WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday that he was not briefed about the search warrants executed at Rudy Giuliani's apartment and office and learned about moves by federal investigators at the same time as the public.
“I give you my word, I was not,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with TODAY show co-anchor Craig Melvin at the White House Thursday morning.
“I made a pledge,” Biden continued. “I would not interfere in any way — order or try to stop any investigation the Justice Department had underway. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it.”
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Asked if he’s been briefed about any other investigation, Biden said, “No, and I’m not asking to be briefed — that's the Justice Department's independent judgment."
Biden said that the Trump administration “politicized the Justice Department so badly, so many of them quit, so many left.”
“That's not the role of the president to say who should be prosecuted, when they should be prosecuted, who should not be prosecuted. That’s not the role of the president. The Justice Department is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer.”
Biden’s remarks came in a wide-ranging interview a day after FBI agents executed search warrants at Giuliani's Manhattan apartment and his office to seize electronic devices. The searches signaled that prosecutors are continuing their investigation into Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's attorney.
Giuliani on Thursday told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that the DOJ "won't explain what they're investigating" and that the department "spied on me." He said the federal agents who executed the search warrants took about eight of his electronic devices, but declined to take what he claimed were hard drives belonging to Hunter Biden. Trump and allies have claimed there is evidence that show corruption in Hunter Biden's business dealings with foreign countries.
The president was also asked about comments on race made by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in the official Republican response to Biden's first address to Congress on Wednesday. Scott, the lone Black Republican senator, said he'd experienced "the pain of discrimination," but urged viewers to "Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country."
Biden was asked if he disagreed.
"No, I don't think the American people are racist. But I think after 400 years, African Americans have been left in a position where they're so far behind the eight ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity," Biden said. "I don't think America's racist, but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow and before that slavery have had a cost and we have to deal with it."