know, his trusted aides were — were doing the work of cleaning out the office.  And so I think that that’s self-explanatory, and I’ll point you back to the statement that was released explaining why these were come across in the first place.

And on the second question, you know, in terms of who and how the searches were conducted, you know, I’d point you, again, to the statement that Bob Bauer released on Saturday.  These are, you know, all part of an ongoing process of cooperating and coordinating with the Justice Department.  So I would refer you to that statement and to the Department in terms of how those searches and reviews were conducted.

Jeff Mason.

Q    Thanks, Ian.  Can you clarify for us how many documents we’re talking about?  There have been reports about fewer than a dozen at the beginning.  We’ve had numbers on the latest statements.  Just so that we’re all using the same figure, can you say?  Is it — is it roughly 20?

And my second question, which I presume you won’t be able to answer but I’m going to ask anyway, is: Can you give us any sense at all of what is in the materials?  Because it’s certainly possible that it’s — it’s schedules or something that may have been classified six years ago that doesn’t really matter now.  On the other hand, it could also be the things that Republicans are beginning to raise questions about, if it’s related to Hunter.  Are you able to say anything about that at this time?

MR. SAMS:  Thanks, Jeff.  I appreciate that.  And so I actually think this question gets at the heart of what we’ve been talking about here.  You know, as soon as these records were identified, they were immediately handed over to the proper authorities.  And so, in terms of contents, in terms of numbers, in terms of the specifics related to the materials itself, you know, we just can’t address that because these have been handed over to the proper authorities.  And these will be part of the ongoing investigation by the Justice Department.

And so when it comes to, sort of, those level of facts, you know, we may not know exact numbers, exact contents, et cetera, because they’ve immediately been handed over to the Justice Department, which is part of the process that the President instructed his lawyers to do at the very beginning — of total cooperation, doing this by the book, doing this the right way, and being totally cooperative with DOJ.

You know, the President’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, put out a statement on Saturday that does go through, sort of, their protocols and processes here of how they’ve done it.  So I would obviously encourage you to, you know, take a look at that and ensure you’re, you know, reading it thoroughly and carefully in terms of these sorts of specific questions about the process.

But I think it’s important to note that some of these questions, you know, they are underlying facts that we would refer you to the Justice Department to answer.  But some of the reason we also can’t is because, you know, we did this in accordance with the proper protocols of handing the materials over to the proper authorities immediately.

And so, I understand the question.  I know that this is one you’ve been asking.  But I just hope that explains, you know, why I can’t give you, you know, an exact answer. 

Let’s go to Brooke Singman at Fox.

Q    Hey, Ian.  Thank you so much.  Does the White House think it was necessary for the Attorney General to appoint a Special Counsel for this matter, given the President and his legal team’s cooperation with the review?

MR. SAMS:  Thanks for that.  So, you know, we put out a statement after the Attorney General named a Special Counsel.  Certainly, this is a decision for the Attorney General to make independently.  And we were — you know, we were made aware by his announcement that this was done.  You know, and we are committed to fully cooperating with the Special Counsel, you know, consistent with these principles that I’ve talked about in this call.

You know, the President — you know, after the last administration, the President ran on and took very seriously restoring the strength and independence of the Justice Department.  And part of restoring the strength and independence of the Justice Department is ensuring that the Attorney General has the independence to make these sorts of decisions. 

And so, again, the Attorney General, as he announced last week, made these — made this decision.  And the President’s team, the President, and the President’s personal lawyers are going to be fully cooperative throughout this process with the department and with the Special Counsel. 

I have time for a couple more.  Let’s do Franco.

Franco, are you there?

Q    How about now?  Sorry about that. 

MR. SAMS:  Yeah, I got you now. 

Q    Wonderful.  Thanks so much for doing this.  I wanted to ask, related to an earlier question about the Wednesday search: Why wasn’t a lawyer with security clearance part of that search?  Is that, you know, a matter of a billing issue, you know, not being on White House duty? 

A second question I wanted to ask was: Between Thursday and Saturday, what changed between finding the one document — or releasing information about the one document discovered on Wednesday, and, Saturday, when discussing the five additional documents?  I certainly can understand not wanting to give incomplete information and things develop.  But it’s such a short period of time.  There was no additional DOJ announcement.  I was just curious, is there something you can point to specifically about that release of information and why that wasn’t originally disclosed earlier? 

And finally, just related to Peter’s earlier question: Considering that the investigation is ongoing, I mean, should we not be surprised if more — if more classified documents are revealed?

MR. SAMS:  Thanks.  Sorry, I was jotting down your note — your questions.  So in terms of the process — to your first question — in terms of the process of the search, you know, again, I’d point you to the long explanation released both by the personal lawyer and by the White House Counsel’s Office about the nature of those and the processes and protocols that they were following. 

On your second question, in terms of the release, you know, I think you saw on Saturday with the President’s personal attorney statement — which was very thorough, very long — you know, the statement from the White House Counsel’s Office explaining, clarifying sort of the statement that had been put out on Thursday morning.  You know, we wanted to ensure that you all had a comprehensive set of information, and we thought it was very important to do that on Saturday, when those were released.  Obviously, the President’s personal attorney making the decision to do their information, us making sure we were giving a thorough amount of information to you all to explain and clarify the earlier statement. 

And then, on your last question, in terms of the future of this, you know, I would say these are going to be decisions that are up to the Special Counsel for how to conduct their own investigation.  We are fully cooperating with that process.  The President is fully cooperating with that process. 

You know, as we’ve said over and over again, you know, the direction was to be fully cooperative with this process, and we’re going to do that.  As part of that, you know, I don’t want to get ahead of, you know, investigative decision making that’s being done by the department.  That’s very — that’s a — that’s independent decisions that they can make in consultation, you know, with the President’s legal team as appropriate.  And so I don’t want to get ahead of that and would point you to that. 

I know that there’s another call at 1:15 on another issue, so I think that we’re going to wrap this up.  Thank you, guys, all for taking the time to do this. 

You know, again, happy to take your questions.  You guys know where to find me.  If you need additional stuff, feel free to give me a call.  And really appreciate you joining us today.

1:13 P.M. EST

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