Trump’s Self-Contradictory Defense

Donald Trump sent one of his attorneys, Jay Sekulow, out on Sunday to hit the major politics talk shows. Sekulow nearly completed the Full Ginsburg—he missed only ABC’s This Week, on which he appeared last Sunday—but aside from that achievement, it didn’t go so well.

Sekulow insisted that President Trump was not under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This denial was somewhat difficult to believe, given that the president himself had tweeted on Friday, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!” And indeed, Chuck Todd and Jake Tapper did their best impressions of Jeremy Paxman, lifting eyebrows and squinting in incredulity at Sekulow’s claims. “So the president said, ‘I am under investigation,’ even though he isn’t under investigation?” Tapper queried. The wily (and bemused) Wallace even got Sekulow to say both that Trump is and is not under investigation.

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Aaron Blake speaks for many observers when he writes, “It was a tough day for a man with an impossible job. If White House press secretary Sean Spicer has the worst job in Washington, Sekulow might have the second-worst. And it showed on Sunday.” But in his contradictory claims, Sekulow isn’t so much struggling against the president’s words so much as he is reflecting Trump’s own incoherent response to the investigation.

Trump and his team can’t decide whether or not the president is under investigation. They can’t decide whether media reports about the investigation are fake news, or whether they justify the president firing off missives from his turbocharged Twitter account. They can’t decide whether Trump fired FBI Director James Comey of his own volition or on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They can’t decide whether Trump welcomes the investigation as a chance to clear his name or disdains it as a…

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