Donald Trump, his White House, and his personal lawyer can't keep their stories straight on the Russia investigation. Rather than trying to clear things up out in the open, the White House is ducking for cover.
Despite mounting evidence of both collusion and obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, there was no on-camera White House press briefing Monday. That makes it a week since the last briefing.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer held an off-camera press “gaggle,” but no cameras or audio were allowed. The original daily press schedule the White House provided to media listed the briefing schedule as “TBD,” but an updated schedule sent Monday morning announced Spicer would be holding a “off-Camera (not for broadcast or audio)” gaggle.
Notably, at last week’s off-camera gaggle, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t use a microphone and at least one reporter struggled to hear her over the air conditioning.
The last time the White House held a full on-camera press briefing, Spicer completely contradicted Donald Trump’s “100 percent” commitment to testify under oath.
That was last Monday, and things have only gotten worse since.
Trump’s personal lawyer, who blitzed the Sunday show circuit yesterday, also directly contradicted Trump’s own words, denying that Trump is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice, despite Trump himself tweeting, “I am being investigated.”
It’s a chaotic cycle. Journalists ask the White House for answers. The White House either contradicts Trump or refers them to Trump’s personal lawyer. Trump’s personal lawyer contradicts Trump, who continues to smear and lie through his Twitter feed. Monday morning, Trump even strangely promoted his personal lawyer’s appearance on TV, but then oddly deleted the tweet.
It wasn’t so long ago that Trump floated the notion of doing away with press briefings altogether, unless, he said, he were to do it himself. And even more recently, he mused over how he could profit off of questions from the press.
Amidst the chaos and confusion, transparency is needed more than ever. But this White House is reacting by doing the opposite.