We've Seen This Kind of Denial From the White House Before

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The day after the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, the White House insisted that Joe Biden didn’t know anything about it.

“The President was not briefed, did not — was not aware of it. No. No one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted Tuesday.

“Look, I’ll say this,” she added. “You know, the President and the White House learned about this FBI search from public reports. We learned, just like the American public did yesterday, and we did not have advance notice of this activity.”

Jean-Pierre echoed this line on Sunday.

Related: Damage Control: Karine Jean-Pierre Denies FBI Raid Was Politicized

That was when the red flags started flying for me. Even if you ignore the obvious—that such a consequential raid would have had to be vetted at the highest levels of the administration—the Biden White House talking points on the raid on Trump’s house echoed those used by Barack Obama whenever he or his administration denied knowledge of his various scandals.

In 2011, Barack Obama distanced himself from the Fast & Furious scandal by claiming he heard about it on the news.

“I heard on the news about this story, that, uh, Fast and Furious.”

When the IRS was weaponized against conservative and Tea Party groups, Barack Obama also sought to distance himself from the scandal by claiming he found out about it through the media.

“When did you first learn that the IRS was targeting conservative political groups?” a reporter asked him.

“I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this,” Obama replied.

In May of 2013, when it was revealed that the Obama administration had spied on AP journalists, Obama’s White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed, “We don’t have any independent knowledge of that, [President Obama] found out about the news reports, uh, yesterday on the road.”

Speaking of spying, Obama also claimed to have had no idea his administration was spying on foreign leaders…until it was reported in the media. “I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the I.G. report before the [Inspector General] report had been leaked through the press.”

Are you noticing a pattern here? Well, I’m not done.

In the wake of the Veterans Affairs waiting list scandal, which broke in 2014, the Obama White House quickly distanced itself from the scandal. This, despite the Obama-Biden administration promising to end the horrendous backlog in V.A. benefits claims.

“You mean the specific allegations that I think were reported first by your news network out of Phoenix, I believe. We learned about them through the reports. I will double check if that is not the case. But that is when we learned about them and that is when I understand [V.A.] Secretary Shinseki learned about them, and he immediately took the action that he has taken,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Obama also made the same claim about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. After that story broke, Obama told CBS News that he found out “the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.” However, evidence shows that Obama knew about the private email server and exchanged emails with Clinton through her private account. Despite Obama’s claim that he only found out about the email server through the media, documents released through a FOIA request show he knew about the private server as early as December, 2012, and that the Obama White House tried to cover it up.

Now we have the Biden White House using the same “we found out about it through the media” talking point, and we’re expected to believe it? I certainly don’t, and neither should you.


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