Washington CNN —  

For the first time in 41(!) days, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders took questions from reporters.

She got asked about whether we are headed for another government shutdown (she hopes not) and why President Trump’s clubs employed undocumented workers (she can’t get into specifics). So, the usual stuff.

The only question – and answer – that mattered on Monday was when Sanders was asked whether Trump was considering a pardon for the recently indicted Roger Stone.

“I’m not aware of that. I haven’t had any discussions with him on that matter,” she responded. Then, when pressed on whether Trump had ruled out the possibility, Sanders said: “I’m not going to talk about hypotheticals that are just ridiculous. I’m not aware of anybody here ever working with WikiLeaks in any capacity.”

Which, if you are keeping track at home, isn’t: “No, the President will not pardon Mr. Stone under any circumstances.”

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  • That’s not by accident. Stone is a longtime Trump adviser who was allegedly tasked by someone in the Trump campaign – known only as a “senior Trump campaign official” in the indictment of Stone – to make contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and see if he could anticipate the organization’s planned releases of hacked emails. Stone is expected to plead not guilty to the charges in his court appearance Tuesday.

    Not ruling out a pardon for Stone sends a very clear signal to him: A pardon is on the table. At least for now.

    The Point: That is the point. And, trust me, Stone got the message loud and clear.