Inside 5 days of a White House determined to maintain business as usual


On the first day of the special counsel’s investigation, the White House sought to maintain a business-as-usual attitude, emphasizing what had become a central target in the uncertain and potentially dangerous new reality.

President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House, fulfilling a private pledge made two months ago, and yells at him about investigating classified documents found in his home and old private office. ignored the question and smiled.

The unfolding of carefully choreographed warnings and statements from the Treasury Department, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, and the White House – laying the groundwork for a looming battle with House Republicans over the need to raise the debt ceiling in the coming months. Designed to build – went as planned.

Top Advisors implemented weekly plans and strategies with external allies as scheduled.

A small group of Biden aides and lawyers inside and outside the administration quietly engaged in a focused effort to navigate the legal, political, and messaging issues that have been jarringly pushed to the forefront in the past few days. As a result, most within the West Wing had little to no involvement and were trying to focus on one thing. Normality.

On the Capitol, Democrats vacillate between a public defense of Biden and the personal affliction of post-traumatic stress associated with another top Democrat dealing with legal issues related to classified documents. But at least one Democrat has joined the effort.

Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat and one of Biden’s closest aides, said, “Frankly, we shouldn’t focus too much on issues that no one at home has honestly heard. I think,” he said. CNN’s Manu Raju. “Their biggest concerns are pump prices, grocery store prices, gun violence, climate change, jobs and economic progress.”

It’s a goal that may seem ambitious at best, at the end of a week defined by head-turning developments related to the handling of classified information after Mr. Biden took office as vice president.

But it’s also a necessity for the White House, where the majority of officials don’t have a role on the team that manages legal matters, overtaking carefully crafted plans and messages.

Biden’s advisers have returned to a familiar stance honed in the campaign, defined by a tip-on-the-shoulder attitude fueled by criticism from state media and the Twitter accounts they follow closely. His broader policy goals and objectives do not necessarily come to a dead end.

Senior White House advisers, as they considered five days of surprising twists and turns, argued that it served as a roadmap for the road ahead, despite their unruly investigative spotlight.

They reiterated their view that the investigation would ultimately show that Biden’s lawyers took appropriate action when the classified documents were discovered. He points out that there is no advantage or benefit to getting involved. This is a position that has been made clear at each White House press conference since the first news broke.

Throughout the week, he pointed to the fact that even when new developments surfaced that caught Biden’s team off guard, they stuck to the strategic plan that had been put together in the weeks leading up to the new year.

Their first move of the new year on an issue with bipartisan overlap and clear political weight provides a rough overview of potential Big Tech reforms via a Wall Street Journal opinion piece with the president’s byline. was to explain.

Each of the new House Republican legislative efforts met with immediate and concerted attack from Democrats on both sides of the Capitol.

The South Korean solar panel maker’s announcement to invest $2.5 billion to build a factory in Georgia is the latest in tens of billions of dollars of new private sector investment encouraged by new legislation Biden signed into law. bottom. Drug price cuts, which had been advertised for months before implementation, have begun as well.

Over the course of the week, senior government officials participated in more than 100 regional and coalition interviews about Biden’s policy priorities.

And on the day the special counsel was announced, Biden’s top economic officials were able to make repeated appearances in the media about the release of consumer price index data that showed inflation falling for a sixth straight month.

National Economic Council director Brian Deeds appeared on CNN an hour before Garland’s announcement that former U.S. attorney Robert Herr would be appointed as special counsel, and said the legal matter had hit Biden’s economic team. I was asked if it was a distraction.

“Absolutely not,” Dies said. “Our focus, the focus of the economy team, is on the continued progress we have made, and today is good and positive progress on the economy side, but I am committed to doing the work that we need to do. We will raise our resolve to help the American people lower prices and continue the economic recovery.”

Biden’s schedule was also kept the same, including his own remarks on inflation and the broader domestic economy. It was a speaking adviser who was seen as an important landmark for Biden.

Biden was still attending a memorial service for former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter when the special counsel was formally appointed. He will be informed shortly after resigning from Hur’s appointment.

For Biden, who was almost certain to run for re-election this year and had a clear and carefully choreographed strategic plan to isolate and elevate House Republicans while highlighting his legislative victory. , this past week seemed to demonstrate just how fast the ground could change under a carefully crafted plan with each passing day.

But a senior White House adviser said he could stick with a plan deemed fully operational as of this week’s start and important to the political outlook for next year.

With investigations taking place in the coming months, it remains to be seen if the resolve to stick with these plans that have been made can be retained.

But when Biden departed the White House as scheduled on day one, his intent in the attempt was clear.

He smiled and gestured to reporters as he came out on the South Lawn for Marine One. But he ignored their barking questions about the investigation.

He arrived at his home in Wilmington, Delaware some time later. In the same house, his second batch of classified documents was found. This is a constant reminder of an investigation that he and his advisors seem to have decided not to interfere with. of their plans.

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