The White House was briefly evacuated Sunday evening while President Joe Biden was at Camp David after the Secret Service found cocaine in a common area of the West Wing, and a preliminary test revealed that the substance was cocaine, according to two law enforcement sources.
Secret Service agents were on routine rounds on Sunday when they discovered the white powder in an area accessible to tour groups, rather than in any specific West Wing office, according to officials. The officials talked to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The complex was evacuated around 8:45 p.m. Sunday as fire and rescue crews arrived to conduct a quick test, which revealed the presence of cocaine. The White House was quickly reopened, and the powder was sent to be tested further.
Biden and his family left on Friday for Camp David and returned to the White House on Tuesday.
According to the Secret Service, the White House was shuttered as a precaution while emergency crews investigated, and the District of Columbia fire department was sent in to analyse and find that the substance was not harmful.
“The item has been sent for further evaluation, and an investigation into the cause and manner in which it entered the White House is currently underway,” the Secret Service said.
Meanwhile, President Biden at the White House denied lying about his son, Hunter Biden’s, business dealings.
“Did you lie about never speaking with Hunter about his business deals?” Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked the president.
“No,” Biden said emphatically. Heinrich then inquired, “Did you ever speak with Hunter about his business deals?”
It was unclear whether the president answered when another reporter yelled a question at him.
The exchange occurred after Biden delivered remarks at the White House, starting off the next phase of the administration’s Investing in America trip with a key announcement about high-speed internet infrastructure. The president had already left the platform and stopped to answer Heinrich’s question before proceeding down the corridor.
This comes after the White House came under fire over the weekend after Hunter Biden accompanied his father to Camp David amid bombshell whistleblower allegations of political corruption – in addition to the president’s son recently pleading guilty to federal tax charges and agreeing to a plea deal on a felony gun charge.
The House Ways and Means Committee announced Thursday its interview last month with an IRS whistleblower who included a WhatsApp communication from 2017 in which Hunter Biden allegedly assured a Chinese business contact that he and his father would make sure “you will regret not following my direction.”
“I am sitting here with my father, and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” Hunter Biden said in a message given by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley to Henry Zhao, the director of Chinese asset management business Harvest Fund Management.
“And, Z, if I receive a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make sure that between the man sitting next to me and everyone he knows, as well as my ability to hold a grudge forever, you will regret not following my direction.”
The White House event on Monday announced funding for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) programme, a $42.45 billion grant programme created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and administered by the Department of Commerce. According to the administration, rewards range from $27 million to more than $3.3 billion, with each state receiving a minimum of $107 million.
The White House billed it as the “largest internet funding announcement in history.” Over the next three weeks, President Biden, Vice President Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, Cabinet members, and senior government officials will tour the country to underscore Biden’s economic strategy.
Biden mentioned the Wagner Group’s attempted uprising against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime for the first time during the press conference.
“We gave Putin no reason to blame the West or NATO for this.” We made it plain that we had no involvement. Biden told reporters, “We had nothing to do with it.”