‘How are we supposed to believe what’s said from the podium?’: Reporters grill Sarah Sanders over shifting Trump Tower meeting explanations

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
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Carlos Barria/Reuters

  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sparred with reporters at Monday’s press briefing over conflicting recollections about a meeting at Trump Tower as well as the president’s controversial tweet about his pardon power from earlier in the day.
  • Sanders dodged questions on whether President Donald Trump personally dictated a statement regarding a meeting between his son and Russians at Trump Tower in 2016.
  • The White House press secretary also said Trump wouldn’t need to pardon himself because he hasn’t done anything wrong.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sparred with reporters at Monday’s press briefing over conflicting recollections about a meeting at Trump Tower as well as the president’s controversial tweet about his pardon power from earlier in the day.

Sanders previously claimed that President Donald Trump did not personally dictate a statement regarding a controversial meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Kremlin-linked lawyer at Trump Tower in 2016. But this contradicts assertions made in a letter written to special counsel Robert Mueller by the president’s lawyers.

“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.,” the letter states.

Several reporters asked Sanders about the mixed signals on this issue, including Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post, who said, “How are we supposed to believe what’s said from the podium? The lawyers say [Trump] dictated it. You say he didn’t. Which is it?”

Sanders replied, “I’m not going to respond to a letter from the president’s outside counsel.”

The White House press secretary was also hammered with questions about Trump’s claim that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself. Sanders repeatedly replied to these inquiries by saying the president wouldn’t ever need to pardon himself because he “hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”

Despite Trump’s claims, the Department of Justice’s website argues that the president does not have the power to pardon himself.