For the third time in as many days, the White House press shop is re-spinning Trump’s plain remarks about Russia.
Donald Trump clearly stated “No” to Jackson’s question about whether Russia was still a threat to our election systems. The video is right there.
Two and a half hours later, Sarah Huckabee Sanders walked up to the podium in the White House and lied straight to Hallie Jackson’s face about that answer.
First, she tells Jackson that she spoke to Trump, and that he wasn’t really answering Jackson’s question but just saying the word no and then going off about how no one has been harder on Russia than Donald Trump but really, he was NOT answering Jackson’s question.
So Jackson pressed, reminding Sanders that “this is the second time in three days that the President or the White House has come out and reversed what the President has said.”
Astonishingly, Sanders interrupted. “Actually, I’m interpreting what the President said,” she told Jackson.
Oh. Was Trump not speaking English? Is there now a need for an interpreter? I think in other worlds we would call that a “spinner,” someone lying to blunt the impact of what he says.
Jackson persisted, in spite of Sanders’ protestations. “Why should this president have any credibility to Americans in what he says if in fact 24 hours later or in this case three hours later the White House comes out and says ‘just kidding!'”
“First of all, that’s not what I said,” Sarah shot back defensively. “I was interpreting what the president’s intention was and stating the Administration’s policy.”
Interpret this, Sarah. Trump spoke English, we heard it, and your claim of interpretation is just another way of saying “just kidding.”
Sarah continued, “We never said ‘just kidding’ and I think that you can take the fact that the president has credibility because he saw that he had misspoken and he wanted to clarify that yesterday, which he did. so when he sees that he’s misspoken he comes out and says that.”
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If you followed that, she is trying desperately to use the absurd “would/wouldn’t clarification” as evidence they always say true things. Never mind that the lame walkback took 36 hours for them to think up, or that it doesn’t wash, or that it is simply bull. Never mind that, because Sarah Huckabee the Sanders has spoken.
And with that, she cut off Jackson’s followup question, turning to The Hill’s Jordan Fabian for a question. Fabian did what every journalist in that room needs to start doing: He handed the floor back to Jackson for her followup, which did not please Sarah Huckabee Herownself Sanders.
Jackson told Sanders she cannot recall one time where Trump or the administration called out Vladimir Putin. Sarah’s answer was more of the same flavor of bull.
“I think my stating the fact that the President said Russia interfered with our election that’s a pretty bold callout of another world leader,” she said, sneering.
So, if I might be so bold as to interpret here: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is saying that her hearsay statement about what Trump said is sufficient, and that he has in fact NEVER called out Putin in public.
In other words, Hallie Jackson was right. Hey, this interpreting stuff is fun!