A new twist has emerged in the investigation of the cocaine discovered at the White House on Sunday – it was actually found in a different location.
The bag of powder was found in a cubby near the White House’s West Executive entrance, not the formal West Wing lobby, NBC News reported citing multiple sources.
That entrance – which is in the West Wing but on the floor below the lobby – is also a heavily trafficked area, a description White House officials have used as a way to explain their doubts the culprit will be found.
Numerous details about the investigation have been changed. Originally, dispatchers sent to the White House on Sunday to investigate the substance said it was found in the library. Then it was reported to be in the West Wing lobby.
New details reveal the cocaine at the White House was found near the White House’s West Executive entrance – above President Joe Biden walks with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan across West Executive Avenue in October 2021 with the West Executive entrance to the White House visible behind them
Now it’s reported to be a floor below the lobby, in an area used by staff, officials, visitors and VIPs.
The West Executive Entrance sits on West Executive Drive – the driveway between the West Wing of the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. That drive is where Vice President Kamala Harris’ motorcade parks and where senior staff have parking spaces.
Senior staff and the vice president go to work in the West Wing through that door.
It’s also the entrance used by VIPs for their private meetings in the West Wing – Kim Kardashian used it when she had White House meetings during Donald Trump’s administration.
Other officials, visitors and those on West Wing tours also use that entry way, which sits on the same floor as the Situation Room.
The investigation continues into the discovery of the cocaine and it is expected to be wrapped up by Monday, NBC reported.
The Secret Service is leading the probe, including looking at security cameras and visitor logs. The agency also is carrying out fingerprint and DNA analysis of a baggie.
And administration officials are downplaying the chances of finding the person who left it in one of the most secure areas of the White House.
The cocaine was said to be found in the West Wing lobby of the White House – seen above in 2017 after a renovation project
The West Wing lobby (above) is one floor above the West Executive Entrance
An original dispatch call said the substance was found in the White House library (above)
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre implied in her daily briefing on Wednesday that a member of the public left the Schedule A substance in a ‘heavily-traveled area’ of the West Wing – the office space that includes the Oval Office and an area for staff.
Despite repeated questions, she refused to get into ‘hypotheticals’ about the investigation and insisted the Secret Service would find the culprit who abandoned the drugs while Biden and son Hunter were in Camp David for the weekend
The substance was found during a routine Secret Service sweep on Sunday evening and tested positive as a drug.
Jean-Pierre noted the West Wing sees a lot of foot traffic on any given day.
The West Wing is the activity center for the White House. Not only do West Wing tours go through the area, but any officials who have appointments with senior White House staff or the president check in at the lobby.
‘This is a heavily, heavily trafficked – heavily traveled to be more accurate – area of the campus of the White House. And it is where visitors to the West Wing come,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘I just don’t have anything else – I’m not going to speculate on who it was.’
She also pointed out West Wing tours – which can be conducted by staff – were conducted over the weekend, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And she said the White House was not involved in the investigation, expressing confidence that the Secret Service would get the job done.
‘We have confidence that the Secret Service is going to get to the bottom of this,’ she said.
The West Executive Entrance (see behind President Biden and his advisers – it has the tent over it) sits on West Executive drive, the driveway between the White House and Eisenhower Executive Office Building where Vice President Kamala Harris’ motorcade parks
The West Executive Entrance is on the same floor as the Situation Room, seen above during President Donald Trump’s administration – Trump and his advisers sit around its table
The discovery of the substance on Sunday led to a brief closure of the White House complex on Sunday. Biden and his family were not at the White House then.
The Bidens, along with their son Hunter and various grandchildren, spent the holiday weekend at Camp David, returning to Washington DC on Tuesday for a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn.
The controversy proved a shadow on the holiday as questions remain about how the substance entered the White House and who may have brought it.
The West Wing area includes the Oval Office, offices for the president’s executive staff, Cabinet Room, Roosevelt Room and the press briefing room where dozens of members of the White House press corps gather for work every day.