With Donald Trump’s cabal of advisors, family members, unqualified party planners, religious zealots, white supremacists, propagandists, and assorted shady characters all seemingly under investigation for various degrees of collusion with Russia (among other charges), it was only a matter of time before the hammer came down on Trump himself. With the appointment of infamously dogged Robert Mueller as special counsel on the whole Trump-Russia mess, that day seems to finally have come, what with the nation’s leader firing off this tweet (as the kids call it) in the early morning hours of this past Friday:
That’s pretty much unequivocal, right? President Donald Trump complaining about a “witch hunt” consisting of an official investigation of him, for obstruction of justice. Blammo. Except that, as Seth Meyers pointed out on last night’s Late Night, Trump is totally not under investigation, at least according to Jay Sekulow, one of the no doubt many, many lawyers Trump will employ for as long as he’s in office. Unless he is under investigation. Or unless no one can know for sure. For an explanation of this conundrum, look at the header image of CNN’s Jake Tapper, trying diligently to parse the bafflingly contradictory statements Sekulow made while making the TV rounds in an attempt to definitively state that his client, Donald Trump, is either under investigation, or not under investigation, or—in some quantum legal singularity—both or neither at the same time. Meyers described Tapper’s demeanor as that of a guy trying really hard to give one of those magic eye paintings the benefit of the doubt, but, in another clip, Tapper’s colleague, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, simply wasn’t having it.
After—to Wallace’s face, and knowing that he’s being recorded for posterity—Sekulow first admits that Trump is personally under investigation, then gets shirty when Wallace simply repeats back what Sekulow and Trump have both explicitly said, Wallace just locks his news-jaws onto the squirmy guy and won’t let him slither into his hastily constructed pile of double-speak. Sekulow (who Meyers aptly compares to Mr. Burns’ lawyer on The Simpsons in demeanor and appearance), sensing perhaps that he’s made a Trump-sized blunder on national TV, simply starts denying reality, calling up comparisons to another sweatily obstinate television lawyer/liar who imagines that “belligerent stonewalling” is the best debate tactic. (See clip starting at 3:40 below, although the whole sketch is pretty amazing.)
“Oh boy, this is weird,” exclaims the exasperated Chris Wallace in the end. Meyers, having shown how reportedly soon-to-be ex-press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly touted Trump’s tweets as the raw, unfiltered, presidential truth, similarly presents this latest debasement of all that is factual with the amused/horrified smile of one confronted, finally, with an administration where observable truth simply means nothing.