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Tag: jen psaki

Psaki Bomb Burns Gen. Milley’s Attackers -- Including Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was bombarded by at least six reporters wanting to know if President Joe Biden has confidence in General Mark Milley, after news about a soon-to-be published book claims the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the end of the Trump presidency contacted his counterpart in China to promise the U.S. would not wage war against that country.

Donald Trump accused Gen. Milley of committing "treason" in light of the reports, and Republicans in Congress and others have demanded his resignation.

Psaki effectively nuked all the attacks on Chairman Milley, repeatedly assuring White House reporters that President Biden has "complete confidence" in his Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

But she also made certain reporters understood that while Milley was not acting beyond his role, Donald Trump was president and was "fomenting an insurrection."

"This president, this current president, who follows the Constitution, who's not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley and him continuing to serve in his role."

She also smacked down the question from one reporter who asked if Milley could continue serving given how Republicans are attacking him.

"I don't think," Psaki said, that President Biden "is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while" Donald Trump, "the leader of their party, fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent."

Psaki Bomb Flattens Abbott’s ‘Eliminate Rape’ Idiocy

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday expertly dismantled and brilliantly mocked Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's promise to "eliminate all rapists," a promise he made to defend his unconstitutional abortion ban on Tuesday.

"If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists, or all rape, from the United States then there'll be bipartisan support for that," Psaki told a reporter asking for a response to Abbott's spurious claim. "But given there has never in the history of the country, in the world, been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets, it's even more imperative – it's one of the many reasons I should say, not the only reason, why women in Texas should have access to health care."

On Tuesday Abbott lied about his 6-week abortion ban, forcing women to take to social media to tell him how their bodies work.

Abbott claimed the abortion ban "provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion," which is false. "That said however, let's make something very clear: rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas, by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets."

Watch:

Psaki Bomb Levels Reporter Trolling Biden Over Abortion

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki once again was forced to school a right-wing reporter, this time not Fox News'Peter Doocy, but Owen Jensen, who is the Washington, D.C. correspondent for EWTN, Eternal Word Television Network.

"Why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic Faith teaches abortion is morally wrong? Jensen asked.

"He believes that it's a woman's right, it's a woman's body, and it's her choice," Psaki replied to the question that President Joe Biden has made extremely clear countless times.

Not dissuaded, Jensen pressed on.

"Who does he believe should look out for the unborn child?"

Not willing to debate whether or not a fetus is an unborn child, Psaki moved on.

"He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you've never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing, President believes that right should be respected," she replied, quickly moving on telling another reporter, "go ahead."

Jensen refused to drop the question, pressing forward.

"I think we have to move on – you've had plenty of time today," she concluded.

In early February Jensen made news when he asked Psaki since "President Biden has stated he wants to unite the country," is he "going to make any effort to reach out to pro-life Americans in his administration?"

As Tens Of Thousands Evacuate, Fox Reporter Claims Biden Left Americans ‘Stranded’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Peter Doocy, a White House correspondent for Fox News, on Monday accused the Biden administration of leaving Americans in Afghanistan "stranded," even as tens of thousands have been evacuated from the region.

During a White House briefing, Doocy asked press secretary Jen Psaki, "Does the president have the sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan, it's the way that he has ordered it to happen, by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded?"

Psaki responded that she thought it was "irresponsible to say Americans are stranded," noting, "We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home."

Doocy then asked if her reply meant it was the White House's "official position" that "there are no Americans stranded."

She responded, "I'm just calling you out for stating that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan."

Doocy's accusation comes a day after the Department of Defense reported that at least 37,000 people had been evacuated from the region since August 14, with 10,400 of those evacuations happening Saturday and Sunday.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday that the United States is currently executing a plan to transport Americans in Afghanistan to the airport in Kabul for evacuation. U.S. forces have expanded the existing perimeter of the "safe zone" around the airport in order to accomplish the mission, Biden said.

From the Aug. 23 White House press briefing:

PETER DOOCY, Fox News: Does the president have the sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan, it's the way that he has ordered it to happen, by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded? Does he have a sense of that?
JEN PSAKI: First of all, I think it's irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not. We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.
We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via email, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home.
DOOCY: There are no Americans stranded is the White House's official position on what's happening in Afghanistan right now?
PSAKI: I'm just calling you out for stating that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when I said – when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home, and I think that's important for the American public to hear and understand.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Psaki Bombs Fox’s Doocy: Your ‘Biggest Concern’ Should Be Lethal Vaccine Lies

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Fox News' Peter Doocy pelted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with extremist conspiracy theory questions on Friday related to a study released this week finding just 12 people on Facebook are responsible for 65 percent of all coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

His questions were so contrived and baseless that Psaki at one point was forced to ask why the Fox News correspondent's "biggest concern" wasn't the increased numbers of Americans dying from coronavirus disinformation, which also happens to be the very disinformation he and his network are spreading.

"Okay so these 12 people who you have on a list, 12 individuals. Do they know that somebody at the Surgeon General's Office is going through their profile?" Doocy asked.

The information the White House shared came from this study by a group that is not a part of the federal government, and was published in countless news reports.

"Our biggest concern here, and I, frankly, think it should be your biggest concern, is [the misinformation] leading them to not take a vaccine. Young people, old people, kids, children – this is all being, a lot of them are being impacted by misinformation," Psaki said.

Doocy refused to address that, but went on to claim that the "big concern though, I think for a lot of people on Facebook is that now this is big brother watching you."

Minutes earlier he had falsely claimed that the Biden administration was "spying" on Americans' Facebook profiles.

Psaki did not respond to that falsehood – again, the information comes from a study of Facebook pages that are public on the social media platform -- but she slammed Doocy for prioritizing a conspiracy theory over Americans dying.

"They're more concerned about that than people dying across the country because of a pandemic where misinformation is traveling on social media platforms? That feels unlikely to me," she said. "If you have the data to back that up I'm happy to discuss it."

Doocy also fired up the old attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said at the start of the pandemic that masks were not necessary – which at that point was based on the general scientific belief guided by the number of cases and what was known at the time, coupled with the dire lack of PPE for medical first responders.

"There are videos of Dr. Fauci from 2020 before anybody had a vaccine and he is out there saying there's no reason to be walking around with a mask and so is the administration going to contact Facebook and ask them to take that down?" Doocy asked.

Psaki refused to entertain that old conspiracy theory other than to remind Doocy that "science evolves" and "information evolves," but then slammed those who are spreading a false claim about the vaccine.

"I have never seen any data such as to suggest that, that the vaccines cause infertility, that is information that is irresponsible," she said.

Watch:

Psaki Bomb Drops On Fox Reporter, Highlighting His Deep Ignorance

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to kick off the week by explaining to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy how international investigations work. Doocy asked why the U.S. government didn't just bypass the World Health Organization (WHO) and ram through a separate investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus that has killed about 600,000 Americans.

Fox News has spent more than a year minimizing COVID-19, its dangers, the ways individuals can protect themselves and others from the deadly virus, mocked – if not slandered – those who are working to do just that, and then fear-mongered around the coronavirus vaccine.

"I think you're misunderstanding how this process actually works," Psaki had to tell Doocy. "First of all, we need access to the underlying data and information in order to have that investigation."

China and the WHO have refused to be sufficiently transparent.

"With 589,920 dead Americans, at what point is President Biden [going to] say, we don't want to wait for the WHO? We don't know what they're doing," Doocy demanded, trying to make foreign policy from a seat in the White House press briefing room. "This needs to be an American led effort to get to the bottom of what happened?"

Doocy went on to try to mock President Joe Biden, saying that "he talks all the time about how he's known President Xi for a long time. So why can't he just call?"

"Why isn't President Biden pushing for more access more information to get to the bottom of exactly what happened?" he also asked.

"We are," Psaki replied, "and we have repeatedly called for the WHO to support an expert driven evaluation of the pandemic's origins, that is free from interference or polarization."

"An international investigation," she also said, "led by the World Health Organization is something that we've actually been pressing for, for several months, in coordination with a range of partners around the world. We need that data. We need that information from the Chinese government, what we can't do and what I would caution anyone doing is leaping ahead of an actual international process. We don't have enough data and information to jump to a conclusion at this point in time."

"So," Doocy, whose network has worked around the clock to attack those concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, asked, "is there any amount of casualties from COVID in this country that would make you want to not wait for an international effort and just do it?"

Psaki refused to allow him to bully the American people.

"Well, I have to say, I think the family members of the loved ones whose lives have been lost deserve accurate information, data, not the jumping to a conclusion without having the information necessary to conclude what the origins are, what we do share. Everyone in this country has a desire to know how this started, where it started and prevent it from ever happening again. That's something we all share."

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When Will Biden Fulfill His Promise To Free The Pot Prisoners?

Just before he left office, Donald Trump freed more than a dozen federal prisoners who had received sentences ranging from 15 years to life for growing, transporting, or distributing marijuana. Yet President Joe Biden, who during his campaign said "anyone who has a (marijuana) record should be let out of jail" and promised to "broadly use his clemency power for certain nonviolent and drug crimes," is suddenly reticent about following Trump's example.

While Biden has come a long way since his days as an ardent drug warrior who bragged about the draconian sentences he helped enact, he still has not caught up with most Americans on marijuana policy. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 69 percent of Americans, including 78 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans, support legalization.

Biden — unlike most of the Democrats he beat for his party's 2020 presidential nomination, including his vice president — opposes repealing the federal marijuana ban, a position that puts him in the minority even within his age group. Instead, he wants to decriminalize low-level possession, an idea that was at the cutting edge of marijuana reform in the 1970s.

Since the Justice Department rarely prosecutes marijuana users, Biden's proposal would have little impact at the federal level. And it would do nothing to address the untenable conflict between the Controlled Substances Act and the laws that allow medical or recreational use of marijuana in 36 states.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), plans to reintroduce a legalization bill that was approved by the House of Representatives in December but was never considered by the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), says his chamber likewise will soon consider legislation that would "end the federal prohibition on marijuana."

When New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a press briefing last month whether Biden would sign such a bill, she reiterated his support for reclassifying marijuana "so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts," for allowing medical use, for letting states legalize recreational use, and for "decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records." Pressed to explicitly say whether Biden would sign a legalization bill, Psaki replied, "I just have outlined what his position is, which isn't the same as what the House and Senate have proposed."

Unlike legalization, freeing marijuana prisoners would not require an act of Congress, and it is consistent with what Biden said on the campaign trail. His promises created a reasonable expectation that he would show mercy for marijuana offenders who continue to languish in federal prison, such as Ismael Lira and Pedro Moreno, who are serving life sentences for distributing cannabis from Mexico.

As Corvain Cooper, one of the marijuana lifers freed by Trump, told Nelson, "No one should be serving a long prison sentence over marijuana when states and big corporations are making billions of dollars off of this plant." Yet, when Nelson asked Psaki about clemency, she irrelevantly cited Biden's support for moving marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA to Schedule II.

Nelson tried again the next day, noting that Biden bears personal responsibility for the lengthy sentences imposed on people for peaceful activities that are now legal in most states, including at least 17 that already or soon will allow recreational sales. "Will President Biden honor his commitment to release everyone imprisoned for marijuana?" he asked.

Psaki did not deny that Biden had made that promise. But she brought up "rescheduling" again and claimed she did not know the answer because it depends on arcane legal knowledge.

"What you're asking me is a legal question," Psaki said. "I'd point you to the Department of Justice."

The "legal question" is not complicated. Biden's commitment to "broadly use his clemency power" has nothing to do with rescheduling marijuana, and he could begin delivering on it today if he were so inclined. Psaki's obfuscation suggests it is not a high priority.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @JacobSullum. To find out more about Jacob Sullum and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Jen Psaki Gently Bombs Pat Robertson’s 'White House Correspondent'

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki again was forced to deal with a right-wing reporter trying to inflame American politics by dredging up old GOP talking points.

David Brody, a reporter for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, asked Psaki what President Joe Biden not yet meeting with House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says about "unity."

"I guess the question is," Brody said, President Biden "has not met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, according to Kevin McCarthy. What does that say about unity?"

Brody continued, "There are some other legislative issues as it relates to HR1 and a commission to study packing the Supreme Court as you would say."

The White House would not describe right-sizing the Supreme Court as "packing" it, that's a GOP talking point, just as is twisting Biden's remarks about wanting unity.

"And there's a lot of other lists as well, budget reconciliation, so there's a lot of folks who talk about, tens of millions of people, they're concerned about that this doesn't seem like unity at all," Brody complained.

Unfazed, Psaki asked Brody, "Do you think tens of millions of people are concerned about him not meeting with Kevin McCarthy?"

Brody pushed back, claiming "tens of millions of people are concerned about HR1, budget reconciliation, and going with a 50-vote threshold," he claimed.

"I don't think the polling bears that out," Psaki said, correctly.

At least two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) support HR1, the For the People Act, a voting rights and election reform bill. That number includes a solid majority, 57 percent, of Republicans. And a majority of Americans support killing the filibuster to advance HR1 and a $15 minimum wage.

"I will say that the President's view is that bringing the country together is bringing the American people together," Psaki continued. "So when I say he's, he is focused on bringing you know, bringing people together, bringing Democrats or Republicans together, he's not talking about solving bipartisanship in 'this zip code here.'"

Watch: