The White House press secretary has set a new precedent: Partisanship over patriotism. Victory over truth.
On Wednesday, two representatives of the United States government held press briefings, both of them touching on one of the most astonishing news stories of the Trump presidency—a series of events that had begun two days earlier, when Trump traveled to Helsinki to meet, behind closed doors, with Vladimir Putin.
Here was the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responding to a question from The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman about the notion Putin raised of a group of U.S. officials, including the former ambassador to Russia, Mike McFaul, being interrogated by Russia: “The president is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that.”
Here, on the other hand, was Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson, on the same issue: “The overall assertions are absolutely absurd—the fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian Government is making about those American citizens. We do not stand by those assertions.”