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House GOP launches White House cocaine investigation

President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
July 07, 2023

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have launched an investigation into the cocaine that was discovered at the White House over the weekend.

Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) called for the U.S. Secret Service to provide Congress with additional details related to the incident.

In a letter to United States Secret Service (USSS) Director Kimberly Cheatle, Comer demanded a briefing on the “shameful” situation.

“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating the details surrounding
the discovery of cocaine in the White House. This alarming development requires the
Committee to assess White House security practices and determine whose failures led to an
evacuation of the building and finding of the illegal substance,” Comer’s letter stated. “The Committee requests the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) provide additional information.”

“The presence of illegal drugs in the White House is unacceptable and a shameful moment
in the White House’s history,” the letter continued. “This incident has raised additional concerns with the Committee regarding the level of security maintained at the White House.”

It is unclear exactly where the cocaine was found. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that the illegal drug was discovered in a “heavily traveled” location in the West Wing.

“Where this was discovered is a heavily-traveled area where many White House West Wing – I should be even more specific – West Wing visitors come through this particular area, I just don’t have anything more to share,” Jean-Pierre said.

The White House was briefly forced to evacuate Sunday evening, after a white powder-like substance – later identified as cocaine – was discovered in a “work area” inside the West Wing, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

The person responsible for the cocaine is unlikely to be identified, according to one law enforcement official familiar with the matter, Politico reported.

Because the drug was found in a busy area where both staff and visitors could be given authorized access, the official said “it’s gonna be very difficult” to determine the source of the cocaine.

“Even if there were surveillance cameras, unless you were waving it around, it may not have been caught” on camera, the official added. “It’s a bit of a thoroughfare. People walk by there all the time.”