One of Bill Clinton’s most famous contributions to the political lexicon is
It depends upon what the meaning of the word “is” is.
This was his defense from the accusation of having lied when he explicitly said, of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky,
There is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship, or any other kind of improper relationship.
It was immediately obvious that there was something strange about his somewhat tortured insistence on the present tense, where what he was asked to deny was in the past. Of course, we know that he was trying to be extremely clever in making a statement that was literally true, while seeming to deny an accusation that he knew to be correct.
Now Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has spoken out, not in his own defense, but in defense of the president:
“In all of this, in any of this, there’s been no evidence that there’s any collusion between the Trump campaign and the President and Russia,” he said. “Let’s just make that clear — there is no collusion.”
Is he being ironic?