ABC’s Biden Apple Polisher, WH Hack Team Up to Trash ‘Partisan Player’, ‘Political’ Hur

March 13th, 2024 1:16 PM

Following the conclusion of Tuesday’s marathon House hearing featuring former Special Counsel Robert Hur taking heat over his report about President Biden’s handling of classified information, White House Counsel’s Office spokesman Ian Sams went outside to a driveway outside the West Wing to take questions from reporters. Some were tough and pertinent, but others shilled, including ABC’s chief Biden apple polisher Mary Bruce.

Bruce, whose formal title is chief White House correspondent, led off the Q&A with this hacktastic softball: “Does the White House believe that Robert Hur is acting as a partisan player?”

Having had the ball placed on the tee, Sams boasted the hearing “laid bare that the special counsel, was — as you mentioned, was a Trump appointee, made some inappropriate comments about the President in his report that do not match up with the transcript...every American can see.”

Sams kept things moving and didn’t answer Bruce’s second question, but she asked it anyway: “But do you think he has a political agenda?”

Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich had the opposite approach and thus behaved like an actual reporter: “What is — what the position that you’re trying to make? That there was no wrongdoing by the President?”

Like with many questions asked by Heinrich or her colleague Peter Doocy, Sams asked her to explain more, which boiled down to wondering how he could say “there was no wrongdoing in claiming that the case is closed” when Hur explained he declined prosecution out of concern for how Biden “might be perceived by a jury.”

Some rambling later about American being defined by a “presumption of innocence”, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez and the AP’s Seung Min Kim called out Biden lying about Hur having brought up Beau’s death while CNN’s M.J. Lee went soft ans asked what the White House wants Americans to think about this whole hubbub (click “expand”):

GUTIERREZ: Why — why did the President say that it was Robert Hur who brought up his son’s death when the transcript shows otherwise?

SAMS: Well, the transcript clearly shows that the President was being asked by the special counsel about the book that he wrote about his son’s unfortunate and untimely passing, and the grief and the pain that he felt and how he moved through that to try to find new purpose for the first time out of office, leaving office in 45 years....So, anybody who’s familiar with this President’s powerful story, emotional story of overcoming that loss and finding a new purpose and trying to keep going for the country, to try to save our democracy and move our country forward — anybody who’s familiar with that story from the President will understand that the President is going to talk about his son, Beau, and I think the transcript makes plainly clear, and I think the American people understand this. The President remembers exactly when his son died. He carries that pain with him every day. He carries that emotional toll with him every day, and the transcript only makes that clear.

LEE: You just heard Robert Burr, testifying for about five hours. Did the White House learn anything new from his testimony today, and I also just wanted to know: What do you think the American people should make up his safe and that he has not exonerated the President?

SAMS: Yeah. Thanks for that question. I think that the main — the main thing I took away from the hearing today was that we had three hours of the Republicans showing how hypocritical they’re willing to be in order to politically attack the President...The case is closed. The evidence did not support bringing charges and it’s over. It’s time to move on. And — and the question that you asked about him claiming that he didn’t exonerate the President. I mentioned this before. We have a presumption of innocence in this country....There is no case here. The President is innocent, and that was the conclusion of this case. [REPORTERS SHOUTING] [TO KIM] Seung Min.

KIM: I wanted to follow up on Gabe’s point. Because the president was pretty angry the night of the Hur report, saying, ‘how in the hell you raise that’ regarding the special counsel and his son’s death, and the transcript does show that Hur did not bring up Beau’s death specifically. So, does the President regret making that accusation?

SAMS: Look, the President was very, I think, emotional about the fact that this special counsel who, you know, has spent five hours with the President, used his report to make a patently false claim that the President somehow doesn’t remember when his son died...He thought it was outrageous and inappropriate for that report to include such an inappropriate and — and — and extraneous comment...I think that you saw the — the — the anger and — and emotional reaction of a father who still experiences the pain of that loss every single day, and I think that it’s not just us who have said it. It’s not just others who have said it. It’s former leadership of the Justice Department. Former attorney general, the former deputy attorney general who have said that exact comment being in that report was inappropriate and so, that’s what the President was reacting to.

In between process questions later from CBS’s Ed O’Keefe, Reuters’s Jeff Mason, and The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas, USA Today’s Joey Garrison playing Captain Obvious: “Going back to the exoneration question, is it fair to say that the White House disagrees with Robert Hur and the report, in fact, did exonerate President Biden?”

Heinrich came back around again for round two of trying to suss out what, put simply, is Sams’s deal and what’s been the whole point of this gaggle (click “expand”):

HEINRICH: I wanted to clarify your answer to me and a couple others. So, you’re saying that the President — you’re — you’re admitting to some wrongdoing, but he’s innocent of charges.

SAMS: No. There’s no admission to that.

HEINRICH: — well, there’s some wrongdoing in the sense that you would make changes here to make sure this doesn’t happen again. But you just said he is innocent in an answer to one of us and then you, when you were talking about the exoneration, made the claim that, you know, the case is closed. So, what — what is the bottomline on [inaudible]?

SAMS: Yeah, the bottomline is the case is closed. A prosecutor spent 15 months investigating whether the President committed anything that rises to the level of a chargeable offense. He decided, clearly and easily, that that was not the case, that the evidence does not support that and he was not going to bring a case. The case is now closed. As I mentioned earlier, in America, we have a presumption of innocence. The whole point of this exercise is to decide whether that should be put into question. When the decision is made that the case is over and the President has been fully cleared, it’s over. You — you bring up the sort of systemic issue of the sort of accidental removal of classified documents from government property. This has been something that’s plagued the country going back 50 years. You know, every administration — Democrat, Republican — going all the way back to 50 years have accidentally had, you know, senior officials, staff, otherwise, take classified documents. The President takes that very seriously. Obviously, you saw that with his cooperation with this investigation. As soon as something was found, he turned it all back in and he’s going to do something about it. He’s going to make sure that — that we have recommendations from a taskforce of experts who’ve handled transitions, who’ve dealt with classified information who can make a recommendation for how to make sure that these sort of accidents don’t keep happening. We saw it with Vice President Pence — right — before we this investigation of the President begin. And so, you know, we want to make sure that we’re doing something about it. It — it — you know — it — mistakes can happen. And so, there’s — and it’s important that everybody, you know, work toward the common goal of protecting our national security information. And so, that’s exactly what the President is going to do.

Sams tried to have Gray TV’s Jon Decker’s softball question be the last query as he thanked Decker because it allowed him to clear up “a big misconception with the report and the way it was presented”, but EWTN’s Owen Jensen shouted to Sam about whether he regrets having penned a letter that attacked the press for how they covered the Hur report.

Of course, Sams had none, seeing as how only a stern letter was the extent of the hell raised by the White House press.

To see the relevant gaggle transcript from March 12, click here.