While the powdery substance discovered by the Secret Service at the West Wing of the White House on Sunday has been confirmed to be cocaine, questions linger about how the drug got into the building amid the strict security measures that are in place.
The Secret Service said Wednesday they are continuing to investigate “CocaineGate,” but an official familiar with the investigation told Politico the “culprit” is “unlikely” to be determined given that it was discovered in a highly trafficked area of the West Wing.
Asked what the chances were of cracking the case, an official said “it’s gonna be very difficult for us to do that because of where it was.”
“Even if there were surveillance cameras, unless you were waving it around, it may not have been caught” by the cameras, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given that it’s an ongoing investigation. “It’s a bit of a thoroughfare. People walk by there all the time.”
The Hazmat team initially reported that the “dime sized baggie” of cocaine was discovered in the White House library, “which is part of the executive residence two floors below the first family’s living quarters, but is also a room open to public tours,” the Daily Mail reported. The discovery led to emergency services shutting down 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Audio of Hazmat team finding cocaine at Biden's White House pic.twitter.com/dYuSDkVOw7
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) July 4, 2023
Later officials said the contraband was in found in a “cubby” in “a work area” of the West Wing, which is attached to the mansion that houses the president and his family, the Oval Office, the cabinet room, the press briefing room and offices for staff.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer slammed the “work area” narrative, calling it “gibberish.”
“With the exception of the WH Mess and the bathrooms, the entire West Wing is a work area,” Fleischer wrote on Twitter. “Where exactly was the cocaine found? In whose office? In the Sit Room? In the private office next to the Oval?”
What gibberish. A West Wing “work area”?
With the exception of the WH Mess and the bathrooms, the entire West Wing is a work area. Where exactly was the cocaine found? In whose office? In the Sit Room? In the private office next to the Oval?
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 5, 2023
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday that Joe Biden was briefed on the incident and stressed that the area where the cocaine was supposedly discovered is “heavily traveled” by visitors.
“When it comes to visitors to the West Wing, they come for many reasons, obviously we do have West Wing tours that occur here on campus,” she said, adding tours took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the Bidens were out of town.
KJP doubles down on blaming the cocaine being found at the White House on tourists: "Where this was discovered is a heavily-traveled area where many White House — Wing Wing, I should be even more specific — West Wing visitors come through this particular area." pic.twitter.com/n7bnQNRTGq
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 5, 2023
“There’s absolutely ZERO chance anyone other than a family member brought that cocaine inside the White House complex,” wrote former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino on Twitter. “No chance that would make it past the mag/security checkpoints. Family bypasses those.”
The discovery came two days after Hunter Biden—widely alleged to have beaten his crack-cocaine drug habit—was seen at the White House.
“Does anybody really believe that the COCAINE found in the West Wing of the White House, very close to the Oval Office, is for the use of anyone other than Hunter and Joe Biden?” former President Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social. “But watch, the Fake News Media will soon start saying that the amount found was “very small,” and it wasn’t really COCAINE, but rather common ground up Aspirin, and the story will vanish. Has Deranged Jack Smith, the crazy, Trump hating Special Prosecutor, been seen in the area of the COCAINE? He looks like a crackhead to me!”
In a subsequent post Wednesday, Trump wrote: “Where are the White House SECURITY TAPES, like the ones I openly and happily gave to Deranged Jack Smith, which will quickly show where the Cocaine in the White House came from??? They already know the answer, but probably don’t like it!”
Hunter Biden went to Camp David with his father for the long holiday weekend and then joined the family at the White House Tuesday to watch the 4th of July fireworks.
Americans are wondering what Hunter Biden was doing during a party at the White House pic.twitter.com/006gS2oavy
— Spriter Team (@SpriterTeam) July 5, 2023