Trump is not under investigation even though he said so: lawyer
When President Trump tweeted the exact words “I am being investigated” last week, he did not actually mean that he is being investigated, his lawyer claimed Sunday.
In a series of baffling TV interviews, attorney Jay Sekulow denied that Trump was speaking literally when he seemed to confirm on Twitter that he is now a focus of the special counsel probe into his campaign.
Sekulow even asserted that Trump is not under investigation at all, despite reports and tweets from days ago that signified he is being probed for possible obstruction of justice.
“Let me be very clear here: As it has been since the beginning, the President is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction,” Sekulow told NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Sekulow’s comments contradict clear signs from the past days — especially from Trump himself — that the President is being probed.
The Washington Post reported last week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is running the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential Russia ties, was now focusing on Trump himself for obstruction of justice over the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Trump then fired off two tweets that appeared to affirm the report.
“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,” read one from Thursday.
The next day, he made it even clearer. Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt”
But Sekulow now says Trump was simply acknowledging the Washington Post report, which was pegged to five anonymous sources — but he was not confirming it.
“The President’s tweet was in response to The Washington Post story,” Sekulow said.
“He’s responding to what he’s seeing in the media in a way in which he thinks is appropriate to talk to those people that put him in office.”
He told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, “I think you’re reading more to the tweet than what’s there.”
Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow appears on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Sekulow pushed the same tangled argument in several interviews Sunday — but even he seemed to have trouble keeping the story straight.
In a “Fox News Sunday” interview, Sekulow initially denied that Trump was under investigation. Moments later, he said he’s “being investigated by the Department of Justice.”
He didn’t seem to realize what he said until host Chris Wallace pointed it out. Then he took it back.
“He’s not being investigated!” Sekulow said.
“Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation into the president of the United States.”
Sekulow’s doublespeak set off immediate confusion as he made the TV rounds.
“So the President said, ‘I am under investigation,’ even though he is not under investigation?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sekulow when he appeared on “State on the Union.”
“With all due respect, the President said ‘I am being investigated’ in a tweet, and people take his word on that.”
Sekulow stood by his story and blamed all of the confusion on one thing: Twitter.
“It was 141 characters,” he said about Trump’s tweet, getting Twitter’s maximum character count wrong.
“There’s a limitation to Twitter, as we all know.”
The Trump campaign has been under federal investigation since last summer over possible Russia ties. But for most of that time, Trump was not the center of the case.
Comey even acknowledged in his recent Senate testimony that when Trump abruptly fired him in May, the President was not personally under investigation.
The reports of Trump being targeted only surfaced after Comey’s testimony raised questions about whether his firing counted as obstruction of justice. Trump acknowledged, after conflicting stories flew out of the White House, that he axed Comey to relieve pressure from the Russia probe.