During Wednesday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders deemed a yes or no question by Celia Vega of ABC News unworthy of a straight answer. After discussing the events of Tuesday where longtime fixer and personal lawyer for Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, named the President as an unindicted co-conspirator, Vega asked:
"Can you stand here today and say the President has never lied to the American people, because so many people now look back at that tape of him on Air Force One saying he knew nothing about these payments when in fact we now know he knew everything about these payments. So has he lied?"
To which Sanders responded:
"Look, again, I think that's a ridiculous accusation."
Sanders then repeated her prior scripted disclaimer without directly addressing Vega's actual question about lying, saying, "The President in this matter has done nothing wrong, and there are no charges against him."
Watch the exchange here:
Asked if she could say Pres. Trump has never lied to the public, press secretary Sarah Sanders tells @CeciliaVega,… https://t.co/QiRs7IxXcv— ABC News (@ABC News) 1534965448.0
But did the President lie? And if he did lie to the citizens of the United States—whom he took an oath to serve—is that not wrong? And finally, is not currently under indictment synonymous with did nothing wrong?
Remember when Trump lied on Air Force One, on camera, about knowing about the Stormy Daniels payoff? Journalist:… https://t.co/SIbj6WClFv— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@Holly Figueroa O'Reilly) 1534964852.0
Today Sarah Sanders suggests that because Trump hasn’t been charged with a crime, he didn’t commit one. Under DOJ… https://t.co/6HMOscCIrL— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1534962820.0
Sarah Sanders: The President has done nothing wrong and there are no charges against him. “Ma’am I just asked you… https://t.co/4TbVejAoYP— The Volatile Mermaid (@The Volatile Mermaid) 1534975159.0
People referred to the interview on Air Force One as proof positive of a lie by the President caught on tape.
Here is that Air Force One video:
In the video, Trump states several times he knew nothing about the $130,000.00 payment to Stephanie Clifford—the dancer, writer, director and actress who performs in adult films under the pseudonym Stormy Daniels. Trump's response is clear; he knew nothing about the payment.
But in the following months, the President's story changed many times until finally stating he not only knew of the $130,000.00 payment, he authorized it and repaid Michael Cohen for it. Which means he lied during the Air Force One interview or he is lying now. Plus there is the matter of the Cohen tape of Trump discussing a potential payment to Karen McDougal.
.@PressSec refuses to explain to @kaitlancollins how the president could tell Fox (in an interview on WH grounds to… https://t.co/FLjgDP90Ef— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1534963120.0
Regardless of which version is the lie or if they are all lies, can Sanders and the White House still state unequivocally that Trump did nothing wrong? Lying is supposed to be wrong.
The Twittersphere answered Celia Vega's question and corrected Sarah Sanders after the video of Vega's question went public as the following reactions show.
Some pointed out that the President certainly lied based on his remarks on Air Force One in April 2018.
She just said that Trump did not lie on air force one , he is on tape lying !… https://t.co/wrxPlyJz7v— donald biven (@donald biven) 1534963597.0
Reporter: “Did he lie when asked about this on Air Force One?” SHS: “Nahhhh... we’ve been through this before...”… https://t.co/povpIuseyC— imaginarybar (@imaginarybar) 1534963870.0
@FoxNews @PressSec Dodge much omg!!...And he didnt lie on Air Force One...wtf?— Stephen Kennedy (@Stephen Kennedy) 1534964012.0
@TheBeatWithAri 🤣🤣🤣 And black is white, and water is dry, and beef is chicken, and Trump's lie on Air Force One was… https://t.co/xcszuki2xQ— bellnbarrel (@bellnbarrel) 1534965621.0
@PressSec Really? Really? "Ridiculous accusation"? We all saw the Air Force One video. Total lie. Save some of your soul and resign.— she-wolf (@she-wolf) 1534965788.0
@realDonaldTrump @vp @PressSec @FLOTUS @SpeakerRyan @SenateMajLdr @AdamKinzinger @FoxNews @foxandfriends… https://t.co/4vJqvM1vVq— linda smart (@linda smart) 1534966464.0
@WhiteHouse @PressSec trump stated on air force one he knew nothing about payments then later admitted to the payme… https://t.co/jCbydc4iuc— squashzilla (@squashzilla) 1534967316.0
While others pointed out that "has not been charged with a crime" does not equal "has not done anything wrong."
SARAH SANDERS: — “Trump has done nothing wrong” THE TRUTH: — Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator & has been im… https://t.co/Awd6clW1Tj— Ryan Knight 🏳️🌈🗽 (@Ryan Knight 🏳️🌈🗽) 1534965105.0
When Sanders says Donald Trump “did nothing wrong” it’s worth remembering that these illegal payments only happened… https://t.co/NO1VvJsBYk— Matt McDermott (@Matt McDermott) 1534963108.0
Sanders was asked today if Trump’s worried about what Cohen might say. Response: "I don't think the president's co… https://t.co/0xfrbsQgag— Maggie Jordan (@Maggie Jordan) 1534970852.0
While Sanders presented the White House's official response without wavering, it appears the White House version of doing nothing wrong may vary greatly from public perception.