CBS News reporter Ed O'Keefe pressed Jean-Pierre on that precise point.
"Why didn't he or someone in the White House inform the American people when these documents were discovered on Nov. 2?" O'Keefe asked. "Did it have anything to do — because people are asking this part of it — did it have anything to do with the fact that the election was just a few days away?"
The press secretary, however, refused to answer the question. But O'Keefe was not deterred.
"But here's another thing: There was nothing stopping the president of the United States from disclosing the discovery of these classified documents in his former office before it was under Justice Department review," the reporter followed up. "So why didn't he disclose it?"
In response, Jean-Pierre did not answer the question and deferred to Biden's comments.
Earlier in her exchange with O'Keefe, Jean-Pierre begged him not to be "contentious," saying, "We don't need to have this kind of confrontation." She promised to answer his questions, but only ignored them.
01/11/23: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierreyoutu.be
NBC News reporter Kristen Welker later confronted Jean-Pierre over Biden's promise to maintain a "spirit of transparency" as president.
"How is it possible that the White House did not reveal the presence of these documents prior to the election when they were found?" she asked, suggesting the delayed action contradicts Biden's promise.
Jean-Pierre, however, refused to answer that question. She vowed not to "go beyond" what the White House counsel's office said on Monday and what Biden said on Tuesday while in Mexico.
When Welker pressed her point, Jean-Pierre stressed that Biden's lawyers "did the right thing" by turning the documents over to the National Archives. She still did not answer why, if the White House is being transparent and did the "right thing," the administration waited two months after the election to disclose the discovery.
Finally, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy used Biden's own words to question Jean-Pierre about the classified documents, recalling what he said about former President Donald Trump.
"On these documents: How could anyone be that irresponsible? Isn't that what his president says about mishandling classified documents?" Doocy asked.
In response, Jean-Pierre only said that Biden takes "seriously" proper handling of classified information and was "surprised" to learn that highly classified intelligence documents were stored at his private office.
Biden, of course, is so serious about classified documents that he allegedly mishandled them by retaining them in not just one, but at least two different locations. Details about the second batch of documents — including where they were stored, how many classified documents were improperly stored, and their level of classification — were not disclosed.