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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‘I Barely Knew Him’: Trump Totally Disavows His Former Communications Director Now That He’s Turned Against Him
President Donald Trump promised Americans he knew and would hire only the best people – after a rigorous selection process – to fill his administration. That quickly turned out to be false. Not only has he hired scores of unqualified people for key roles, he has had the highest turnover of any president in history, and has left hundreds of critical positions unfilled. Trump also blames all his failures on his staff, or other outside forces – every one else but Trump is to blame.
When hiring new members to his team, he portrays them as the greatest, someone who will help fix everything.
Once someone leaves or is fired, he quickly disavows them – especially if they turn against him.
Remember George Papadopoulos, the man who was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, the man whose actions in part drove the FBI to initiate an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia? Team Trump quickly dismissed him as someone the president had never met (false) and who was basically a “coffee boy,” as reports showed.
Now Trump is disparaging Anthony Scaramucci, an investment banker who has praised and defended Trump for years, until even he could no longer do so. Trump hired Scaramucci as his Communications Director. After an expletive-filled conversation with a reporter, then White House chief-of-staff John Kelly fired him less than two weeks later.
Scaramucciremained loyal to the president, but has recently trashed Trump as “crazy” and “narcissistic,” and called on the left to help deprogram Republicans from the “cult” of Trump.
Rather than ignore it, Trump on launched an attack on his former friend.
Monday morning Trump called Scaramucci “highly unstable,” “a mental wreck,” and a “nut job.”
“I barely knew him,” Trump said, which is false but were it to be true would once again prove how Trump lied about knowing and hiring “the best people.”
Scaramucci, Trump tweeted, “wheedled his way into my campaign.”
He also claims Scaramucci “abused” staff members, which would be news if true.
Trump then says Scaramucci “got fired,” as if Trump isn’t the President and head of the Executive Branch.
Just one more “coffee boy” at the upper echelons of Team Trump.
UPDATE: 9:21 AM ET –
The tweets have just been deleted and reposted, presumably to effectively “erase” the negative responses, a tactic the Trump administration has been using recently. Here are the replacement tweets:
….got fired. Wrote a very nice book about me just recently. Now the book is a lie? Said his wife was driving him crazy, “something big” was happening with her. Getting divorced. He was a mental wreck. We didn’t want him around. Now Fake News puts him on like he was my buddy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ Republican Steve Scalise Says in Lie Blaming Democrats for Trump Jr. Subpoena
Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is lying about a subpoena issued to Donald Trump Jr. by the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Scalise ironically says about the subpoena, issued by Chairman Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, to the President’s eldest son.
“Democrats are subpoenaing @DonaldJTrumpJr based on the testimony of Michael Cohen—a man who lied to Congress multiple times. This is how low they are willing to sink to harass @realDonaldTrump & his entire family. The #MuellerReport is done. Move on!” Scalise tweeted.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti mocked the Minority Whip:
Actually it appears you can just make stuff up, because a Republican committee subpoenaed @DonaldJTrumpJr, not “Democrats.”
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 10, 2019
Scalise, after substantial mockery from Mariotti and others, went on to delete his lie.
Steve Scalise apparently deleted this tweet, which falsely blamed Democrats for the Donald Trump Jr. subpoena pic.twitter.com/gxFJK7EBvV
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) May 10, 2019
Internet Slams ‘Repugnant Liar’ Sarah Sanders for Bonkers ‘Robot’ Rant Doubling Down on Comey Lies
On Friday, confronted by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for repeatedly lying that “countless” FBI agents praised President Donald Trump’s decision to fire James Comey, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders snapped.
“It was in the heat of the moment, meaning that it wasn’t a scripted talking point,” she said. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t a robot like the Democrat [sic] Party.”
Her bizarre comment, which appeared to try to shift the discussion onto Democrats to dodge responsibility for her repeated false statements about the FBI, were quickly scorched on Twitter:
So “not a robot” is the new “lying liar who lies.”# p #4_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) April 19, 2019# p #5_27 # ad skipped = true #
She has tarnished the office of press secretary. Zero credibility. She must resign# p #7_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Jonathan 😎🏳️🌈 (@SouthernDem74) April 19, 2019# p #8_27 # ad skipped = true #
I’m not a robot so expect me to lie then expect me to lie as to why I lied.@PressSec# p #10_27 # ad skipped = true #
— no_maj 🇪🇺+🇬🇧=💖 (@helen_poppet) April 19, 2019# p #11_27 # ad skipped = true #
‘I bullshit and make stuff up all the time. Deal with it George!’#MAGA# p #13_27 # ad skipped = true #
— JamesFromTheInternet (@JamesFTInternet) April 19, 2019# p #14_27 # ad skipped = true #
She proves once again what a repugnant liar she is. Just apologize like a normal person, or like the Christian she professes to be! Instead it’s condescension & ALWAYS nastiness toward Dems even when SHE’S the one being called out on one (of her many) lies. Just despicable.# p #16_27 # ad skipped = true #
— DiDi (@austenphile11) April 19, 2019# p #17_27 # ad skipped = true #
Stop giving airtime to this depraved shell of a person. She is lying to America, and you are helping her do it.# p #19_27 # ad skipped = true #
— TJR (@jordantl) April 19, 2019# p #20_27 # ad skipped = true #
She should resign. This is not acceptable from a Press Sec. This is an abuse, this is an insult to the American people. This shameless woman is a liar, a fraud, a fake, and should not be in any position of public trust.# p #22_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Robbie Wallis (@Robbie_Wallis1) April 19, 2019# p #23_27 # ad skipped = true #
She’s caught and look at the lies coming out of her mouth. This just proves that if you want the truth out of Sarah Sanders she has to be under oath otherwise she’ll continue to lie to your face. She’s learned nothing from this entire fiasco.# p #25_27 # ad skipped = true #
— JoeCuban (@JBSmartMoney) April 19, 2019# p #26_27 # ad skipped = true #
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