White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre opened the door to questions of Joe Biden coordinating with first son Hunter Biden in Hunter’s defiance of a Congressional subpoena to provide testimony in a closed-door deposition on Wednesday. KJP told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing, “The President was familiar with what Hunter was going to say today.”
Hunter read a statement to reporters Wednesday morning on the Senate side of the grounds of the Capitol. Hunter attacked Republicans and ran interference for Joe, saying, “My father was not financially involved in my business.” Hunter later repeated the line, adding, “Because it did not happen.”
Wednesday afternoon at the White House, KJP stunned reporters by acknowledging for the first time Joe Biden being involved with Hunter’s legal troubles, saying several times that he was “familiar with what Hunter was going to say today.”
CBS News White House reporter Ed O’Keefe spoke about the change in White House strategy, saying, “this was one of those ‘things that make you go ‘hmmm’ moments” that is going to lead to more questioning by reporters and Congress.
Fox News White House reporter Peter Doocy said, “The wall that has been up between them to protect President Biden has been breached”:
Excerpts from the White House transcript of Wednesday’s briefing by Karine Jean Pierre:
Q And amid everything else today, did he spend any time watching what his son had to say outside the Capitol?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple — just a couple of things on that. And I want to be really clear. Look, as you know, Hunter Biden is a private citizen. And so, I certainly would refer you to his representatives.
Look, you know, the President was certainly familiar with what his son was going to say. And I think what you saw was from the heart from his son. And you’ve heard — you’ve heard me say this; you’ve heard the President say this: When it comes to the President and the First Lady, they are proud of him continuing to rebuild his life. They are proud of their son…
Q Thank you, though. Is the President okay with his son defying a congressional subpoena?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to get into — into specifics on that. I would have to re- — would have to refer you to the President’s — not the President, but Hunter’s personal — personal representatives. He is a private citizen, so I’m just not going to get into it.
Q Can you tell us when the last time the two of them spoke?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I’m also not going to get into private conversation that the President has with his family. We’ve been pretty consistent. That’s nothing new. We’re just not going to get into it from here.
Go ahead, Rob. I haven’t called you in a while. Go ahead.
Q No, you haven’t. (Laughter.) Thank you very much.
You just said the President was familiar with what his son was going to say today. Was the President involved in drafting it, discussing it? Did he offer advice? What did you mean by “familiar”?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything else to add. He was familiar. I don’t have anything else to add.
Q Okay. And you — you were asked what the President — what his stance was on people who defy congressional subpoenas. In 2021, he was asked that question specifically and said that he believed the Justice Department should prosecute them. Is that his — still his position (inaudible) —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to add to what you have — what you just quoted me from the President. I just don’t have anything to add.
Q Thank you. Thanks, Karine. You said that President Biden was familiar with what his son was going to say on Capitol Hill. If I called my dad and said, “I am about to violate a congressional subpoena,” he would probably say, “Son, you shouldn’t do that.” Was there any attempt by President Biden to talk Hunter out of it today?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re going to call your dad “Steve”?
Q I call him “Dad” usually. (Laughter.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I don’t have anything else to add. The President was familiar with what Hunter was going to say today. And, you know — look, he’s proud of his son. He and the First Lady are proud of his son, how he’s rebuilding his life back. He’s going to focus on what is needed on the American people.
Hunter — and I’ve said this many times — is a private citizen. And so, certainly, I would have to refer you to — to his representatives.
I’m just not going to get into private conversations, because what you’re asking me is actually a private conversation. I’m just not going to get into it.
Q Okay. The first briefing since Hunter was indicted again in Los Angeles. Why doesn’t President Biden just pardon him?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President — I’ve been very clear — the President is not going to pardon his son.