a non-denial denial

a non-denial denial

A statement that seems and/or is intended to act as a direct denial to an allegation, but which, when taken literally or examined closely, does not deny the allegation at all. The phrase is most commonly associated with evasive answers of politicians facing scrutiny or accusations of misconduct. When pressed by journalists over certain large, undisclosed expenditures he had recently made, the senator gave a classic non-denial denial of any wrongdoing, stating ambiguously that any such spending was simply associated with the running of his campaign.
See also: denial