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White House press secretary Jen Psaki is facing criticism for suddenly changing her tune about leaked phone calls now that a Democrat is in office.
During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, she was questioned twice about a bombshell Reuters report published earlier that day that had outlined the details of a July phone call between President Joe Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
But Psaki refused to speak about it both times on the apparent basis that the details of “private diplomatic conversations” shouldn’t be up for public debate.
“Well, I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations or leak transcripts of phone,” she said the first time.
.@PressSec on July phone call between President Biden and former Afghan President Ghani: “I’m not going to get into private diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls.” pic.twitter.com/GGUR37nPvx
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 1, 2021
“Again, I’m not going to go into details of a private conversation,” she said the second time.
(Video: CBS News)
Critics found this response unusual given what she’d said two years earlier about the leaked phone call between then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the call in late 2019, she loudly and proudly advocated for all details of the call to be shown to the public on the grounds that they deserved to know.
“It is not just the call transcript. The whistleblower complaint would likely have more details. We need both. And not just the call,” she tweeted on Sept. 24th, 2019.
It is not just the call transcript. The whistleblower complaint would likely have more details. We need both. And not just the call.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) September 24, 2019
Yet now that Biden, a Democrat, is in office, it appears she’s adopted a completely different attitude about what the public deserves to know regarding the phone calls of the commander in chief.
This odd but extremely politically convenient reversal has some wondering “what changed.”
Psaki says she’s “not going to get into… leaked call transcripts.”
Is that the new standard now? Because I seem to remember a different standard just last year…
— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) September 1, 2021
What changed your mind about a private conversation?
— PrayingDog (@DogTopic) September 1, 2021
What’s changed @PressSec ?
— Woody Belflower (@94GTJacket) September 2, 2021
— Orange Man Bad (@HillsburyJohn) September 1, 2021
So, you telling me that the same reason Trump was impeached (asking a foreign leader to do something against the law) was a public conversation; but here where it’s biden doing it, it’s a private conversation? What changed? What law was passed? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
— Penn (@PennRS) September 2, 2021
Notice what the latter Twitter user wrote: “So, you telling me that the same reason Trump was impeached (asking a foreign leader to do something against the law) was a public conversation; but here where it’s biden doing it, it’s a private conversation?”
Reuters, which claimed to have listened to and reviewed a transcript of Biden’s July call, claimed in its report published early Wednesday that the president had essentially offered Ghani military aid in exchange for him lying to the public.
“In the call, Biden offered aid if Ghani could publicly project he had a plan to control the spiraling situation in Afghanistan,” Reuters reported.
In other words, the president wanted his Afghan counterpart to tell the public that the situation in Afghanistan was just fine and fully under control. But according to Reuters, the Afghan president kept warning him that this wasn’t actually the case.
“We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” he reportedly said during the call.
July call reveals Biden knew Taliban was winning; told Ghani to ‘change perception’ even if it’s not true https://t.co/ab9Iwff9DF
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) September 1, 2021
Yet Biden reportedly appeared indifferent to this reality.
“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” he told Ghani, according to Reuters.
Weeks later, all of Afghanistan is now under the full control of the Taliban, Ghani has fled the country and tens of thousands of Afghan allies and several hundred U.S. citizens remain trapped — potentially forever — in this Taliban-run hellhole.
So what changed? Nothing but the political party in power, it appears. A political party whose trusted leader, Joe Biden, now faces calls for impeachment over not only his phone call but also his overall handling of the crisis in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden asked the President of Afghanistan to LIE!
In the transcript, Biden told Ghani to say that the fight against the Taliban was going well “whether it is true or not.”
The Afghan President responded, “Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion…”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) September 1, 2021
I mean they literally impeached the last guy because of the details of a private conversation https://t.co/I85WfpvM1h
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 1, 2021
Impeach and remove. https://t.co/4vPJuAvyzJ
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) September 2, 2021
But what’s the first step in impeachment? An inquiry. And what’s needed to conduct an inquiry? Detailed information about Biden’s phone call.
This is why, if you look at the replies to Psaki’s 2019 tweet, you’ll find a deluge of conservatives sarcastically voicing their agreement.
— Kambree (@KamVTV) September 2, 2021
agree 100%. Let’s get a hero “whistelblower” to release the call, Jenny!
— Senior Fellow Tony Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) September 1, 2021
Since we agree that we need both, when can we expect Biden/Ghani call and transcripts?
— DupliKate (@kilomikealpha77) September 2, 2021
Agree 100%! What did Blinkin know and when did he know it?
Do tell us, Jenny.
— baddggerr (@baddggerr1) September 2, 2021
This is the first time i agree with something you say !!
— Angie York (@AngieYork12) September 2, 2021
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