White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly refused to explain discrepancies regarding statements she and President Donald Trump’s attorneys made about the president’s part in crafting the initial 2016 Trump Tower meeting statement.

“You’re referencing a letter that came directly from outside counsel and I would refer you to them,” Sanders told reporters Monday during the White House daily briefing. “I’m not going to get into a back and forth.”

In August 2017, Sanders had insisted that Trump “certainly didn’t dictate” the statement, but rather, “weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.” However, the New York Times recently released a confidential memo Trump’s attorneys sent special counsel Robert Mueller that directly contradicted this, saying the president “dictated a short but accurate response” for his son.

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s attorneys who co-authored the memo, also previously stated that Trump did not dictate the memo. However, he told CNN that “the statement in the January letter reflects our understanding of the events that occurred.”

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Sanders was asked by three reporters at the briefing to explain the contradictory statements, but each time she referred them to the president’s personal attorneys. While in the past she has claimed to not have had the right information to explain false statements, she made no such claims Monday. She also refused to directly address whether the president would rule out pardoning himself, which the memo to Mueller stated was something Trump could potentially do.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani stated the president could pardon himself if he so pleased, but it would be an impeachable offense. Trump asserted his right to pardon himself as well, but insisted it was unnecessary, as he did nothing wrong.



“Thankfully, the president hasn’t done anything wrong and wouldn’t have any need for a pardon,” Sanders told reporters, echoing Trump’s sentiments. She added that Trump certainly does not believe he is “above the law.”  


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