After numerous claims that he was not being investigated related to Russia the Washington Post reported that, while he was not being investigated for collusion, Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice related to his firing of Comey. The WaPo story was from multiple anonymous sources and was widely regarded by other news sources as unconfirmed, that is until the President continued his self destructive Twitter habit by admitting it was true.
You would think a direct statement from the President of the United States that he was “being investigated for firing the FBI Director” would remove any question of whether he was “being investigated for firing the FBI Director.” After all, the Trump Administration has repeatedly made clear that Trump’s Twitter statements are “official statements by the President of the United States.” So you just can’t get more official than that.
However, it appears such direct, and official statements, by the President of the United States cannot be taken at face value. Today the President’s attorney for the non-investigation investigation, Jay Sekulow, took to the various Sunday news talk shows to unequivocally declare there is no investigation targeting the President. Sekulow claimed the President was just responding to the Washington Post report, not acknowledging the truthfulness of the report. Sekulow stuck to this incredulous claim notwithstanding the plain Presidential words “I am being investigated” blaming the 140 character limitations of Twitter. The argument is particularly dishonest considering that Trump tweeted about this “witch hunt” again even after the first one.
Sekulow’s disingenuous reduction of the President’s twitter posts to the lying tripe they have long been ran into the most difficulty on the Fox News Sunday show interview. Christopher Wallace compelled a clearly flustered and frustrated Sekulow to admit he didn’t know for sure that Trump was not being investigated.
WALLACE: Well, but you don’t know that he isn’t under investigation now, do you?
SEKULOW: Well, no one’s notified us that he is. So I — I can’t read people’s minds, but I can tell you this, we have not been notified that there’s an investigation to the president of the United States. So that — nothing has changed in that regard since James Comey’s testimony.
As a starting point Sekulow is comparing legal apples to oranges here. There are two distinct possible investigations.
- That the Trump Campaign colluded with Russians to influence the election.
- That Trump fired Comey to obstruct the investigation of #1.
Comey testified there was no evidence of #1, but he most definitely left open the possibility of #2. But the point is that Fox New’s Christopher Wallace got Sekulow to admit he does not know that Trump is not being investigated. He just claims to know they don’t know if he is being investigated. Again, that’s two very different things.
But what happened next is surreal. Sekulow actually twice stated that Trump is being investigated. Again, back to the transcript which is supported by the videotape.
WALLACE: I want to ask you a direct question, does the president think that Rod Rosenstein has done anything wrong?
SEKULOW: The president has never said anything about Rod Rosenstein doing anything wrong. Here’s what — what is the legal situation here. There is a constitutional issue when you have this scenario. The president made a determination based on consult of advice. He decided ultimately. He’s the commander in chief. He gets to make that decision that James Comey had a go. That was coming, by the way, from groups right, left, and center over the last year. You — you and I know that. So there had been concern about James Comey.
It was put forward in a memorandum — that’s what the president’s referencing — from the deputy attorney general and the attorney general requesting the removal of James Comey as the FBI director. And, ultimately, that’s the president’s determination.
So here’s the constitutional threshold question, Chris. The president takes action based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office. He takes the action that they also, by the way, recommended. And now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice because the special counsel under the special counsel relations reports still to the Department of Justice. Not an independent counsel. So he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here. That’s why, as I said, no investigation .
In context, Sekulow says this while repeatedly saying there is no investigation, but he does twice say Trump is “being investigated” which is at least confusing. When Wallace points this out to him, Sekulow actually has the gall to accuse Wallace of putting words in his mouth.
WALLACE: You just said that he’s being investigated.
SEKULOW: No, Chris, I said that the — any — let me be crystal clear so you — you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the United States, period.
WALLACE: Sir, you just said two times that he’s being investigated.
SEKULOW: No. The context of the tweet, I just gave you the legal theory, Chris, of how the Constitution works. If, in fact, it was correct that the president was being investigated, he would be investigating for taking action that an agency told him to take. So that is protected under the Constitution as his article one power. That’s all I said. So I appreciate you trying to rephrase it, but I’m just being really direct with you, Chris. This is — let me be . . .
WALLACE: Wait a minute — wait a minute. Jay, and it’s not — Jay, it’s not just being investigated for firing Comey. There’s also the question of what he said to Comey when Comey was still the FBI director. So there’s more than just the fact that he fired Comey.
SEKULOW: He — Chirrs, let me be clear, you asked me a question about what the president’s tweet was regarding the deputy attorney general of the United States. That’s what you asked me. And I responded to what that legal theory would be. So I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation. I don’t think I can be any clearer than that.
The record clearly shows the words came out of Sekulow’s mouth, and were not put there by Wallace. Perhaps, in context, Sekulow spoke clumsily, contradicting his own prior statements denying an investigation. Even so, he twice plainly said Trump is being investigated, any confusion here is his fault.
Of course the real point is that Sekulow’s claims reduce Trump’s tweets (once again) to lying fake news. That’s Trump’s own attorney folks.