The White House, facing the first day of the special counsel’s investigation, tried to maintain a business-as-usual stance, emphasizing what had become the central objective in an uncertain and potentially dangerous new reality.
President Joe Biden welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House, fulfilling a private pledge he made two months ago, smiling as he ignored loud questions about an investigation into classified documents found in his home and old private office.
The carefully crafted warnings and announcements from the Treasury Department, House and Senate Democratic leaders and the White House – aimed at laying the groundwork for a looming battle with House Republicans over the need to raise the debt ceiling in the coming months – are according to a press release. plan to proceed.
Senior advisors are scheduled to hold weekly planning and strategy meetings with external allies.
A small group of Biden’s closest aides and lawyers in and out of the administration are quietly grappling with the legal, political and messaging issues that have been brought to the forefront over the past few days, with little involvement from most inside the West Wing and trying to Focus on one thing: normality.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats vacillated between defending Biden and privately over the post-traumatic stress of another senior Democrat dealing with legal issues related to classified documents, an effort that at least one Democrat favored .
“Frankly, I don’t think there’s one issue we should focus too much on, and I honestly haven’t heard from a single person in my family that it’s their number one concern,” the senator said. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat and one of Biden’s closest allies, told CNN’s Manu Raju. “Their biggest concerns are gas pump prices, grocery store prices, gun violence, climate change, jobs, moving our economy forward.”
At the end of a week defined by dizzying developments related to Biden’s handling of classified information as vice president, that goal seemed aspirational at best.
Yet it is also a necessity in a White House where the vast majority of officials have no role in the teams that manage legal issues beyond their elaborate planning and messaging.
Biden advisers are returning to a familiar stance honed on the campaign trail, driven by criticism from national media and from Twitter accounts they closely follow, defined as a poised approach to taking the past few months to bear. The day is seen as evidence that Biden’s broader policy goals are not necessarily in trouble.
Top White House advisers took stock of the startling twists and turns of the five days, which they insist will serve as a roadmap for their path forward, even as the focus of the investigation is largely beyond their control.
They reiterated that the investigation will ultimately prove that Biden’s lawyers took appropriate steps when they discovered the classified documents. They point out that there is neither benefit nor benefit in getting involved in an ongoing legal matter — a stance that has been laid bare at every White House press conference held since the initial news broke.
Throughout the week, while new developments repeatedly caught Biden’s team off guard, they noted that they were sticking to the strategic plan they laid out in the weeks leading up to the new year.
They took their first action in the new year on an issue of bipartisan overlap and apparent political importance — laying out the broad outlines of potential big tech reforms with a Wall Street Journal opinion piece signed by the president.
Every new House Republican legislative effort has been met with immediate and coordinated attacks from Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill.
A South Korean solar panel maker announced it would invest $2.5 billion to build a factory in Georgia, a sign that new laws signed by Biden have spurred tens of billions of dollars in new private sector investment. Drug price cuts, touted for months before being implemented, are also starting to work.
In one week, senior administration officials participated in more than 100 regional and coalition interviews on Biden’s policy priorities.
On the day the special counsel was announced, Biden’s top economic officials made several media appearances to release consumer price index data, which showed inflation falling for the sixth straight month.
Less than an hour before Garland announced that former U.S. Attorney Robert Hull would be named special counsel, National Economic Council Director Brian Diess was asked during an appearance on CNN whether legal issues would distract from the Biden economy. The team’s attention.
“Absolutely not,” Diess said. “Our focus, the focus of the economic team, will be on the continued progress we’ve made, today is a good, positive development on the economic front, but will strengthen our resolve to represent the work we need to do on behalf of the American people to lower the prices, to keep the economy recovering.”
Biden’s schedule also remained unchanged, including his own comments on inflation data and the broader domestic economy. It’s a speech consult that’s seen as an important Biden signature — though it’s overshadowed by his willingness to discuss the proximity of his Corvette to classified documents found in his garage.
When the special counsel was officially appointed, Biden was still attending a memorial service for former Secretary of Defense Carter. He will be notified shortly after leaving Hur’s appointment.
For Biden, who is all but certain to seek re-election this year, with a clear and well-crafted strategic plan to highlight his legislative victories — while isolating and elevating House Republicans — every day of the week seems to be on the line. Proof of how quickly the ground can change with careful planning.
However, senior White House advisers said they could stick with a plan that began this week as both fully operational and critical to their political prospects for the coming year.
It remains to be seen whether the resolve to stick to the plans laid out will be sustained, as the surveys in the coming months will confirm.
But on day one, with Biden leaving the White House as scheduled, it was clear what he was trying to do.
He smiled and gestured to reporters as he made his way to the South Lawn toward Marine One. But he ignored their loud inquiries about the investigation.
Soon after, he would arrive at his home in Wilmington, Delaware — the same home where a second batch of classified documents was discovered, a constant reminder that he and his advisers seemed determined not to let him get in the way of the investigation or theirs. plan.