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MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell and NBC White House correspondent Mike Memoli responded on Tuesday to the news that cocaine had been found at the White House — and immediately suggested it could have been left behind by a “visitor.”
The breaking news interrupted the Tuesday broadcast of “Andrea Mitchell Reports”: a more comprehensive lab panel had confirmed the field test indicating that the substance found in the West Wing of the White House over the weekend was in fact cocaine.
Lab confirms the white powder found at the White House is cocaine.
Andrea Mitchell – "I can’t even fathom anything like this having been found before in the West Wing." pic.twitter.com/XvqCMeD8Ym
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) July 5, 2023
“A formal lab has confirmed the suspicion that that white powdery substance found in the West Wing on Sunday was, in fact, positive for cocaine,” Mitchell began, noting that the initial discovery of the substance had led to a brief lockdown and evacuation of the White House over the weekend.
“Joining us now is NBC White House correspondent Mike Memoli. So, Mike, where do things stand now?” she asked. “This is so unusual. You and I have covered the White House for years. I can’t even fathom anything like this having been found before in the West Wing. And I go back to the ’70s at the White House! So this is pretty, pretty wild!”
“It’s absolutely extraordinary, Andrea!” Memoli agreed, almost immediately pivoting to suggest that the source of the cocaine likely came from outside the White House. “So to recap on the developments that we’ve been reporting on yesterday, this was found, we understand, in a highly-trafficked common area of the West Wing. It’s an area where individuals, especially visitors, individuals who may be coming for, for instance, say private tour, might have been asked to leave some of their personal belongings before heading into more sensitive areas of the West Wing.”
Memoli went on to say that the coming days would likely see an investigation into where the substance had come from — including a thorough review of all security cameras and visitor logs over the last several days.
“The big question, Andrea, is for how long had this item, which was described as a small dime-sized bag, been in this location, given the regularity, the rigorousness of these reviews, it could have been something that was found rather quickly, which would significantly narrow the universe of individuals who might have been able to bring this in,” Memoli continued, again casting doubt on the possibility that it could have come from inside the White House.
“This happened on Sunday night. This was a weekend in which the president, the first lady and his son, Hunter, and his family were at Camp David, not in the White House. So the number of staff in the building would have been significantly reduced,” he explained. “But it was a holiday weekend when many staff might have had friends and family coming to visit and might have wanted to give them tours.”