"A member of Donald Trump’s personal legal team sent out to deny the president is under investigation, did just the opposite on “Fox News Sunday” — twice saying “he’s being investigated.”
Jay Sekulow made the remarks during a contentious back and forth with host Chris Wallace, one of a series of shows on which the attorney repeatedly insisted that Trump wasn’t under investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Sekulow told Wallace that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last month was “based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office.”
“He takes the action that they also recommended and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice. Because the special counsel, under the special counsel regulations, reports still to the Department of Justice, not an independent counsel,” Sekulow said.
“So, he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here.”
When Wallace noted that Sekulow had just admitted Trump was under investigation, Sekulow accused the host of trying to “re-phrase” his words — prompting Wallace to say “the tape will speak for itself.”
“I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth, when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation,” Sekulow shot back.
On Friday, Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Sekulow told “Fox News Sunday” and three other shows that Trump’s tweet was based solely on a Washington Post report, and he insisted Trump wasn’t under investigation.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson asked Sekulow how he knew that.
“Because we’ve received no notice of investigation. There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation. In fact, to the contrary. What we know is what James Comey said, the last thing we know is when he testified just a couple weeks back. That the president was not and is not a target of investigation,” Sekulow answered.
Sekulow also said he “can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it.”
But a former federal prosecutor, Brad Simon, told The Post those assertions were “somewhat fanciful.”
The feds “never formally advise someone they’re under investigation,” Simon said, adding: “It usually becomes apparent when they start issuing subpoenas.”
In some cases, Simon said, the feds will issue a “target letter” following a grand jury subpoena, usually when a defense lawyer is trying to decide whether to let a client testify.
“The fact that [Trump] hasn’t received a letter doesn’t mean he’s not the subject of an investigation,” he said.
“Letters are only issued upon request. That’s the long-established practice of the Justice Department.”