The White House batted away new lines of questioning Thursday about cocaine discovered at the White House – with a spokesman invoking the Hatch Act to avoid giving a direct answer to a charge leveled by Donald Trump.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates was asked about ‘pretty wild’ posts by the former president, who claimed cocaine discovered at the White House Sunday belonged to the president or his son Hunter, who has acknowledged illegal drug use in the past but says he is clean now.
‘I don’t have a response to that because we have to be careful about the Hatch Act,’ Bates responded, invoking the law barring politicking by government officials during their official duties. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has regularly used the law as a crutch during briefings, but recently got her own warning about running afoul of its intricacies from the Office of Special Counsel.
Then, Bates tried to turn the tables and use Trump’s cocaine attack to land a blow on the former president.
Former President Donald Trump said the cocaine discovered at the White House belonged to the president and his son Hunter in a rambling post that also called special counsel Jack Smith a crackhead
‘What I will say is that I have noticed there does seem to be some increasing frustration coming from that corner in general. And I think it is probably rooted in the contrast between their substantive policy records,’ he said.
He touted job growth in manufacturing and infrastructure investments, which Biden plans to tout on a trip to South Carolina Thursday.
He said ‘infrastructure is no longer a punch line’ in reference to the Trump-era ‘infrastructure weeks.’
‘We have doubled the construction of manufacturing facilities in just two and a half years, whereas during the previous administration, it only grew at an anemic 2 per cent,’ said Bates.
The effort to shift the terrain was one of several times he failed to provide new information when asked about the stunning cocaine discovery.
He repeatedly referenced an ongoing Secret Service investigation, including when asked if the White House would admit to being transparent once a probe is concluded.
Former President Donald Trump said in a rambling Truth Social post on Wednesday that the cocaine found in the White House belonged to both President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who has acknowledged struggling with addiction. The White House referenced the Hatch Act when asked about the charge
White House spokesman Andrew Bates fielded questions about the cocaine discovery on Thursday
The story of the discovery of cocaine at the White House continued to follow the president as he traveled to South Carolina to tout infrastructure investments and job gains
‘I’m going to defer to the secret service professionals who are carrying this out,’ he said.
Nor would he directly answer a question about whether the Secret Service was conducting DNA testing or whether the substance that tested positive as cocaine was found in a small baggie.
‘I respect his interest in this to be transparent with you. I do not have additional information to provide beyond what [Jean-Pierre] laid out in the briefing room yesterday, which is this is something we take seriously. The law enforcement professionals in the Secret Service are investigating after the substance was discovered in a highly traveled area. We’re willing to assist in any way needed. Beyond that I’m going to respect their process,’ he said.
During her Wednesday briefing, Jean-Pierre stressed that Biden and family members were away at Camp David Friday through Sunday, and stressed the number of people who had access to the area where the substance was discovered.
The former president also suggested that the drugs could belong to ‘crackhead’ Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.
Trump also claimed in his post to Truth Social on Wednesday that the media will try to downplay the discovery of drugs in the White House by denying laboratory results.
Secondary lab results on Wednesday concluded that the white powder substance found at the White House on Sunday evening is cocaine following preliminary testing that yielded the same findings.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service continues to hunt down who brought the dime-sized bag of illicit drugs onto the White House premises.
The mystery of cocaine discovered in the White House is still unsolved as USSS searched for who brought the illicit drug onto the property. Pictured: President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Hunter Biden and son Beau, three, watch fireworks from the White House Truman Balcony on Tuesday, July 4, 2023
‘Does anybody really believe that the COCAINE found in the West Wing of the White House, very close to the Oval Office, is for the use of anyone other than Hunter & Joe Biden,’ Trump said in his post on the incident.
Her added: ‘But watch, the Fake News Media will soon start saying that the amount found was ‘very small,’ & it wasn’t really COCAINE, but rather common ground up Aspirin, & the story will vanish.’
Trump then changed tune to stop going for the Bidens and instead focus his energy in the second part of his Truth Social post on the DOJ special counsel.
‘Has Deranged Jack Smith, the crazy, Trump hating Special Prosecutor, been seen in the area of the COCAINE?’ Trump questioned. ‘He looks like a crackhead to me!’
U.S. Secret Service (USSS) declined to comment on the ongoing investigation to DailyMail.com on Wednesday, but doubled-down that the white powder was found in a ‘work area within the West Wing’ of the White House.
The cocaine was discovered in a small, zippered bag in a storage facility area of the West Wing. The timeline, however, is blurry – as it’s unclear how long the bag and its contents were at the White House.
A source familiar with the investigation said Tuesday that considering the substance was found in a highly trafficked area of the White House, it could be difficult to track down the culprit responsible for bringing it into the building.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also speculated during her press briefing Wednesday that the drug could belong to a number of people since the West Wing is so ‘highly traveled.’
Some Republican lawmakers and conservative trolls immediately suggested that Biden’s son Hunter, 52, who has acknowledged struggling with drug addiction, was the source.
A uniformed Secret Service agent found a white powder substance on Sunday evening. The discovery led to an evacuation of the White House – President Joe Biden was not on premise at the time.
Hunter Biden is a recovering addict and was a user of crack cocaine. He maintained that he is sober and on the road to recovery
HAZMAT crew gather behind the gates of the White House outside the entrance to the West Wing on Sunday evening during a brief evacuation following discovery of cocaine. Since then, conflicting reports have emerged on where exactly the white powder was found
Washington DC Fire Department dispatch calls indicated the powder was found in the ‘library,’ which is part of the executive residence two floors below the first family’s living quarters, but is also a room open to public tours.
USSS later released a statement, however, contradicting that dispatch. It said that the cocaine was found in a ‘work area’ in the White House West Wing.
The illicit drug was found in a common area storage facility cubby where White House staff and guests regularly store their cell phones.
Additionally, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation said that the substance was found in a ‘small, dime-sized bag,’ according to NBC.
Rather than the focus turning to the usual pomp and circumstance of the Independence Day celebrations at the White House, the first family was engulfed in scandal as the Secret Service investigated the cocaine incident.
The White House has remained silent on the shocking discovery that forced an evacuation while the president was in Camp David with his recovering drug addict son Hunter Biden.
The mystery of the cocaine deepened Tuesday afternoon when Secret Service officials said it was found in the West Wing – an area used by members of the Biden administration, White House staff and hundreds of journalists.
The West Wing is the activity center for the White House.
Confusion ensued over where the illicit substance was found. A dispatch from DC’s Fire Department states to ‘bag up’ the powder in the ‘library’ – but a source with the Secret Service told DailyMail.com that the cocaine was found in a ‘West Wing work area’. Now a new report says it was in a ‘dime-sized bag’ in a ‘storage facility cubby’
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden’s Independence Day celebration at the White House Tuesday was overshadowed after Secret Service found cocaine inside the property
Hunter Biden (left) and wife Melissa Cohen (right) were spotted at the White House’s Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn Tuesday evening
It includes the Oval Office, offices for the president’s executive staff, Cabinet Room, Roosevelt Room and the press briefing room where dozens of members of the White House press corps gather for work every day.
Both career and political White House staff traverse the West Wing on a daily basis.
The sheer number of individuals in that space daily spans all the way up to the president’s closest advisers down to cleaning and maintenance staff.
Following initial reports that the white powder substance was found in the library and was confirmed as cocaine, trolls began to speculate that Hunter Biden was the source of the illicit drug making it onto White House grounds.
The White House library, however, is located in the executive residence and is part of the tour where members of the public regularly walk through. It is also two floors below the first family’s living quarters.
Hunter, wife Melissa Cohen and their son Beau, three, joined the Fourth of July celebrations on the South Lawn on Tuesday evening despite rumors circulating of the cocaine’s source.
Conservative trolls suggested Hunter Biden is the source of the cocaine. The president’s addict son was at the White House Friday before departing for Camp David and returned on Tuesday for Independence Day on the South Lawn. Pictured: Hunter arrived at Fort McNair before heading to the White House with son Beau, 3, in tow
Snoop Dog: The rapper known for his love and frequent use of ganja said in July 2014 that the year prior he smoked weed in a White House bathroom.
Willie Nelson: Musician said he rolled and smoked a joint on the White House roof when Jimmy Carter was president. He said he ‘should have been’ afraid of getting caught, but wasn’t at the time.
Gary McLain: The former collegiate basketball player for Villanova said he was ‘wired on cocaine’ when meeting President Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden after his team won the NCAA title. McLain wrote in Sports Illustrated more than a decade ago: ‘The cocaine had me floating in my own private world…I was standing a couple of feet behind [Reagan], looking in his hair, thinking… thoughts like, I could push him in the head, just a little tap, and make news across the world. That’s how high I was.”
Erkan Mustafa: British actor smoked weed in the White House while visiting the U.S. to promote then-First Lady Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ initiative. Mustafa claimed in a 1998 report he and others from hit British TV show Grange Hill smoked marijuana and bumped cocaine in the White House when they were flown to D.C. to promote the anti-drug campaign.
Honorable Mention – Grace Slick: The musician and painter intended – but failed – to spike Richard Nixon’s tea with acid. She detailed in a 2011 interview that she was invited to the White House by First Lady Tricia Nixon and planned to spike his tea but wasn’t let into the premises due to a mix-up with her last name.
The discovery of the cocaine came two days after Hunter was last seen at the White House as he headed to Camp David with his father for the long holiday weekend.
Mystery has ensued over who brought cocaine into the White House and the Secret Service is still investigating the matter and has sent the substance for additional testing.
‘On Sunday evening, the White House complex went into a precautionary closure as officers from the Secret Service Uniformed Division investigated an unknown item found inside a work area,’ reads a USSS statement provided to DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
‘The DC Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous,’ it continues. ‘The item was sent for further evaluation and an investigation into the cause and manner of how it entered the White House is pending.’
Pro-Trump Republican Rep. Jim Banks tweeted: ‘They never found cocaine in the Trump White House!’
‘The Bidens are unfit to live in the White House!’ he wrote in a follow-up tweet with a link to a story on the cocaine found in the mansion.
Meanwhile, far-right Newsmax host Robb Schmitt said during a report on the cocaine discovery: ‘It wouldn’t be a thumpin’ July 4th weekend without Hunter Biden ripping lines off of a bust of Teddy Roosevelt.’
‘Cocaine was found at the White House and Hunter Biden currently lives at the White House. FBI has no clue who it belongs to. Anyone want to help them?’ a Twitter journalist with nearly 200k followers wrote.
The D.C. fire department team that responded to the call determined the substance did not pose a threat – and the recording of a dispatch from the fire crew confirmed testing found it was cocaine.
‘We have a yellow bar saying cocaine hydrochloride,’ a firefighter with the D.C. department of hazardous materials radioed at 8:49 on Sunday, according to the Post.
‘Bag it up and take it out,’ the firefighter instructed.
Hunter Biden and wife Melissa Cohen arrived back in DC with son Beau Biden IV after spending the weekend at Camp David with President Biden
A dispatch call from a Washington DC firefighter on Sunday, July 2 that was reviewed by DailyMail.com notes the substance was found in the White House library (above). The firefighter instructed the team to ‘bag it up and take it out’ after a test confirmed it was cocaine
Officials with USSS insist that the cocaine was found in a ‘West Wing work area’ – and not the library of the executive mansion. Pictured: The West Wing Lobby of the White House
Some Republicans on Twitter are questioning whether the cocaine really did come from Hunter – noting possible other sources.
‘I am not ruling out possible members of the White House press,’ conservative radio host Mark Levin tweeted in response to the discovery of cocaine.
Matt Wallace, who has 1.1 million followers asserted: ‘The Cocaine found at the White House is not from Hunter Biden.’
‘The real story is actually much worse than that! Many of Joe Biden’s Top Staff regularly use Cocaine and other Hardcore Drugs. The cleaning crews are tasked with hiding all traces but this weekend was especially bad!’
Hunter Biden, who is known to struggle with substance abuse, was at the White House on Friday before departing with his father to Camp David for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Conservatives are speculating that the president’s addict son was the source of the discovered cocaine. Pictured: Hunter, 52, walks with his father on Friday as they departed for Camp David
The president and his son maintain that he has kicked his addiction.
Most recently, the younger Biden reached a plea deal with Justice Department prosecutors to avoid jail time after lying on a federal form to purchase a firearm. He checked a box claiming that he did not use and was not addicted to illegal substances – a fact that would disqualify him from buying the gun.
The form contradicting the timelines and claims made in Hunter Biden’s own memoir.
Biden critics and conservative decried Hunter’s plea deal, claiming that anyone other than the president’s son would receive jail time for the same offense.
The deal also saw Hunter plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors.