President Trump is not only lawyering up for his actual legal challenges, but is also building a stable of them functioning as media circus surrogates. The latest is Jay Sekulow, known to Fox News viewers as one of the principals in the organization Judicial Watch and an occasional contributor on various of their programs.
Yesterday, Mr. Sekulow – who has tarnished his credibility in the past, with his associations with Pat Robertson and the Trinity Broadcasting Network, appeared on a series of Sunday morning network news discussion programs, including on both CNN with Jake Tapper and Fox News with Chris Wallace.
On each of the appearances, Sekulow adamantly made this assertion, “Let me be very clear here, as it has been since the beginning, the president is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction.”
Sekulow was challenged by Chuck Todd (Meet The Press – NBC) and Jake Tapper on that claim, but it was Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that pinned him to the mat on it and sparked a bit of tension between the two, in doing so. Wallace pressed Sekulow and Sekulow maintained that “nothing has changed” since Comey informed the president that he was not being personally investigated – referring to Comey’s Senate testimony.
However, the nuance of James Comey’s answers to the Senate Intelligence Committee, was that Comey could only certify what he knew regarding Trump’s status up to the day Comey was fired by Trump. He has no inside channel (that he is disclosing) as to Trump’s current status.
Other discussion involved Trump’s recent tweet, in which Trump himself, seems to be of the understanding that he is now being investigated, as we reported here.
Then Wallace dug in with Sekulow and exposed Sekulow’s having – as the courtroom phrase suggests, “submitted facts not in evidence”, with this exchange:
“I don’t appreciate you putting words in my mouth when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation,” he said.
“But you don’t know that he’s not under investigation again, sir?” Wallace responded.
“You’re right, Chris. I cannot read the mind of the special prosecutor,” Sekulow responded.
“We’re in agreement then,” Wallace said.
When Mr. Sekulow was asked by the host of CBS’ “Face The Nation” what Sekulow based his certainty that Trump was not a subject of investigation, Sekulow responded: “Because we’ve received no notification of investigation.” That is faulty reasoning, because as the Washington Post pointed out this morning:
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, prosecutors are encouraged to notify investigation targets at a “reasonable time” before seeking an indictment, to provide a target the opportunity to testify in front of a grand jury. But it outlines no requirement of notification, particularly while prosecutors are gathering evidence.