White House press secretary Jen Psaki demanded details from former President Trump’s leaked phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019, but on Wednesday declined to speak about the specifics of President Biden’s leaked phone call with the Afghan president.
When Psaki was asked during her daily press briefing about the leaked phone conversation Biden had with then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani three weeks before Kabul fell in which Ghani warned Biden of eminent collapse, Psaki responded the presidential conversation is “private” and would not discuss details.
“Well, I’m not going to get into private, diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” Psaki said, adding that any quick “invasion” by the Taliban was not “anticipated” by the administration.
“But what I can reiterate for you is that we have stated many times that no one anticipated … that the Taliban would be able to take over the country as quickly as they did or that the Afghan National Security Forces would fold as quickly as they did,” Psaki claimed.
"I am not going to go into the details of a private conversation,” @PressSec says when asked about a leaked call in which Biden pressured the former Afghan president to suggest the fight against the Taliban was going well “whether it is true or not”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 1, 2021
Psaki’s tune was very different in 2019 as a commentator for CNN, tweeting that Trump’s leaked phone call with Zelensky was not just about the leaked “transcript” and more about what Trump was presumably hiding, which would be found in the whistleblower complaint.
“It is not just the call transcript. The whistleblower complaint would likely have more details,” Psaki said. “We need both. And not just the call.”
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
Psaki’s inability to speak about Biden’s “private” phone conversation while previously demanding details from the former administration’s leak is a contradiction, especially because Psaki’s boss, Joe Biden, said in his inaugural address the he would not lie to the American people:
Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. … There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. … And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.
Biden, however, appears to have lied during the Afghan evacuation, when he said he was not warned by Ghani that Afghanistan would shortly collapse.
Not heeding Ghani’s warning, Biden continued to wait to withdrawal thousands of Americans and allies from the country. The delay likely cost America the lives of 13 U.S. service members.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø