Sounds Different

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22:  White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. On Tuesday President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen addmitted in court that Mr. Trump directed him to break campaign finance laws by paying off two women who said they had sexual relationships with Mr. Trump at the same time that TrumpÕs former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of tax and bank fraud.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Watching the Sanders press conference this morning, Sanders seems to have moved another big notch forward in terms of very clipped answers. Basically every answer is, I don’t have anything more for you. In addition, she has rolled out what seems like a new talking point. Each time she’s asked if Trump committed a crime she said repeatedly “he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him.”

This is a key new backstop. What’s the problem? He hasn’t been charged with any crime.

Remember, the White House has repeatedly argued that the President cannot be charged with any crime as long as he is in office. It’s not clear that that is true. But standing DOJ guidelines say that a sitting President should not be charged with a crime. So given Robert Mueller’s close adherence to DOJ guidelines, as a practical matter they’re mostly right.

So no problem since the President hasn’t been charged with anything. Also, the President cannot be charged with anything – because he’s President. This is a new benchmark in the evolution of the story.

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