As President Donald Trump on Thursday defended paying back his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, $130,000 for a settlement with porn star Stormy Daniels, it became increasingly clear through the day that the Wednesday night revelation from Rudy Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump's new legal advisers, had caught most top White House aides off guard.
"When did you specifically know that the President repaid Mr. Cohen for the $130,000?" a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
"The first awareness I had was during the interview last night," Sanders said, as she repeatedly defended her previous statements and denials from the White House podium.
"Again, I gave you the best information that I have, and I'm going to do the best to do that every single day," she added, giving a variation of that answer multiple times to reporters.
At the press briefing, reporters bluntly asked Sanders why their previous questions had not been answered directly.
"Were you lying to us at the time, or were you in the dark?" asked Jim Acosta of CNN.
"The President has denied, and continues to deny the underlying claim," Sanders said of Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Mr. Trump in 2006.
"Again, I've given the best information that I had at the time," Sanders said, when pressed about her previous answers to reporters.
"I'm not part of the legal team," Sanders said, explaining why she did not know Giuliani would reveal the details of the payment on Fox News, in an interview with Sean Hannity.
Not only did Hannity seemed to be stunned by Giuliani acknowledging that the President had repaid Cohen the $130,000 paid to Daniels, but so too was White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, who was immediately asked on Fox about the explanation.
"We have nothing to say about it," Gidley said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had tweeted out his own defense of the repayment, saying that Cohen was simply doing the legal job he had been hired to do by the President.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats said there was a clear pattern emerging.
"The President and his attorney didn't tell the truth," said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO).
"It’s still stormy at the White House, managed by the gang that can’t lie straight," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).