Psaki confronted by Fox News on behalf of injured colleague: What is Biden going to do about it?

Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall was wounded Monday in the area of Kyiv and after President Joe Biden had previously declared a “forceful” response to any American casualties, White House press secretary Jen Psaki offered no guarantee.

Hall, a State Department correspondent for Fox News, was confirmed to be hospitalized in a statement offered by network CEO Suzanne Scott. His injuries came one day after Brent Renaud, an American documentary filmmaker and contributor to The New York Times, was reportedly killed by Russian forces.

Renaud had been filming Ukrainian refugees crossing at a Ukrainian-run checkpoint when “Russian forces opened fire on a car with foreign journalists inside.” Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich brought up Renaud’s death when she questioned Psaki on a potential response from Biden’s administration.

“The president said back in February that the U.S. would respond forcefully if Americans were targeted in Ukraine,” Heinrich reminded. “One of my colleagues was injured today. We’re still waiting to hear if he’s okay. So what is that response going to look like?”

After offering her thoughts and the thoughts of Biden and the administration to Hall and his family, Psaki responded, “I think you have seen the president lead the world in taking – putting in place consequences, putting in place repercussions and steps in response to the actions of Russia.”

Psaki then added, “But in terms of next steps or what the next consequence would be, I don’t have anything to preview for you at this point in time.”

Heinrich pressed Psaki on where the “red line” was that Russia might cross to initiate a response from Biden and Psaki defended the actions taken thus far.

“So I would say that, at this moment in time, we have been hardly on the sidelines,” Psaki said before stating Biden had been leading in the response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions.

“We don’t like red lines around here, so I’m not going to use that phrasing,” she also said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also offered little more than condolences during a briefing where he addressed Renaud and Hall, calling them “two examples of the dangers in covering war.”

(Video: CNN)

“This is a war that didn’t need to be fought, to be sure,” Kirby said. “But just as to be sure there are journalists from around the world on the ground trying to discover the truth and to show that truth and to tell these important stories.”

Kirby added, “And again, our best go out to Mr. Hall and our, certainly our deepest thoughts go to his family, as I’m sure they are worried about him and his well-being. But again, we’re thinking about him.”

“America Reports” co-anchor John Roberts read the statement from Scott not long after the initial story had been reported.

Scott explained that due to the developing nature of the story, they were doing everything they could to learn about his condition, however, details were limited. They had learned that Hall was hospitalized as a result of his injuries. No cause had been provided.

“The safety of our entire team of journalists in Ukraine and the surrounding regions is our top priority and of the utmost importance,” Scott wrote. “This is a stark reminder for all journalists who are putting their lives on the line every day to deliver the news from a war zone.”

Scott added her request that viewers keep “Ben and his family in your prayers.”


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