CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday grilled Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about whether an independent investigation into Border Patrol agents on horseback would be possible after President Joe Biden and other Democrats have already concluded that the viral interaction consisted of whipping Haitian migrants.
During Mayorkas' appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," Tapper first showed a clip of Biden responding to the images of mounted agents trying to block Haitian migrants from entering the U.S.
"I promise you, those people will pay. They will be – investigation under way now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences," Biden said.
The CNN anchor then noted that Mayorkas previously vowed to have an independent investigation but had also said the images "horrified us."
WATCH: CNN's Jake Tapper calls out the Biden administration for "patently false" descriptions of mounted Border Patrol agents in Texas.— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 26, 2021
"The nice words you said about [Border Patrol], you should probably share with President Biden—not just with me today." pic.twitter.com/yUI3c0irJ9
"How can DHS claim to have an independent investigation into these Border Patrol agents when the president says ‘those people will pay’ and you say the images ‘horrified us?'" Tapper asked.
Mayorkas responded by saying that "what the images suggest" horrified the American people but that the facts, not the public's perception, would be what is used in the investigation.
"What those images suggest, what they appeared to portray was horrifying, and that I think deserves attention," Mayorkas said. "That is quite different than fact determinations and I will tell you, I served as a federal prosecutor for 12 years, and we conducted independent investigations despite what appearances might have been and the public outcry about them."
Tapper then stated that "initial descriptions of those images were just patently false" and that video footage now shows that crucial context was missing from those photos before asking the secretary if any wrongdoing actually occurred.
Mayorkas replied by saying that he is going to allow investigators to make that determination.
Tapper then questioned whether Mayorkas and Biden can be trusted by Border Patrol to come to a fact-based conclusion about what actually occurred.
"Can the Border Patrol count on you and President Biden, who has said the people ‘will pay,’ to come to a determination based on the facts and not based on Twitter outrage?" Tapper asked.
Mayorkas responded by claiming that CBP could count on him to ensure the investigation is fair, and praised the heroism he had witnessed while working with Border Patrol agents in recent days.
"The nice words you said about them, you should probably share with President Biden, not just with me today," Tapper said at the conclusion of the interview.
"The president has echoed my sentiments many times to the men and women of CBP," Mayorkas replied.