President Donald Trump sent a tweet from his account on Saturday that lit the internet on fire. He stated that he knew former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied to FBI before he fired him.
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
The internet quickly reacted and jumped straight to “obstruction of justice” claims, but Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, quickly took the blame and said that it was his “mistake” and that he had drafted the tweet and sent it to Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media manager. Dowd told Axios, “I’m out of the tweeting business.”
Then White House press secretary Sarah Sanders held a press briefing, and many of the questions were about the tweet. Sanders repeated over and over that questions should be directed to Dowd, since he was the one who made the mistake. One interaction between Sanders and NBC reporter Hallie Jackson stood out.
“When did the president know that Mike Flynn lied to the FBI?”
“As I said earlier, I referred you back to John Dowd’s clarification.”
The reporter asked again:
“I’m asking for a day. When did he find out? Was it when the announcement was made Friday, or was it prior to that?”
Sanders said yet again:
“Again, I’m not aware of the specifics. But I would refer you to John Dowd for that specific question. … Since it’s a legal matter, I’m not allowed to weigh in to.”
But the reporter just wouldn’t give up:
“You have weighed in on other special counsel matters before. As just a statement of fact of when during the administration, what day the president discovered this lie issue?”
And then Sanders showed her frustration:
“And I’m telling you, as a statement of fact, that you should contact John Dowd. Doesn’t seem that hard.”
Watch the fiery back-and-forth below.