President Trump’s midmorning tweet that said “Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now” was not an order, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained Wednesday. It was his opinion, she said, and therefore, it wasn’t obstruction of justice.
“The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back,” Sanders said, seeming to contradict herself in the span of eight words.
Sanders’s attempt to explain away Trump’s tweet comes after his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told the Times that reading it as an attempt at obstruction is “bizarre” and “idiotic.”
It’s also pretty easy to do, since the tweet marked the first time Trump has directly appealed to Sessions to end the probe. Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe last year, so Trump seems to want him to un-recuse himself and fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump’s lawyers have emphasized that he was careful to use the word “should” in the tweet so it did not read as a command. Still, there’s little doubt that a printout of this one will find its way into Mueller’s files as he investigates possible obstruction-by-tweet.
Sanders made other noteworthy comments Wednesday, including a bizarre defense of Trump’s apparent unfamiliarity with grocery shopping. At a rally Tuesday night, Trump referenced the requirement to show ID when buying groceries, which doesn’t exist. Sanders suggested that Trump, who is 72 and doesn’t drink, was talking about having to show ID when buying booze.