From Testimony 101
Before you’ve lied: If you met with Kislyak (or other Putin surrogates) and there is nothing to hide, you say so forthrightly and proactively. You might even use the phrase “full disclosure” to indicate your willingness to go beyond the question asked in relating the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In any case, the question, the issue, and related suspicions should be laid to rest.
During the lie: If you met and there is something to hide, you have 3 choices. (1) Say you didn’t meet. (2) Say you didn’t meet to the best of your recollection — reserving the possibility of remembering later. (3) Answer with words that are in the vicinity of the question but avoid taking a specific position on the specific issue of whether there was a meeting.
After you’re caught: If the fact the meeting took place surfaces later, you still have good choices: (1) Claim you misunderstood the question. (2) Claim they misunderstood your answer. (3) Claim your temporary amnesia has only recently cleared up. (4) Offer to clarify your original answer in writing knowing the Republican leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee will not require you to again speak under oath.
A competent lawyer knows these options. A businessman who imagines himself a highly-skilled negotiator is more likely to lead with “We didn’t meet.” When pressed again, he will more forcefully say, “We didn’t meet!” adding much indignation. When shown irrefutable video evidence, he will scream, “How many times do I have to answer this question? I told you we didn’t meet.” If the issue simply won’t go away, a settlement might be offered — without admitting wrong-doing, of course.
Question for Mr. AG: Does a settlement work if you’re POTUS?