Cornered Psaki can’t say which advisers told Biden to pull everybody out, annoyed press won’t relent

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked by reporters on Tuesday to provide proof to substantiate President Joe Biden’s dubious claim that “some” of his top generals had supported his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

But she failed to provide a single piece of evidence, and many are now suggesting that the president of the United States is a bold-faced liar.

The grilling occurred hours after all of the president’s top generals testified to Congress that they’d, in fact, opposed the president’s plan.

The grilling began with ABC News’ Terry Moran, who asked Psaki to name the specific military advisors who’d “told him it’d’ be fine to pull everybody out.”

The White House press secretary responded by refusing to “get into specific details” and, instead, defending the president’s decision by arguing that maintaining a presence in Afghanistan wouldn’t have been “sustainable over the long term.”

Listen to the full back-and-forth exchange below:

The lack of an answer prompted Moran to essentially ask whether she was therefore disputing the testimony of the president’s top generals.

Psaki responded by changing the subject.

“We’re not talking about long-term recommendations. There was no one who said, ‘Five years from now we could have 2,500 troops and that would be sustainable.” And I think that’s important for people to know and to understand,” she said.

But Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley, CENTCOM head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie and U.S. Forces Afghanistan commander Gen. Scott Miller hadn’t been talking about “long-term recommendations” during their testimony.

Unsatisfied with the press secretary’s attempts to change the subject, Moran returned to his original question.

“You are saying that there were military commanders who advised him that that was a good idea to pull all American troops out. Gen. Milley, Gen. McKenzie, Gen. Miller, they said something else, but the president’s ‘top military advisors’ and others — who you won’t name — told him, ‘Sure, we can pull everyone out,'” he asked.

But again Psaki refused to provide a real answer, instead weaving a convoluted narrative about “risk assessment” and “war with the Taliban,” though she did at least finally acknowledge the testimony from earlier that morning.

“If we had kept 2,500 troops there, we would have increased the number of troops, we would have been at war with the Taliban, we would have had more U.S. casualties. That was a reality everybody was clear-eyed about,” she said.

“There are some — as is evidenced by people testifying today — who felt we should have still done that. That is not the decision the president made. It’s up to the commander in chief to make those decisions,” she added.

Psaki then dismissed Moran and called on another reporter without having ever answered the actual question, which is who exactly among the top brass had supported withdrawing all troops.

However, the other reporter, CBS News’ Weijia Jiang, didn’t intend to let the issue rest.

“It might be helpful if you could just tell us what do you mean by ‘split.’ What were they split between?” she asked.

Her question was in reference to what the president had said in August.

After The Wall Street Journal broke a story on Aug. 17th that all of the president’s top generals had “urged” him “to keep a force of about 2,500 troops,” the president denied the allegations, claiming that the recommendations he’d received had been “split.”


(Video: ABC News)

Psaki responded by again playing coy.

“I think it’s important for the American people to know that these conversations don’t happen in black and white or like you’re in the middle of a movie. These conversations are about a range of options, about what the risk assessments are about every decision,” she said.

“And, of course, there are individuals who come forward with a range of recommendations on what the right path forward looks like. I’m not going to detail those from here. They’re private conversations and advice to the president of the United States,” she added.

But these “private conversations” concerned events highly relevant to America’s national security. Moreover, the nature of these “private conversations” was already revealed publicly by the president’s own top generals.

And judging by what was said by these top generals, it’s clear to critics that the president lied last month:

The White House press secretary had a chance Tuesday to refute this growing allegation, but as her exchanges with Moran and Jiang demonstrated, she didn’t have a single piece of evidence to share.


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