Karine Jean-Pierre Claims Without Evidence That President Biden Has Visited The Border

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed during Wednesday’s press briefing that President Joe Biden has visited the U.S. border.

Jean-Pierre made the claim in response to a question from Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy regarding whether Biden would visit the border with potential future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

“So, look, he’s been there. He’s been to the border,” Jean-Pierre claimed without evidence. “And since he took office —”

The Washington Post previously fact-checked a claim from Biden about visiting the border and found that he only went once during “a brief drive-by” while “on a campaign swing in 2008.”

Doocy immediately interjected and asked when Biden went to the border, to which Jean-Pierre responded, “Since he took office, the — President Biden has been taking action to fix our immigration system and secure our border.”

“But, you know, that — we’re not seeing that from Republicans,” she deflected. “We’re not seeing a willingness to work with us on — on, you know, fixing a situation that’s been around for decades now.”

“Instead, they’re — they’re doing political stunts,” she claimed. “That’s what they want to do. That’s how they want to take care of this situation.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

PETER DOOCY:  Thank you, Karine.  Kevin McCarthy says that he invited President Biden down to the border.  Has the President RSVPed?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE:  To — (Laughs.)

DOOCY: Well, we know — we know the President has never been down to the border.  The possible next Speaker says that he wants him to go with him.  So, is he going to?

JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, he’s been there.  He’s been to the border.  And since he took office —

DOOCY: When — when did he go to the border?

JEAN-PIERRE:  Since he took office, the — President Biden has been taking action to fix our immigration system and secure our border.  And that’s why, on day one, he put forward an immigration — immigration reform — a piece of legislation to deal with what is currently happening at the border.

But, you know, that — we’re not seeing that from Republicans.  We’re not seeing a willingness to work with us on — on, you know, fixing a situation that’s been around for decades now.

Instead, they’re — they’re doing political stunts.  That’s what they want to do.  That’s how they want to take care of this situation.

But, in the meantime, you know, the President has secured record levels of funding for the Department of Homeland Security.  We have over 23,000 agents working to secure the border.  We’ve taken thousands of smugglers off the streets, and we’re cutting down on asylum processing times.  And the number of individuals arriving unlawfully from northern Central America and Venezuela is coming down significantly because of the actions that the President has taken.

Related: Joe Rogan Torches Karine Jean-Pierre For ‘Gaslighting’: ‘F***ing Everybody Hates You’

Sam Bankman-Fried Denies Wrongdoing In FTX Implosion During Live-Streamed New York Times Interview

New York Times financial columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin interviewed former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried after his cryptocurrency empire imploded.

FTX recently filed for bankruptcy after users discovered that trading firm Alameda Research, a company run by former Bankman-Fried love interest Caroline Ellison, had allegedly been using funds from FTX to make bets. During the live-streamed interview at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, which was attended virtually by The Daily Wire, the former billionaire denied that he intentionally commingled customers’ investments.

Sorkin told Bankman-Fried that he received multiple letters from FTX customers who accused the now-broke entrepreneur of stealing their life savings, prompting him to say that he was “deeply sorry about what happened.” After Sorkin pressed him on the alleged intertwining of funds, Bankman-Fried claimed that a “failure of oversight” on his part resulted in confusion rather than any desire to defraud investors for his own profit.

“I wasn’t running Alameda. I didn’t know exactly what was going on,” Bankman-Fried remarked. “I was nervous because of the conflict of interest of being too involved.”

The New York Times, which ran a puff piece claiming the disgraced entrepreneur’s “ambitions exceeded his grasp,” faced criticism for continuing the panel event with Bankman-Fried at the DealBook Summit, which also featured guests such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Bankman-Fried, who grew visibly nervous as the interview progressed, repeatedly insisted that the entire situation was a mistake rather than an attempt to defraud customers and investors. When Sorkin noted that media outlets have considered Bankman-Fried as a J.P. Morgan figure in the cryptocurrency space and asked whether his actions to support rival companies like BlockFi and Voyager were motivated by a desire to support his own enterprises, Bankman-Fried said that he had tried to “keep the industry stable,” but denied that his actions had an impact on FTX or Alameda Research.

BlockFi, which has since filed for bankruptcy, loaned a “couple hundred million” dollars to Alameda Research, according to Bankman-Fried, who told Sorkin that his lawyers were not particularly supportive of his decision to continue engaging with the media. In one message to Vox reporter Kelsey Piper, Bankman-Fried admitted that his persona as an “effective altruist” was largely a ruse meant to earn the trust of “woke westerners.”

Sorkin asked whether Bankman-Fried had been truthful throughout the conversation. He replied that “there are certainly times when I was acting as a representative, as a marketer for FTX.”

Bankman-Fried has indeed participated in several interviews since his company folded. When asked by cryptocurrency vlogger Tiffany Fong whether he created a backdoor that allowed him to move funds to Alameda Research without alerting other executives, the one-time wunderkind denied that he created any such mechanism. “That I can tell you is definitely not true. I don’t even know how to code,” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate responded. “I literally never even opened the code for any of FTX.”

Bankman-Fried contributed nearly $39 million during the recent midterm elections to Democratic candidates, according to data from Open Secrets, which listed him as the nation’s sixth-largest individual midterm donor. He claimed that he also contributed “about the same amount” in dark money to Republicans. “The reason was not for regulatory reasons. It was because reporters freak the f*** out if you donate to Republicans,” he told Fong.

Epstein Estate To Pay More Than $105 Million To U.S. Virgin Islands

The estate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein agreed Wednesday to pay more than $105 million in settlement claims to the U.S. Virgin Islands after Epstein allegedly ran a sex trafficking operation and caused environmental damage from the property he owned in the territory.

Epstein, who died at a federal jail in New York in August 2019, was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14. Epstein pleaded not guilty before his death.

Denise N. George, the attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands, told The New York Times in a statement from the beginning of the case that she met with three “very courageous” young women Epstein allegedly trafficked and sexually exploited on the infamous Little St. James Island.

“Our work has been inspired, humbled and fortified by the strength and courage of all of those who survived Epstein’s abuse,” George said, adding that authorities owe it the victims who were “so profoundly hurt to make changes that would help avoid future victims.”

George, whose office filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against Epstein’s estate in January 2020, settled after a year of negotiations.

Epstein’s estate must now repay more than $80 million in cash for one of his companies receiving tax benefits, which U.S. Virgin Islands officials told The Associated Press Epstein and his co-defendants “fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise.”

Officials also said the Epstein estate must pay half of the proceeds from the 70-acre Little St. James island sale, which real estate professionals have listed for $55 million, and the 160-acre Great St. James island sale for another $55 million, to the Virgin Islands.

Authorities said Epstein had ruins of colonial-era historical structures of slaves removed from Great St. James, which will cost the estate another $450,000 in environmental repairs.

“This settlement restores the faith of the people of the Virgin Islands that its laws will be enforced, without fear or favor, against those who break them,” George told NBC News. “We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking.”

Daniel Weiner, an Epstein estate attorney, told The Associated Press that co-executors deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part.

“The co-executors ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interests of the estate, including its creditors and claimants, to avoid the time, expense and inherent uncertainties of protracted litigation,” Weiner told NBC News. “The settlement is consistent with the co-executors’ stated intent and practice since their appointments to those roles — to resolve claims related to any misconduct by Jeffrey Epstein in a manner sensitive to those who suffered harm.”

Weiner further noted that Epstein’s estate paid more than $121 million to 136 victims through a compensation fund.

French Baguette Wins Special Status By U.N.

A French bakery product has been given a special status by the United Nations. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted a heritage recognition to the French baguette by placing it on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The “Artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread” was the official addition to the list.

UNESCO’s director general, Audrey Azoulay, told CNN the bread product’s newly recognized status honors “tradition,” “craftsmanship” and makes sure that the “artisanal way of baking” is “passed on to the next generation.”

“It’s kind of a way of life” Azoulay said. “There is always a boulangerie nearby, you can go and buy fresh affordable bread and you meet people, meet with bakers, it’s a very important element of social cohesion.”

“This will make people realize that this regular baguette that they know very well, is something precious,” she said. “It comes from history and it has character and it’s important to made the public aware of this, to be proud of it.”

The baguette’s nomination, which was drafted by France, pointed out that baguettes “generate modes of consumption and social practices that differentiate them from other types of bread, such as daily visits to bakeries to purchase the loaves and specific display racks to match their long shape.”

“Baguettes require specific knowledge and techniques: they are baked throughout the day in small batches and the outcomes vary according to the temperature and humidity,” it noted. 

“The baguette is consumed in many contexts, including during family meals, in restaurants, and in work and school cafeterias,” it added.

Rima Abdul Malak, the country’s culture minister, said the announcement is a “great recognition for our artisans and these unifying places that are our bakeries.”

Other selected winners include Pyrenean village winter bear festivals, German Modern Dance, manual bell ringing of Spain, “Hungarian string band tradition,” and “Festivals related to the Journey of the Holy family in Egypt.”

The economic situation has threatened to devastate businesses across the region. Recent unrest in Europe has led to fears about bakeries going out of business. After Russia invaded Ukraine, energy costs soared in Europe, creating a dire situation for many citizens, families, and organizations, as they grapple with high prices and an upcoming winter. 

“I’m so, so afraid of losing my life’s work,” one baker said, per The Washington Post. The electrical costs for her bakery have gone up to $7,900 from $2,500, with the price of main ingredients increasing as well. 

“It makes me sick,” she said, adding that if the worst case scenario pans out, “we are all going to have to close our bakeries. There will be no more bread in France.”

Top GOP Senator Demands Biden Admin Fire, Revoke Clearance Of ‘Gender-Fluid’ Official Charged With Stealing Luggage

A top GOP Senator called for the immediate ouster of the “gender-fluid” Biden administration official who reportedly stole a woman’s luggage at an airport.

In a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Tuesday, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso (R-WY) demanded the immediate ouster of Sam Brinton, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Department of Energy. Barrasso also demanded that Brinton’s security clearance be immediately revoked. Brinton was charged with felony theft last month after allegedly stealing a woman’s luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport.

“It is in the interest of both the Department’s mission and our national security that the Deputy Assistant Secretary’s clearance be immediately revoked,” Barrasso wrote. “Additionally, the Department should undertake all necessary steps to terminate their employment immediately.”

“[I]t is imperative executive branch officials are free of a history of conduct unbecoming of federal service,” Barrasso continued, citing a letter he had previously written expressing his concerns about the Department of Energy’s process for granting security clearances. “The Department’s inability to respond to my concerns regarding the DOE’s clearance process is indicative of an egregious inattention to potential insider threats within the Department and the greater safety of the American public.” Barrasso demanded a full review of the Department’s clearance screening process by February 1.

Barasso also attached a list of questions for Granholm. The first line of questioning was related specifically to Brinton. First, Barrasso asked the secretary to “describe in detail any security issues that arose in the course of Sam Brinton’s background investigation and security clearance adjudication.”

a. Who was ultimately responsible for the approval of Sam Brinton’s security
clearance?
b. Does the Department plan to launch its own internal review of its clearance
process as a result of the charges brought against Sam Brinton?
c. Beyond administrative leave, what punitive actions has the Department taken as a
result of this incident?
i. Please describe in detail the disciplinary process when employees are
found to have engaged in criminal activity.

Brinton was charged with felony theft in October after he allegedly stole a woman’s luggage at the Minneapolis-St.Paul airport. Records and video surveillance showed the suitcase belonged to a female passenger who flew into the MSP on a Delta flight from New Orleans. According to a report, she notified law enforcement that her bag and the contents inside — valued at around $2,325 — had gone missing in the baggage claim area on the same day Brinton allegedly took the luggage.

Nearly three weeks later, the criminal complaint alleges that video surveillance footage from Dulles International Airport in Virginia captured Brinton returning from Europe with the bag on October 9.

Authorities contacted Brinton that same day, asking if he “took anything that did not belong” to him.

“Not that I know of,” Brinton allegedly responded, but later admitted he took the bag that allegedly had clothes inside belonging to him.

“If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual. That was my clothes when I opened the bag,” he told police, according to the complaint.

Brinton is scheduled to appear in court on December 19 in Hennepin County.

Brandon Drey contributed to this report.

Wednesday Afternoon Update: CNN Layoffs, Disney Denies It’s Political, Killer Robots In San Francisco

This article is a companion piece to today’s Morning Wire Afternoon Update. To listen to the podcast version, click here.

Senate Codifies Same-Sex Marriage

The Senate voted Tuesday on legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages, moving Congress closer to passing the bill enshrining both into federal law. Twelve Republicans and 49 Democrats supported the bill, but opponents like Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), say the bill as currently written does not protect religious liberties.

U.S. House Passes Bill To Avoid Rail Strike

The U.S. House passed an urgent bill today in hopes of avoiding a nationwide rail strike. The bill would bind companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached in September but rejected by some of the 12 unions involved. The measure heads to the Senate, and if approved will head to President Joe Biden — who has urged the Senate to move quickly.

Disney Denies Politics

Disney CEO Bob Iger remarked during a town hall event with employees that he wants to advance social causes in a more subdued fashion. The comment comes after the entertainment giant faced public scrutiny earlier this year. Iger also denied that the company’s previous actions amounted to political activism.

“I think there’s a misperception here about what politics is, I think that some of the subjects that have proven to be controversial, as it relates to Disney, have been branded political and I don’t necessarily think they are,” Iger said. “I don’t think when you are telling stories and attempting to be a good citizen of the world that that’s political.”

Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.

Lethal Robots In San Francisco

This week, San Francisco granted the city’s police department permission to deploy potentially lethal robots in emergency situations.

Police noted that the remotely-controlled machines will not have firearms, but could have explosive devices “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects” in life-threatening situations.

New Democratic Leadership

House Democrats voted unanimously on Wednesday for hard-left Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to take over for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the new House Minority Leader. Jeffries ran unopposed. Pelosi announced she would not seek re-election to party leadership earlier this month.

Layoffs At CNN

CNN CEO Chris Licht announced a wave of layoffs this week amid “a recalibrated reporting strategy.” The network will first notify contributors Wednesday, then full-time staff starting Thursday.

“It will be a difficult time for everyone,” Licht wrote in a memo to staff. The news network is reportedly attempting to change its editorial standards to be seen as more neutral.

Earlier this week, CNN anchor Don Lemon pushed back on the claim that the network had a liberal bias when asked about the changes by Stephen Colbert.

“The word on the street is that you guys aren’t allowed to be liberal anymore. Is that, is that the case?” Colbert asked.

“I don’t think we ever were liberal,” Lemon shot back.

“What?” Colbert said, appearing to be confused.

“Yes, I don’t think we ever were,” Lemon insisted.

Colbert pushed back, saying that it wasn’t really him saying that Licht wasn’t allowing anchors to be liberal: “That’s the people out there saying that he’s not letting you be liberal anymore.”

“Well, listen, I think that, I think what Chris is saying is that he wants Republicans, sensible Republicans,” Lemon explained, arguing that the new direction was more about keeping people “comfortable” than about choosing a side. “But also, by the nature of what we do, we have to hold people to account. And so that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going liberal or conservative or whatever. It just means that we are doing what we do. And that’s good journalism.”

Explosion At Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, Spain

An explosion at the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, Spain, early Wednesday reportedly injured one person. A Ukrainian spokesperson said an explosive device was “hidden” in an envelope that detonated inside the embassy. Local authorities are investigating the incident. No person or group has claimed responsibility.

Woman Sues Over Homemade Mac And Cheese

And a woman is suing Kraft for $5 million in a lawsuit alleging that the company’s macaroni and cheese product takes longer than the promised 3.5 minutes to make it.

To listen to the audio version of this podcast, click here. And for more in-depth discussion of the biggest stories of the day, listen to the latest full episode of Morning Wire every morning.