More Stonewalling: Psaki Refuses to Comment to Heinrich on Durham Investigation

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Two days after Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ducked questions from Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich about the bombshell filing in the John Durham investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, Heinrich posed the same questions to Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday and, not surprisingly, she received the same result.

Heinrich restated the filling in the criminal proceedings against Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann before wondering if the means of surveillance allegedly used against the Trump team are still in existence:

Durham says there was an outside company with ties to the Clinton camp monitoring serving data info on the Executive Office of the President through the Obama administration, possibly into the Trump administration. Do you know if there is still a system picking up server data on the EOP and if not, when it stopped? 

Psaki stuck to her talking points while acknowledging Heinrich tried to ask Jean-Pierre two days earlier: “Again, I know you asked my colleague a few questions about this the other day, but I would point you — any questions about this to the Department of Justice.”

Heinrich aptly tried again with the astute tactic of talking in a broader manner about whether such allegations, if true, are acceptable. Of course, Psaki wanted nothing to do with this:

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HEINRICH: And then, is what was described in the filing there monitoring internet traffic — is that generally speaking, would that be considered along the lines of spying?

PSAKI: Again, I would point you to the Department of Justice.

Earlier in the exchange, Heinrich focused on the Russia-Ukraine crisis and led with a question as to whether the U.S. believes “Putin could be bluffing” when it comes to an invasion and then if the U.S. caused Putin to blink thanks to “your efforts to put all this intelligence out about…what might happen next”

But most notable was this shrewd question about NATO spending as a way of tipping her cap to the Trump administration without uttering his name.

Psaki wasn’t going to bite and insisted Biden had long felt the same about NATO countries spending their required two percent on defense:

HEINRICH: And then has this whole standoff underscore the NATO allies spending two percent of their GDP toward defense? Is that something that the White House will be pressing in the future from our allies?

PSAKI: That’s something that the President pressed for when he was Vice President. 

To see the relevant briefing transcript from February 16, click “expand.”

White House press briefing (via FNC’s America Reports)
February 16, 2022
1:27 p.m. Eastern

JACQUI HEINRICH: Obviously, the invasion didn’t happen today. The Pentagon was eying as a possible date that some thought we could see some sort of action, some sort of invasion. Does the White House think that Putin could be bluffing?

JEN PSAKI: About what? 

HEINRICH: About his intention to —

PSAKI: Invade or not invade? 

HEINRICH: — well, either way. 

PSAKI: President Putin said he doesn’t intend to invade. We’ve also said he’s prepared — he’s prepared to do that, and has lined up troops at the border to — to invade. So I don’t think we are — we are waiting for President Putin’s comments to assess what is being prepared around the border. 

HEINRICH: Do you think that your efforts to put all this intelligence out about his — you know, what might happen next might have deterred something that we could have seen in the last 24 hours?

PSAKI: Well, that’s part of — has been part of our objective overall, Jacqui, right, is to make it more difficult for the Russians, for President Putin to — to lay a predicate for war, to — when our objective is to avoid war, prevent war. No, it’s ultimately up to President Putin to decide what steps he’s going to take, but putting out specific details about the type of false flag operations, efforts to push misinformation through Russian media, the types of tactics they’ve used in the past. That’s all a part of our effort to make it more difficult for them to use these tactics and keep the eyes of the global community open. 

HEINRICH: And then has this whole standoff underscore the NATO allies spending two percent of their GDP toward defense? Is that something that the White House will be pressing in the future from our allies?

PSAKI: That’s something that the President pressed for when he was Vice President. 

HEINRICH: And then can I ask about a second topic, the Durham investigation? Durham says there was an outside company with ties to the Clinton camp monitoring serving data info on the Executive Office of the President through the Obama administration, possibly into the Trump administration. Do you know if there is still a system picking up server data on the EOP and if not, when it stopped? 

PSAKI: Again, I know you asked my colleague a few questions about this the other day, but I would point you — any questions about this to the Department of Justice. 

HEINRICH: And then, is what was described in the filing there monitoring internet traffic — is that generally speaking, would that be considered along the lines of spying?

PSAKI: Again, I would point you to the Department of Justice.

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