Fact Check: Biden Administration Did NOT Blame Kamala Harris For Cocaine Found In White House

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Biden Administration Did NOT Blame Kamala Harris For Cocaine Found In White House Slyly Edited

Did the Biden administration blame Vice President Kamala Harris for the cocaine found in the White House on July 2, 2023? No, that's not true: There's no information or evidence to support that claim.

The White House has never said or suggested that the vice president was responsible for a small plastic baggie with the powdered substance found in a storage cubby there. A Secret Service investigation found no usable forensic or video evidence identifying the person responsible.

The claim appeared in a video on YouTube (archived here) published by conservative podcaster Benny Johnson on July 7, 2023, under the title "🚨 Biden Regime BLAMES KAMALA For Cocaine Found In White House | SET UP!? Kamala OFF 2024 Ticket." The video's caption said:

JOIN The Benny Brigade: https://www.bennyjohnson.com/brigade ...

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST https://link.chtbl.com/hDPO8U2P

Sign up for The Benny Newsletter: https://www.bennyjohnson.com/newsletter

Follow Benny on All of His Channels: https://www.bennyjohnson.com/socials

This is what the post looked like on YouTube at the time of writing:

Benny Show July 7 2023.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu July 27 15:31:01 2023 UTC)

The Benny Show

A few minutes into "The Benny Show" podcast, the host lays out his claim. At the 4:36 mark, a chortling Johnson said:

The White House has decided to blame the cocaine problem on Kamala Harris, the only black person in the White House.

About 11 minutes later, after discussing Hunter Biden's well-known drug addiction story at length, Johnson presents his evidence: a severely edited July 6, 2023, news report from MSNBC White House reporter Kelly O'Donnell. At 15:40, Johnson said:

Now, the White House is laundering a story that it is indeed Kamala Harris who was the user of the cocaine and it may just be Kamala Harris who brought the dime bag into the White House. Oh man, this is juicy. These people are depraved. Check this out, ladies and gentlemen, from MSNBC. Go.

Johnson then plays the O'Donnell clip, which was edited to a quarter of its original length. The video includes the reporter talking with news anchor Andrea Mitchell about the cocaine investigation at the White House:

Mitchell: Kelly, the big change is where this was found, and it was found by my observation, in a much more secure place, limited access place, and that West Wing reception area is still a publicly trafficked, frequently trafficked place, but it's down near the Situation Room, right off West Executive, down below, and normal people, just average people, just can't get in there, even with the entry from the Northwest gate.

O'Donnell: Let me bring you up to date with the reporting that I have. What we have learned is that ... There are, in fact, two West Wing entrances -- you know that, I know that -- but for the benefit of our audience, and now the investigation has progressed, they're saying the West Executive entrance, which, as you noted, is closer to the Situation Room and closer to the Navy mess where there's facilities for food and so forth, it is also next to West Executive Drive; that's where, for example, the vice president's vehicle is parked.

You can watch Johnson and the edited report below:

MSNBC report

Nowhere in O'Donnell's reporting does she say or suggest the White House blames the vice president for the cocaine that was found in a cubby on July 2, 2023. Her report barely mentions Harris, and not by name. O'Donnell merely uses the vice president's parking space as a reference point that's near the West Executive Entrance to the White House, which is close to where the cocaine was found inside the building.

If Johnson had played her full report, which runs for another three minutes, his viewers would have heard O'Donnell continue, saying:

However, it is a high-traffic area, and by that, I mean you do have people who work here in all kinds of jobs, not just political jobs -- the military facilities people who work for the operations of the White House -- and they do have the tours that go through there if they are among the private tours with staffers as sort of a sponsored member. Very high-traffic.

The four-minute report never mentions Harris by name and only referred to her that one time. Additionally, O'Donnell said multiple officials were telling her that it's unlikely forensic evidence would lead to the identification of a suspect and that no conclusive evidence would be found.

A week later on July 13, 2023, CNN was the first to report that the Secret Service had concluded its cocaine investigation with no suspect identified.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can be found here.

Lead Stories articles on claims involving podcaster Benny Johnson are here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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