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.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Marco Rubio: ‘Not a Crime’ to Break Federal Law by Taking Top Secret National Security Documents From the White House
In a rare Fox News moment, host Bret Baier reported that many are concerned about the lack of Republican “alarm” over Donald Trump absconding with at least 15 cartons of documents and other items, some of which were classified, or even “top secret” classified, and storing them in his suite at Mar-a-Lago, compared to the massive coverage the media gave the Hillary Clinton email story.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is the Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, and also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, responded by saying “it’s not a crime” to break federal law – the Presidential Records Act of 1978, in this case, by removing the documents or flushing them down the toilet.
It seems odd that the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee would be unaware of federal laws about retention of presidential documents, especially handling of classified and top-secret national security documents.
The Florida Republican also suggested Trump had turned over all the missing documents, which is false.
Rubio began by claiming he doesn’t know what’s true because “they” have made up so many stories about Trump “over the years.”
He goes on to suggest, apparently erroneously, that Hillary Clinton’s treatment of classified documents was pleaded in a federal court case.
Rubio: The documents that were at Mar-a-Lago by all accounts were turned over. Look if the process wasn’t followed then there needs to be something that happens about that. It’s not a crime I don’t believe pic.twitter.com/gFMxqSBxHE
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 14, 2022
‘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.
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
Chasten Buttigieg Stunned as Nicolle Wallace Reports New DHS Warning Lists LGBTQ People as ‘Targets of Potential Violence’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM3 days ago
Florida Sheriff Angry School Kids No Longer Fear Having Their Behinds ‘Torn Off’ Vows to Be Their ‘Worst Nightmare’
- BREAKING NEWS2 days ago
‘The Law Is Clear’: Appeals Court Rules Trump Handpicked Judge Should Never Have Appointed Special Master
- News1 day ago
Fox News Chief Lachlan Murdoch to Be Deposed in $1.6 Billion Dominion Defamation Case
- News3 days ago
‘I Thought He Was Going to Beat Me’: Yet Another Herschel Walker Accuser Steps Forward
- News2 days ago
Right Wing Social Media Platform Parler Announces Kanye West Will No Longer Buy It in ‘Interest of Both Parties’
- News2 days ago
82-Year-Old Black Woman Arrested and Handcuffed by Alabama Police Over $77 Unpaid Trash Bill
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘This Is Nazism’: Americans Outraged After Kanye West Praises Hitler – ‘This Is Not a Clown Show. It’s Dangerous’