White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is tying herself up in knots trying to answer questions about President Donald Trump's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was reportedly paid $130,000 in hush money by the president's lawyer right before the 2016 election. When asked about the payment, which raises questions about campaign finance law (and the ethics of paying women to keep quiet), Sanders had a curious answer.
"Look, the president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true," she said. "This case has already been won in arbitration."
This answer is a blatant contradiction.
If the president denies that he had an affair with Daniels and denies that he paid her hush money, then what "case" was won in arbitration? By admitting there even is a case, Sanders is essentially giving away the whole game. If there's a case, there's a non-disclosure agreement. And if there's a non-disclosure agreement, there was an affair. Why would Trump pay for a woman's silence unless she had something to say?
For what it's worth, Daniels' lawyer said the claim that the case has been won in arbitration is flatly untrue.
When asked if Trump knew of the hush money payment when it was made, Sanders offered the cagey answer, "Not that I'm aware of." She also admitted to having talked to the president about the issue, which makes her evasion all the more obvious. If Sanders talked to Trump about the issue, she should be open with the public about it.
But the White House has made it clear it doesn't want to be candid with the press or the public.
When deputy press secretary Raj Shah was asked about the story last month, he said he hadn't talked to the president about it. After being pressed multiple times, Shah couldn't even say that he would talk to the president about it.
On a matter relating to Trump's basic integrity, the White House is obfuscating, contradicting itself and deflecting. This is yet another demonstration of the administration's fundamental failure to be honest and direct with the American people.
Watch Sanders discuss the Stormy Daniels controversy below: