White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday refused to answer questions about a recently revealed letter from Trump’s legal team to Robert Mueller establishing that she lied to the American people.
The lawyers claimed in the January letter that President Donald Trump did in fact dictate his son’s misleading statement to the New York Times in July of last year regarding a campaign-era meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Sanders, as well as one of the letter’s authors, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, claimed last year that Trump did not dictate the statement.
“This is from a letter from the outside counsel, and I direct you to them to answer that question,” Sanders told reporters regarding the letter at a press briefing Monday.
Sekulow and John Dowd, who has since left Trump’s legal team, wrote to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in January that “the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.” The New York Times published the letter Saturday.
Donald Trump Jr. initially, and misleadingly, told the Times the Trump Tower meeting primarily concerned adoption.
Sanders said in August last year that Trump “certainly didn’t dictate” the statement, but that he did weigh in and offer suggestions “like any father would do.”
According to Trump’s lawyers’ January letter to Mueller, that statement was a lie.
Later in the briefing, Sanders refused the question again.
“Once again, this is a reference back to a letter from the outside counsel,” she told the New York Times’ Peter Baker, who responded that she had spoken about Donald Trump Jr.’s statement, as well.
“I understand,” Sanders said. “But it’s also pertaining to a letter from the President’s outside counsel, and therefore I can’t answer and I would direct you to them.”
And the same to the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey: “I’m not going to respond to a letter from the President’s outside counsel.”
Sekulow stood by the letter Monday following Sanders’ briefing:
JUST IN: After @PressSec refuses to address discrepancy, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow stands by assertion in letter to Mueller that Trump DID dictate statement. "The statement in the January letter reflects our understanding of the events that occurred."
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) June 4, 2018
This post has been updated.