The White House says President Joe Biden was “not looking to influence” the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial after he said he was praying for “the right verdict.”
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This comes after Biden told reporters earlier Tuesday in the Oval he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of George Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, because the jury in the case had been sequestered.
He said he called Floyd’s family on Monday to offer prayers and “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
The president has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but has previously stopped short of weighing in on Chauvin’s trial, with White House officials saying it would be improper to speak out during active judicial proceedings.
His comments Tuesday came as his administration has been privately weighing how to handle the upcoming verdict, including considering whether Biden should address the nation and dispatching specially trained community facilitators from the Justice Department, aides and officials told The Associated Press.
The White House, meanwhile, was stepping up preparations for the upcoming verdict. Psaki said administration officials have been in contact with leaders in Minnesota and in other cities and states that saw unrest after Floyd’s death last year.
The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota have been working with local officials to support law enforcement as they prepare for the possibility of unrest after the verdict, officials said.