Trump lawyer: ‘The president is not under investigation’ despite tweeting ‘I am being investigated’
UPDATE, 3:33 p.m.: On Fox News, Chris Wallace gets Trump’s lawyer to admit he has no idea whether or not Trump is under investigation.
Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, appeared on multiple talk shows Sunday morning to assure everyone that Donald Trump is not under investigation for obstruction of justice. The reason everyone thinks Trump is under investigation is a combination of a report from The Washington Post which said special counsel Robet Mueller had expanded the scope of his investigation to include obstruction of justice and the following tweet from the president himself.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
“I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” Trump wrote two days after the WaPo story broke. Here’s Sekulow trying to explain that away.
“Let me be clear, the president’s not under investigation. As James Comey said in his testimony, that the president was not the target of an investigation on three different occasions,” Sekulow told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The president is not a subject or target of an investigation. That tweet was in response to a Washington Post story that ran with five unnamed sources, without identifying the agencies they represented, saying that the special counsel had broadened out his investigation to include the president. We’ve had no indication of that. The president was responding to that particular statement from The Washington Post…So no, the president’s not under investigation. Has not been.”
Comey’s testimony doesn’t really come into play here. The conversations Comey testified about happened before Mueller was even brought on as special counsel. Comey was referring to the FBI’s investigation that he had been overseeing. The former FBI director was never in a position to speak on Mueller’s investigation, and he didn’t. More importantly, Sekulow failed to get at the heart of this issue, which is that Donald Trump personally tweeted “I am being investigated.” Tapper was on it, though.
“So the president said ‘I am under investigation’ even though he isn’t under investigation?” He asked.
“That response on social media was a response to the Washington Post piece,” Sekulow explains. “It’s that simple. The president is not under investigation.”
“Well, I wish it were that simple, but with all due respect, the president said ‘I am being investigated’ in a tweet” a baffled Tapper responds. “People take his word on that. But you’re his attorney, you’re saying that the president, when he said that, was not accurate.”
Sekulow starts to lose patience that his bullshit line isn’t going over well at this point.
“No, the president wasn’t, it was 141 characters, there’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know” Sekulow stutters. “And the president is a very effective utilization of social media. So here’s what you have: the president issued that tweet, that social media statement, based on a fake report, a report with no documented sources from the Washington Post…So the president’s response — I wanna be crystal clear here — the president’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there, but the Washington Post statement came out that morning.”
A few things on this one: This is pedantic, but Twitter’s character limit is actually 140 characters, and even so, Trump still had 29 characters to work with. On top of that, there’s no limit on the number of tweets you can send, and Trump has in the past tweeted out messages that took more than one post. In addition, the WaPo article was published on Wednesday and Trump didn’t send out that tweet until Friday. This is a hilariously bad and just factually inaccurate excuse for Trump to randomly blurt out he’s under investigation.
I respect Sekulow’s hustle however, as I assume he’s making an obscene amount of money off of this gig.