Joe Biden made clear that he is taking sides in the Derek Chauvin trial on Tuesday, telling reporters that he is “praying” for the jury to reach the “right verdict.”
Following a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House, Mr. Biden said that he believes the evidence is “overwhelming” against Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer who knelt on George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds before he died with a fatal level of fentanyl in his system.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill on Monday expressed extreme frustration with elected officials who have inappropriately weighed in on the case.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill lamented after California Rep. Maxine Waters made “abhorrent” remarks over the weekend encouraging more riots.
“If they want to give their opinions they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution to respect a coequal branch of government,” he continued.
Biden told reporters that he has spoken with the Floyd family and that they are “calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is.”
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it’s overwhelming in my view,” Biden said.
He added that he wouldn’t have weighed in on the trial unless the jury had been sequestered.
President Biden says he recently called George Floyd's family:
"I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it's overwhelming in my view. I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered." pic.twitter.com/v6G03KqUSw
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 20, 2021
At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced a barrage of questions about Biden’s comments.
“What precisely did the president mean? What is ‘overwhelming’? And does this mean the president thinks the police officer should be convicted on all counts?” a reporter asked.
Psaki answered that Biden has been watching the trial and has been “moved” by his conversations with the Floyd family.
“He knows the family, and as someone who has been impacted by grief himself, that was a large part of their conversation,” she replied. Psaki also noted that Biden was careful to speak out only after the jury was sequestered.
“You’re not able to clarify what is the ‘overwhelming’ evidence in the case presented by the prosecution,” the reported pressed.
The White House refused to answer the question.
“We’re not going to get ahead of the outcome,” Psaki replied. “When there is a verdict I expect he will have more to say.”
The reporter went on to ask Psaki if Biden’s remarks were helpful given that people around the country got the message and his words could add to the “unrest” that is expected if “the right verdict is not reached.”
Psaki said in response that while Biden has “consistently called for peace,” his administration was “working with state and local authorities is on providing the space for peaceful protest.”
The Biden administration, it should be noted, locked down Washington DC for months, depriving Trump supporters any space to protest the regime.
The reporter noted that Judge Cahill had made “pretty harsh comments” on Monday warning public officials to not weigh in on the trial.
“Are there concerns now that the president’s comments could be grounds for an appeal, or even causing a mistrial?” he asked.
Psaki pointed out once again that the jury is sequestered, in an effort to excuse Biden’s comments. And again, she stressed that he has been “touched” by the impact trial has had on the Floyd family.
“He’s certainly not looking to influence, but he has been touched by the impact on the family, hence he called the family yesterday and that discussion and again, I expect him to weigh in further once there is a verdict,” she said.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki on remarks by President Joe Biden that he is praying for the "right verdict" in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. pic.twitter.com/L4SU5zbLSg
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 20, 2021
Another reporter asked why Biden thought it was appropriate to weigh in on the case even though the jury is sequestered.
“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,” Psaki replied. “He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family, what a difficult time this is, what a difficult time this is for many Americans across the country who have been watching this trial very closely.”
“He did call for the ‘right verdict’ though,” the reporter pressed. “Why is it ever appropriate to have any type of characterization before the jury has a say.”
“Again, we’re going to wait for the jury to come to their conclusion and that’s when he’ll have more extensive remarks about the outcome,” Psaki replied, not really answering the question.
The reporter noted that the Biden administration has been “very clear about condemning rhetoric it sees as adding to a climate of discord.”
“Is it a double standard not condemn or speak out against comments made by Maxine Waters even if she didn’t mean to incite violence?” she asked.
Psaki defended Waters, noting that she has since “clarified her comments.” The spokeswoman went on to excuse the congresswoman’s behavior because she is “a person of color.”
“Clearly the impact of trauma, and exhaustion is on communities of color around the country more than it is on others,” Psaki explained. “The president recognizes that this is an extremely painful issue and of course sympathizes with everyone who feels the grief of George Floyd’s passing, as well as the killing of so many other people of color at the hands of law enforcement.”
Jen Psaki defends the trial tampering by Maxine Waters by saying people of color should be allowed to do so because of "the impact of trauma and exhaustion" felt from George Floyd's death is "more than it is on others," so they need to be allowed to make their feelings heard. pic.twitter.com/PCJzmJO1qp
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 20, 2021
After ten hours of deliberation, the jury has reached a verdict in the Chauvin case.
BREAKING: Jury has reached a verdict in Chauvin case, will be read today by 5pm ET
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 20, 2021
The verdict: Chauvin is found guilty of all charges: