CNN panel grills ex-Biden official over White House canceling briefing after Hunter conviction

A CNN panel called out former Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield after she insisted that the White House abruptly canceling its Tuesday press briefing had nothing to do with the Hunter Biden verdict.

While several people on the “CNN News Central” panel, which included co-hosts Brianna Keilar and Boris Sanchez, as well as network political commentator Shermichael Singleton, heard about the briefing cancelation and assumed it was about Tuesday’s conviction of the first son, Bedingfield played it off as a routine.

Singleton disagreed, saying, “They don’t want to deal with questions about the verdict.”

The Daily Caller flagged the exchange, which happened just hours after Biden’s guilty verdict Tuesday. President Biden’s son was found guilty on three federal gun charges by a Delaware jury and faces up to 25 years in prison, though he isn’t expected to receive the maximum penalty.

HUNTER BIDEN FOUND GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS IN GUN TRIAL

Former White House comms director Kate Bedingfield spars with CNN panelists over whether the White House canceled a recent press briefing because of the Hunter Biden verdict.

At the top of the conversation, Sanchez announced that he had just received word that the daily White House press briefing was canceled after it was initially delayed. Keilar appeared to put two and two together, remarking, “Briefing canceled, after the president’s son was convicted.”

Both co-hosts laughed and then turned to Bedingfield. Looking for answers from the former White House official, Keilar addressed her, “Alright, Kate – former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield – that’s kind of interesting. Briefing canceled.”

Bedingfield weighed in, arguing that the briefing was merely canceled because Biden recently gave an address and that there wasn’t much more news for the administration to comment on.

“Well, it‘s not uncommon to cancel the briefing after the president gives a significant set of remarks. I mean, your aim during the day is to try to get the press to cover the things you want them to cover,” she said.

The former Biden staffer continued: “So, when the president goes out, gives a speech like that on an issue where, that is meaningful to him, where he’s got a lot to talk about, where he’s laid out the accomplishments of his administration, by the way, bipartisan success he’s had in his administration — you want the focus to be there.”

Keilar wasn’t buying it. She exclaimed in response, “They’ve known all along he’s making this speech!”

Bedingfield replied, “Well, but they also didn’t know you guys were going to cover it in full, for example.”

HUNTER BIDEN ‘DISAPPOINTED’ BY GUILTY VERDICT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CALLS GUN TRIAL A ‘DISTRACTION’

Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden walk outside the federal court during his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, June 11, 2024. (Reuters/Hannah Beier)

The segment devolved into some animated crosstalk. Over the noise, Sanchez said, “We anticipated [President Biden] might talk about the huge news that happened.”

Once the crosstalk ended, Singleton contradicted Bedingfield, stating, “I love my dear friend Kate here, but we know why it was canceled. Because they don’t want to deal with questions about the verdict.”

He continued, “I understand that, and it’s okay to say, ‘Look, this is a difficult time for the president right now. We haven’t had the opportunity to digest all of this thing, we’ll get back to you guys the next day.’ Just be transparent with the American people.”

Bedingfield insisted that the White House has taken “many, many” questions about this, to which Singleton said, “Oh Kate, but not after the verdict.”

Elsewhere, fellow panelist and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger disagreed with Bedingfield, stating that the White House is having a “different” response because of the conviction.

Bedingfield disagreed, saying, “As a communications decision, I don’t think this is different. This is about keeping the focus on what the president was talking about.”

“It can be both, by the way. It can be both,” Borger interjected.

Bedingfield continued, “You want to keep the focus on what you want to keep the focus on, but you also don’t want to talk about what you don’t want to talk about yet, until you have your messaging points clear, until the president perhaps goes to Wilmington and discusses it with the family and maybe the president himself will say something and she doesn‘t want to say something before the president will say something.”

They continued their debate until Borger concluded it “raises more questions, I think, than it answers to have the White House say, ‘Nevermind, we’re not gonna talk today.’”

Gabriel Hays is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. 

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