Attorney Jay Sekulow is part of President Donald Trump’s legal team, and on Sunday he was given the unenviable task of defending the administration’s contradictory and constantly evolving opinion on the commander-in-chief’s legal standing.
On Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union, Sekulow was asked about Donald Trump’s June 16 tweet in which he confirmed he was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An incredulous Jake Tapper asked Sekulow to explain how the administration could continue to claim Trump wasn’t the subject of an investigation despite the president’s comments about the matter.
Jake: So Trump said "I'm under investigation" even though he isn't?
Trump lawyer: The president isn't under investigation. It's that simple pic.twitter.com/BakMGggjFq
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 18, 2017
Sekulow’s argument, as best I can follow, is that Trump’s confirmation of the existence of an investigation isn’t confirmation at all, but rather a comment about a Washington Post article that confirmed the president was the subject of an investigation into obstruction of justice. Sekulow also said the Washington Post article is fake news.
“The president said ‘I am being investigated’ in a tweet, and people take his word on that,” said a visibly confused Tapper. “You’re saying that the president, when he said that, was not accurate.”
If Sekulow’s response to Tapper was a stammering mess, his answers to NBC’s Chuck Todd were even less comprehensible.
“If the president is innocent, why is he afraid of the investigation?” Todd asked Sekulow.
“He’s not afraid of the investigation,” responded Sekulow, who quickly caught himself. “There is no investigation. I want to be clear here.”
It gets better. After spending the morning flatly and unequivocally denying that Trump was the subject of any investigation, his third appearance—this time on CBS’s Face the Nation—left open the possibility that in fact, Trump could be under investigation after all.
Sekulow says Trump has not gotten notice that he is under investigation and cannot imagine the president would not be aware if he was. pic.twitter.com/vHEBPDIsIO
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 18, 2017
Host John Dickerson wanted to know how Sekulow could speak with such certainty about the absence of any investigation. “How do you know?” he asked.
“Because we’ve received no notice of investigation,” said Sekulow. “There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation.”
Dickerson didn’t drop his line of questioning, though. “Couldn’t you be under investigation and they’re just not letting you know yet?”
“Well, look, I can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it,” said Sekulow.
Of course, he’s speaking about a president who signs executive orders without knowing what’s in them, who refuses to read security briefings unless they have pretty pictures in them, who obsesses over cable news, and who spends most weekends at resorts bearing his name. But sure, nothing gets past him.