‘Fled the Podium:’ WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Ends Press Briefing After Being Pressed on Durham Report

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment Tuesday about Special Counsel John Durham’s report on the probe into Trump-Russia collusion. 

The special counsel’s 300-page report found that the Department of Justice and FBI “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” regarding its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016. 

Although the report was released Monday, only one reporter referred to Durham’s report and asked for a reaction at the White House press briefing.

“What is the White House reaction to the special counsel report on how the FBI handled the Trump-Russia probe?” the reporter asked the press secretary.

“I would leave it to the Department of Justice to speak to that,” responded Jean-Pierre. 

The reporter pressed further, asking, “The president talks about how he wants the DOJ and FBI to remain independent and above the fray. That report seems to reflect the opposite. Does he agree with Special Counsel Durham that there needs to be wholesale changes at the FBI?”

“Again, that is with the Department of Justice,” said Jean-Pierre as she closed her briefing book. “That’s not something that I’m going to speak from the podium. As you just stated in your question, we believe in an independent Department of Justice. That’s what the president said when he was running, and that’s what the president has said the last two years.”

“Thank you so much. I’ll see you guys in Japan,” said Jean-Pierre while leaving the podium before further questions could be asked. 

Jean-Pierre blasted on social media

Social media users blasted the response for ignoring the press secretary’s and the White House’s history with the Russia collusion allegation. 

Before becoming the White House press secretary, Jean-Pierre wrote multiple tweets supporting the theory that former President Donald Trump was “illegitimate” and played a part in Russian collusion. She wrote, “Flynn, Manafort and The Donald himself (inviting Russia to partake in espionage on our election) #PutinLoveAffair.” She agreed with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in December 2016 that Trump’s campaign was “all in” on Russia interference.

In 2018, Jean-Pierre added, “And Russia is still winning because his puppet Trump continues to flagrantly degrade America’s standing on the global stage.”

Steve Guest, Ted Cruz’s communications adviser, posted images of some of the tweets and added, “It’s no surprise KJP fled the podium…she is guilty of pushing the ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ nonsense.”

“Not surprising that Karine wouldn’t want to weigh in since she said 2016 was ‘stolen’ & praised Jimmy Carter for saying Trump ‘didn’t actually win.’ She tweeted on convincing Electoral College to reject Trump & was MoveOn’s spox as it joined that effort,” wrote Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner reporter, citing past tweets by Jean-Pierre.

“She’s deflecting, and she isn’t even good at it. Psaki was a lot better with her ‘circle back’ responses,” commented journalist Ian Miles Cheong.

Contributor for Fox News, Katie Pavlich, remarked, “Jake Sullivan, who pushed and helped concoct the Russia hoax when he worked for the Clinton campaign in 2016, is Biden’s National Security Advisor and the White House still punts to DOJ.”

“He asked for the WHITE HOUSE reaction, K – just said, ‘We don’t have one for you,” joked Tim Graham, Newsbusters executive editor. 

Communications director for GOP Senator Josh Hawley, Abigail Monroe, tweeted, “The ‘muh norms and institutions’ crowd has nothing to say?? weird…”

Although special counsel Durham didn’t “recommend any wholesale changes” to the agencies’ guidelines, his report spotlighted the “lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents” regarding foreign collusion accusations against Trump.