Let me be clear. When White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says, “No,” she means, “No.” Well, for now, anyway.
On Friday, Jean-Pierre was asked again about whether President Joe Biden would pardon his son, Hunter, or commute his sentence, were he to be convicted of the federal gun charges filed against him in the indictment filed by Special Counsel David Weiss on Thursday. Jean-Pierre gave a categorical, unequivocal no. (Which is how you know there’s more to the story.)
Asked during the daily briefing if the president would pardon or commute his son’s sentence if he gets convicted on the gun charges against him, Jean-Pierre told reporters he would not. It’s the first time the White House has explicitly said a potential pardon is not on the table following Hunter Biden’s indictment this week.
In her response, Jean-Pierre noted that she answered a similar question after the president’s son was first hit with a felony gun charge.
“I’ve answered this question before. It was asked of me not too long ago, a couple of weeks ago, and I was very clear, and I said no,” she said, referring to previous comments from the podium.
If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, it’s because — believe it or not — Jean-Pierre is right. She has answered this question before — though it was more than a couple of weeks ago. The initial exchange occurred on July 27, the day after Hunter’s original sweetheart plea deal got scuttled.
Our Bob Hoge reported on it at the time:
As we reported, a sweetheart plea deal Hunter’s lawyers had negotiated with the Department of Justice exploded spectacularly Wednesday when the judge raised questions about the blanket immunity Hunter would receive.
Fox News reporter Mark Meredith asked if the president would consider intervening:
MEREDITH: I know you said not a lot has changed since yesterday and that it’s a personal matter, but from a presidential perspective, is there any possibility that the President would end up pardoning his son?
MEDEDITH: [Tries to pose a follow-up question, she cuts him off.]
KJP: I just said no—I just answered. [Points to another reporter.] Go ahead, go ahead.
So, how do we know there’s more to the story? Because I can’t think of another answer Jean-Pierre has given from the podium that was that clear and direct. Not one.
Granted, I’ve not watched every single daily briefing. But I’ve certainly edited (and read) enough of them to get a flavor of how she normally responds when questioned:
KJP Goes Full Metal Biden, Butchers Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Name and Lies About GOP Debt Ceiling Plan
WH Can’t Keep Their Stories Straight, Get Busted on Lies as They Announce Troops to Border
Karine Jean-Pierre Has a Snit Fit When Asked About Durham Report, Abruptly Leaves Podium
Karine Jean-Pierre Showered With Receipts After Blatant Lie on Biden and the Debt Ceiling
Karine Jean-Pierre Flounders While Addressing the Topless Trans Incident at the White House
(I could go on, but I think you get the point.)
So, why would Jean-Pierre, who’s seemingly never met a question she can’t dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge in spectacular fashion, so succinctly and directly answer a question on such a thorny topic? Could it be because Joe Biden has drawn a line in the sand and vowed finally to employ some tough love and hang the son attached to his hip out to dry?
No — I don’t think that’s it at all. I think the reason that Jean-Pierre can answer that particular question so definitively is because there’s literally no downside to having it prove untrue down the road. If we’re at the point where Hunter has been convicted and Joe is faced with the prospect of pardoning him, I predict Joe will pardon him without batting an eye…on his way out the door.
(At which point, Jean-Pierre won’t have to answer for him — or her spinning for him — anymore.)