Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, making an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday nearly 20 years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, said Washington was committed to keeping its military presence in the country.
The 2003 invasion led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and created instability that eventually paved the way for the rise of Islamic State militants after the US withdrew its forces in 2011.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As you know, because of — he is a 2024 candidate and we are covered here by the Hatch Act, I’m just not going to comment on those — on the words that he — the speech that he made — the speech this weekend.
Q Okay. And then, just real quick —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.
Q — I know you’re probably going to say Hatch Act is restricting you in this, but is the President annoyed, frustrated with Marianne Williamson for jumping in the race ahead of him? Did he want to clear field to run against the Republican nominee in 2024?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Just not tracking that. I mean, if I had a — what is it called? — a little — a little globe here —
Q Crystal ball.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — a crystal ball that I can tell you. But I — I —
Q A Magic 8 Ball.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: A Magic 8 Ball, whatever. (Laughter.) If I could feel her aura. I just — (laughter) — I just don’t have anything. I just don’t have anything to share on that.
(Laughs.) Gosh, you guys are making me laugh now. (Laughter.)