In the first White House press briefing after the July 4 holiday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was peppered with questions about the cocaine discovered in the White House over the weekend.
Jean-Pierre refused to say where precisely the cocaine was found, instead, referring all questions to the Secret Service.
The Washington Post first reported on Monday that a uniformed Secret Service officer discovered cocaine during a routine search of the White House over the weekend.
In the initial reporting, it was not clear where in the White House the cocaine was found or how it was packaged.
By Wednesday, administration officials claimed that the cocaine was discovered near the West Wing lobby, an area that is part of the White House tour, the implication being that the cocaine could have been left by a member of the public.
But on Thursday, NBC News reported that officials involved in the inquiry said the baggie of cocaine was not found in the West Wing lobby, but near the West Executive entrance between the lower-level lobby and foyer. This entrance is on the level below the West Wing offices in the same area as the Situation Room.
While forensic work continues on the baggie, investigators say they may never be able to determine who left the cocaine.
But in a Twitter thread Thursday evening, Utah Senator Mike Lee disputed the claim that the Secret Service won’t be able to figure out how the cocaine got there, arguing that this area of the White House is “heavily secured” and “constantly surveilled.”
Lee also notes that this particular entrance is only used by White House staff and those with “preapproved appointments to the West Wing,” and everyone must go through a multi-layered security screening to enter.
According to Senator Lee, the entrance is completely covered by surveillance cameras and every visitor who entered must empty their pockets during screening, making it unlikely that the Secret Service would miss a baggie of cocaine.