But there have been a number of instances in which the president or his surrogates have flatly denied something — only to have that denial contradicted weeks or months later by new documents or statements. Often, by then the media coverage has moved on to a new controversy.
The release of the tape recording between Trump and his former fixer, Michael Cohen, is only the most recent example of this dynamic. Here’s a sampling of White House denials that eventually unraveled after new information was disclosed. Strikingly, these examples often involve situations that might place the president in legal jeopardy.
There are, of course, many other instances — such as denials that Trump considered firing special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III or why Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey — but we kept this list to cases in which either the administration admitted or official records showed the initial denial was false.
Trump knew nothing about Daniels, McDougal or payoffs
When the Wall Street Journal first reported just before the 2016 election that the company that owns the National Enquirer agreed to pay $150,000 to a former Playboy centerfold model for her story of an affair a decade ago with Trump — but did not publish it — Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks was quick to dismiss it. “We have no knowledge of any of this,” she told the WSJ, adding that Karen McDougal’s claim of an affair with Mr. Trump was “totally untrue.”
Hicks’s statements to the media were often dictated directly by Trump.