If Robert Christgau were asked to write a capsule review of what Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah said about the alleged Donald Trump–Michael Cohen–Stormy Daniels payment those two words might be the long and short of it.
As Shah went to his second question during today’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked, “Can you state categorically that the president, his campaign and the Trump Organization did not violate federal law, specifically election law, regarding that payment?”
To which Shah replied:
Well, I can speak for only the White House. And I can say categorically: the White House didn’t engage in any wrongdoing. The campaign or Mr. Cohen can address anything with respect to their actions.
With respect to that interview, I will say the president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims and the only person who’s been inconsistent is the person making the claims.
Those familiar with timelines will easily note the issue here.
Donald Trump was not yet in the White House when the admitted $130,000 payment from Cohen to Daniels was made during the waning weeks of the 2016 general election.
In other words, of course “the White House didn’t engage in any wrongdoing” related to the Daniels payment. But this is only and necessarily the case because the White House at the time had absolutely nothing to do with the Cohen-Daniels payment.
Whether the present White House bears any responsibility is an ongoing and separate controversy. At best, Shah’s comment on the matter qualifies as a bit of a dodge.
[image via White House/YouTube]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.