It’s hard to keep track of things when you’re making them up as you go. The new line from the Trump administration is a breezy “what investigation?” flick of the wrist to bat away questions about the reported expansion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to include not just Russian election meddling and Trump’s ties to any such effort, but also possible obstruction of justice by the president. On Sunday, the president trotted out his lawyer, Jay Sekulow, to do the Sunday morning talk shows.
On Meet the Press, Sekulow stressed that the president isn’t even under investigation.
During the exchange, Sekulow explains how tweeting works and then delves into how we should interpret “a utilization of social media” by the president saying he’s under investigation.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
"He's not afraid of the investigation—there is no investigation," Sekulow said, adding, "there is not an investigation of the President of the United States, period." The Washington Post reported last week that Mueller’s team is also examining whether the president attempted to obstruct justice. “Let me be clear here,” said Sekulow on MTP, “The president is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction."
On Face the Nation, host John Dickerson asked Sekulow how does he know for sure that the president isn’t under investigation?
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/vTm9AWbVkx— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 18, 2017
Sekulow: “We’ve received no notice of investigation. There’s been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation...”
Dickerson: … Couldn’t you be under investigation and they’re just not letting you know yet?
Sekulow: “I can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it.”
So the president might be under investigation then, no?
(Here’s more from Slate’s Dan Engber on whether an obligation exists to notify someone that they’re the target of an investigation. The short answer is: no.)
By the Fox News Sunday leg of the morning, the wheels were coming off the wagon for Sekulow and the *non-investigation* investigation into Trump.
Sekulow: 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 (of Comey)…
Wallace: … First of all, you’ve now stated that he is being investigated.
Sekulow: No. No, he’s not being investigated.
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: No, Chris… let me crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the United States. Period.
Wallace: But you just said two times that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: No, the context of the tweet, I just gave you the legal theory of how the constitution works…
We're getting a bit lost in the weeds here.
“I don't appreciate you putting words in my mouth when I've been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation,” Sekulow told Wallace later.
“But you don't know that he's not under investigation, right?” Wallace responded.
“You're right, Chris. I cannot read the mind of the special prosecutor,” Sekulow responded.
"We're agreed, then,” Wallace said.
And here we are, again. Wherever that is.