Rod Rosenstein, Jay Leno chat at correspondents' weekend brunch
© Judy Kurtz

Some high-profile Trump officials helped celebrate the First Amendment on Saturday at an annual brunch ahead of the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE has directed members of his administration to stay away from the main event itself, but plenty of aides have attended parties this weekend surrounding the dinner.

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayConway clashes with Pelosi after Trump infrastructure blowup 'Cover-up' talk enrages Trump, who threatens to end work with Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump blows up meeting after Pelosi 'cover up' remarks MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE were eyed alongside special guest Jay Leno at the Garden Brunch on Saturday.

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The daytime soiree at the Beall-Washington House in Georgetown featured a who's who of co-hosts, including Tammy Haddad, Hilary Rosen, Jean and Steve Case, Mark and Sally Ein, Jennifer Dunn, Zac Moffatt, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale, Franco Nuschese and Fritz Brogan.

The packed, invite-only event drew some surprising pairings, with Rosenstein seen chatting with former "Tonight Show" host Leno, while Conway posed for photos with Rosen, a Democratic strategist.

Earlier this week, the White House had instructed members of the Trump administration to forgo attending Saturday's WHCA dinner at the Washington Hilton. Trump — who's referred to the "fake news media" as the "enemy of the people" — said he planned to skip the lawmaker and journalist-filled dinner for the third year in a row.

In remarks at the brunch, CNN host Don LemonDon Carlton LemonTrump biographer: He believes in 'genetic superiority' and does not 'respect most people' CNN's Don Lemon asks if Rosenstein is a 'double agent type' CNN celebrates correspondents' weekend with New Orleans-themed brunch MORE told the crowd his response to people who've asked him about "certain people not being here today and not showing up for the White House Correspondents' dinner."

"If you're not here to celebrate America and the Constitution, then you don't need to be in these rooms," Lemon said.

At the brunch bash, Leno surprised U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angela Morales-Biggs with some new wheels. The Purple Heart recipient asked if Leno was joking when he presented her the keys to a new Nissan Pathfinder — a gift sponsored by Wells Fargo and Jones Junction auto group.

"No, you think I'm a comedian that I'm joking?" Leno exclaimed to Morales-Biggs.

Leno, a well-known car enthusiast, told ITK that there have been a few car fanatics in Congress that he could talk shop with.

"[Late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain says Ben Carson should be developing brain cancer treatment, not working at HUD Graham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats Pelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award MORE (R.Ariz.)] used to come to my garage. He borrowed my Corvette — laid a big strip of rubber on the front of the garage one day," Leno, who said the late lawmaker owned a '59 Corvette, recalled with a smile. "[Former Vice President Biden] come out to the garage, he poked around."

Also spotted at the event: Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodDem rep: 'Evidence is clear' that migrant child deaths are 'intentional' Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad campaign to protect 20 House Dems Booker, Ayanna Pressley introduce bill taking aim at black maternal death rates MORE (D-Ill.), former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, CNN anchor Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Romney: Justin Amash 'reached a different conclusion' than I did on impeachment Kamala Harris: Time to take 'serious look at breaking up Facebook' MORE — who arrived with a tote bag filled with copies of "Raise Your Hand," a book written by his 11-year-old daughter, Alice Paul Tapper — former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers Castro to strike with McDonald's employees in North Carolina MORE (D-Md.), "House of Cards" star Michael Kelly, CNN's Kate Bolduan, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Heather Podesta, former Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), Betsy Fischer Martin, Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellDemocrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure Dems walk Trump trade tightrope Pompeo, Army chief of staff attend ceremony honoring Bob Dole MORE (D-Mich.), NBC News' Ali Velshi, CNN's Kate Bennett and David Rubenstein.