White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is getting raked of the coals after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report documented the fact that she blatantly lied to the media and the American people.
But while the coverage of her comments include sharp criticism — including calls for her to resign — it’s actually being more generous to Sanders than she deserves.
Mueller’s report makes clear that when Sanders told the press that “countless” FBI employees told her they were glad President Donal Trump fired Director James Comey, she was just making things up:
Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from “countless members of the FBI” was a “slip of the tongue.” She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Corney was a comment she made “in the heat of the moment” that was not founded on anything.
Some press accounts are claiming that Sanders admitted that she was lying. But while the report makes clear that she was lying, Sanders never admitted to that. In fact, the only reasonable interpretation is that Sanders lied to Mueller.
Her claim about “countless members of the FBI” talking to her was not a “slip of the tongue.” A slip of the tongue is something you do by accident, unintentionally. But when you watch the video of her remarks, it is absolutely clear that she is not making a mistake. She is actively telling a lie. When she is pressed on the lie, she doubles down:
Mueller’s report said Sarah Huckabee Sanders told investigators she made comments to reporters that were “not founded on anything.” Here’s that moment 👇 pic.twitter.com/cqrnTqKDLa
— POLITICO (@politico) April 18, 2019
And as the report noted, she repeated these baseless claims again. This is not what happens when someone makes a “slip of the tongue,” like calling a friend by the wrong name or swearing when you shouldn’t.
Now, it’s important also to be clear that, while Sanders clearly lied to Mueller, and while lying to Mueller is a crime, it doesn’t follow that she should have been indicted, as some of her most vigorous critics might claim. Lies have to be demonstrable and material to the investigators to be charged. And while her lies were about a matter that was important to the investigation — Trump’s motives for firing Comey are key to the obstruction of justice investigation — the difference between Sanders making a mistake with the press and actively lying to the press do not plausibly constitute a serious enough distinction to investigators to be worth charging. Michael Cohen’s lies, which reduced the length of time the Trump Tower Moscow deal was being negotiated by about six months, by contrast, were relevant to the nature of those negotiations in ways that are material to the investigation. And it’s important for prosecutors to distinguish between egregious lies that are meant to divert the purpose of an investigation and white lies that allow one to save face without changing the bottom-line conclusion.
Nevertheless, in the public accounting of what went on during the investigation, it’s important to be forthright about what happened. Sanders not only lied to the public, but she lied to the special counsel.
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‘That’s a Lie!’ MSNBC’s Hayes Destroys Kayleigh McEnany for Blatantly False Claim About Trump’s COVID Tests
MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Thursday night played a clip of then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany discussing former President Donald Trump’s timeline of COVID-19 test results after he was diagnosed with the virus last year.
Hayes played the clip during a report on former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’s claim that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 26, prior to his first debate with President Joe Biden.
“All of the evidence points to Trump having COVID, knowing he had COVID, and spending a week spreading it around while covering it up and refusing to admit he’s sick,” Hayes concluded.
He went on to recall that after Trump finally announced he had COVID on Oct. 2, White House officials were “so sketchy” about when he had last tested negative — and then he played the clip of McEnany “trying to evade this simple question” on Oct. 4.
McEnany was responding to a reporter’s question about whether Trump had been tested prior to the debate on Sept. 29, or before a fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Oct. 1.
“I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps of every time the president is tested,” McEnany said. “He’s tested regularly, and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster.”
“Again, I’m not giving a detailed readout of his testing, but it’s safe to say his first positive test was upon return, or at least after, Bedminster, that trip,” McEnany added.
“That’s a lie. We now know, that’s a lie. That clip there is a lie,” Hayes said, recalling that at the time, “the squirrelliness around this was hard to ignore.”
PBS News White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor agreed, saying, “When I watched Kayleigh lie there, it just reminded me of all the different times she lied, so many times, from the podium, from the White House lawn, from the stakeout location where she is in that clip.”
“It really just underscores that this was an administration that was never really playing it straight with the American people,” Alcindor said.
Trump Issues Stunningly False Statement Criticizing Biden for ‘Attack’ on US Oil Reserves
Donald Trump, the disgraced, former president who is reportedly planning a third campaign, on Tuesday released an exceptionally false statement criticizing President Joe Biden for taking action to combat increasing gas and home heating oil prices.
President Biden Tuesday morning announced he has authorized 50 million barrels of oil to be sold from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserves, a move that should help lower oil and gas prices that have risen because of OPEC+ policies. Biden is making the move in conjunction with similar moves by five other countries: China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K.
“We expect the industry to be passing through these savings to consumers as quickly as possible,” a White House official said, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
“The president stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic,” the White House added.
Trump, in a statement released to the press, outright lied about Biden’s move, and about his own performance and that of other U.S. Presidents.
“For decades our Country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up. I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. Those reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else,” Trump falsely claimed.
As The New York Times’ Peter Baker notes, the Strategic Oil Reserves (technically the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,) were far from empty when Trump took office, but they were far less full when he left:
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump took office: 695 million barrels
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump left office: 638 million barrelshttps://t.co/P4esCfDbNB
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) November 23, 2021
That’s not the only lie Trump told.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is authorized to hold up to 714 million barrels (in 2009 it was 727 million barrels), so they were nearly full when Trump took office. He also exposed his ignorance about how the federal government “buys” the oil. The oil is effectively traded to the government as payment (royalties) for drilling leases so presidents not wanting to “pay the price of filling them up” is false as well.
Here’s a graph from the U.S. government showing how many barrels of oil are in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves, starting in 1980. At no time were they “low or virtually empty,” not ever. The chart is highlighted to indicate the day Trump was sworn in to office:
The Reserves have been tapped about 20 times since they were first created in 1975, including to reduce the deficit in 1996 and 1997, in 2011 during the Arab Spring, and as loans to oil companies.
‘We Literally Ran Out of Toilet Paper’: ‘Ghoul’ Kellyanne Conway Slammed for Lying ‘No Supply Chain Crisis’ Under Trump
Kellyanne Conway is being criticized and mocked after lying that the U.S. saw no supply chain crisis under Donald Trump.
“I worked in that White House for four years,” the former Senior Counselor to the President said on Fox News’ “Hannity” Monday night. “We never even heard of a such of a thing. There was no supply chain crisis.”
“I worked in that White House for four years. We never even heard of a such of a thing. There was no supply chain crisis” pic.twitter.com/UPmLRFoivJ
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 9, 2021
People on social media went ballistic, remembering all the products they could not get, including essentials.
“Nurses were wearing goddamn trash bags,” said one Twitter user.
A former senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, Jesse Ferguson, went off on Conway: “Doctors and nurses couldn’t get masks and gloves,” he tweeted. “Americans couldn’t even get toilet paper. This is another set of Alternative Facts cooked up at the Bowling Green Massacre.”
Calling bullshit on people refusing to be honest about what last year was like. It wasn’t subtle. Trump crashed america. Bread lines. Millions unemployed. Thousands dying of Covid every day. Unrest in the streets. A lawless maniac prez trying to get generals to attack the people
— Luke Zaleski (@ZaleskiLuke) November 9, 2021
Really, @KellyannePolls? You never heard of a supply crisis while you were in the White House?
Millions of Americans had to scour stores to find toilet paper to wipe their asses, and you were not aware of it?
Come down from you elitist ivory tower.
— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) November 9, 2021
“Except when you couldn’t buy toilet paper. Or canned goods. Or dehydrated food. Or masks. Or milk. Or flour,” tweeted Mark Banker.
You all remember the thousands of cars sitting sometimes for days in line to get food at the pantries? I do. I’d say that’s far worse than any supply chain disruption where you have to go to a different store to get the item you want. https://t.co/Fab29k2zER
— Րυɱ૦Ր Һคς ɿ੮ 🏴 (@BrandiLynn4Ever) November 9, 2021
It’s not that they never heard of a supply chain crisis. It’s that they actively ignored the supply chain crisis developing during their admin. Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, drinks & food problems. America went from a fast-food culture to grocery oriented culture overnight. https://t.co/hSUxqu5cMe
— Russell Foster for Congress TX-04 (@RussellFosterTX) November 9, 2021
“Most people will mention the toilet paper drama, but I remember Doctors and Nurses begging for PPE and Trump went on TV to call them liars and thieves, and how many of them died as they caught a virus they might not have if they had the correct equipment. This woman is a ghoul,” said another Twitter user.
I see Kellyanne is claiming the last administration “never even heard of a such of a thing. There was no supply chain crisis.” Umm pic.twitter.com/TEKakWpLLU
— Billy Freeland 🚴♂️🚠 (@BillyFreelandNY) November 9, 2021
— Kellyanne Conway has a bad memory:
TRUMP’S SUPPLY CHAIN CRISIS
• toilet paper
• PPE gear (masks & gloves & ventilators)
• cars lined up for food
• hand sanitizer
• rubbing alcohol
• hydrogen peroxide
• covid tests
• vaccines https://t.co/1PflUzP0FW pic.twitter.com/cguCHWZyEx
— 🎶🎹—((( Fredàé )))—🎹🎶 (@fredifredae) November 9, 2021
people were wiping their asses with coffee filters, kellyanne https://t.co/Lroc2hf41W
— kilgore trout, uatx professor of turnip studies (@KT_So_It_Goes) November 9, 2021
We literally ran out of toilet paper. https://t.co/5k3LE3yHmX
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) November 9, 2021
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