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Report: Biden staff asking reporters to share questions ahead of briefings

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President Joe Biden’s communications staff have probed White House reporters to see what questions they plan on asking new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during briefings, The Daily Beast reports.

During a White House Correspondents Association video call last week, WHCA leaders advised reporters to not respond to the Biden team’s inquiries.

“While it’s a relief to see briefings return, particularly with a commitment to factual information, the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want,” one White House correspondent said, according to The Daily Beast. “That’s not really a free press at all.”

“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [WHCA] for them to deal with it,” another source said.

At Psaki’s debut briefing on Inauguration Day, she promised to restore regular briefings, saying she had a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press,” and that they shared “a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

So far, at each early press conference, Psaki has fielded questions from every reporter in the room.

Biden’s press team did not deny that they have been probing reporters but explained that talking to reporters is part of an effort to foster a better relationship with the press than the previous administration. The press team reportedly reaches out to reporters directly in order to avoid appearing to dodge questions during briefings.

“Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public,” a White House spokesperson reportedly said. “Part of meeting that objective means regularly engaging with the reporters who will be in the briefing room to understand how the White House can be most helpful in getting them the information they need. That two-way conversation is an important part of keeping the American people updated about how government is serving them.”

Under previous administrations, many White House reporters would gather informally in the morning to talk with the press secretaries. During these gatherings, White House communications staff could get a sense of the topics reporters were interested in that day, and would come prepared for questions during televised briefings later in the afternoon.

Eric Schultz, a former deputy press secretary in the Obama administration, told The Daily Beast that finding out what reporters are focusing on was standard procedure in most pre-Trump White Houses in order to reduce the number of questions that go unanswered during televised briefings.

The Biden administration is taking a different approach in order to restore normalcy to the briefing process, Schultz said.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Trump has chosen his 2024 running mate but hasn’t told them yet

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During a campaign stop on Saturday, former president Donald Trump announced he has chosen his running mate for Vice President; but they are unaware they have been picked by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

They will know soon, as the vice-presidential choice will be attending the debate between Trump and President Joe Biden set to take place next week, Trump said.

The first presidential debate between Trump and Biden will air on CNN in primetime for 90 minutes. Trump will be hoping Joe Biden’s age and apparent mental decline will be on display for a national audience.

National Review writes of the VP rumors thus far for the Republican ticket:

North Dakota governor Doug Burgum, Florida senator Marco Rubio, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, and Ohio senator J. D. Vance are names that have come up repeatedly in news reports detailing Trump’s vice-presidential selection process.

Burgum emerged as a vice-presidential option after running a long-shot GOP presidential campaign and becoming a surrogate for Trump upon dropping outof the 2024 primary.

“He’s very well regarded within the Trump circle,” a senior official in Trump’s orbit previously told NR regarding Burgum’s VP chances. He was one of many contenders slated to attend the Republican National Committee’s annual donor retreat in May.

National Review adds Rubio’s prospects of being Trump’s running mate are complicated by the Twelfth Amendment’s language preventing a presidential and vice-presidential candidate from having the same state of residence. Trump changed his official residency to Florida during his presidential term.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, Florida representative Byron Donalds, and New York representative Elise Stefanik are other Republicans who have been floated as potential VP selections.

Noem’s vice-presidential chances diminished significantly because of a story she told in her new memoir about killing her dog two decades ago, drawing outrage and bewilderment from across the political spectrum.

Stefanik and Donalds are two of Trump’s most prominent supporters among House Republicans.

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