White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain compared President Donald Trump to President Richard Nixon Sunday while denying a report from The New York Times that claimed President Joe Biden wanted his attorney general to prosecute his predecessor over the events of Jan. 6. His denials of wrongdoing later encompassed any potential involvement in the previously denied Hunter Biden scandal.
Klain joined ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” for a discussion that on the economy, turmoil in Ukraine and the border crisis. The host pivoted off the topic of crime to dive right into the Times piece that addressed “pressure” that attorney general Merrick Garland may be feeling as it relates to the Jan. 6 investigation.
Stephanopolous read a partial quote from the article, “As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted…he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6.”
.@WHCOS Klain says Pres. Biden has confidence in Attorney General Garland to make decisions about possible prosecutions.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 3, 2022
After being asked if the claim was true, Klain responded, “I’ve never heard the president say that – advocate the prosecution of any person.”
The question from the former White House communications director during President Bill Clinton’s administration not only offered Klain the chance to refute the claim, but allowed him to go on the offensive as well.
“Look, one reason why Joe Biden got elected was he promised that we’d take the decision over who got prosecuted and what away from the White House and put it in the Justice Department. Only Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, in the modern era, believed that prosecution decisions should be made in the Oval Office not at the Justice Department,” he claimed.
“We have returned the practice that every other president, Democratic and Republicans had since Watergate, other than Trump, to let those decisions be made at the Justice Department,” the chief of staff continued. “The president has confidence in the attorney general to make those decisions and that’s where those decisions should be made.”
For his part, Garland stated Friday on the question over pressure to work faster on Jan. 6, “Look, the only pressure I feel, and the only pressure that our line prosecutors feel, is to do the right thing. That means we follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”
When Stephanopolous then asked about the Justice Department furthering its investigation into Hunter Biden, Klain claimed there has been no contact from the president or anyone at the White House on that matter.
“Of course the president’s confident that his son didn’t break the law. But, most importantly, as I said, that’s a matter that’s going to be decided by the Justice Department, by the legal process. It’s something that no one at the White House has involvement in,” he stated before he distanced the executive from the matter after Stephanopolous brought in Biden’s brother as well.
“The president is confident that his family did the right thing. But, again, I want to just be really clear. These are actions by Hunter and his brother. They’re private matters. They don’t involve the president. And they certainly are something that no one at the White House is involved in,” Klain tellingly concluded on the matter where previously all suppositions of wrong doing were outright denied.
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