Last week Donald Trump was indicted for the third time, which puts him in first place for the number of times that an American president or former president was indicted. Second place is a 45 way tie with zero times indicted. And with a total of 78 felony counts pending against him, there are pretty good odds that he will be convicted of something, and even prison isn’t out of the question.
But Trump isn’t resting on his lack of morals. He spent much of the week defying court orders to refrain from intimidating jurors or witnesses, or obstructing the administration of justice. In multiple posts on his floundering Twitter ripoff, Truth Social, Trump overtly threatened everyone from the judge, to special counsel Jack Smith, to potential witnesses and jurors, to his own former Vice-President, Mike Pence.
On Sunday morning Trump’s lead attorney, John Lauro, pulled what is known in the media as a “full Ginsburg,” by appearing on every major Sunday morning political news television program. But if he thinks he was benefiting his client, he might be sorely disappointed when he reads the reviews of his performances.
What Lauro has offered as a defense for Trump is extraordinarily weak and devoid of any legal basis. For instance, on CNN’s State of the Union, Lauro was interviewed by Dana Bash. He attempted to justify Trump’s crimes by falsely asserting that they were merely expressions of free speech. Never mind that the indictments are not charging Trump for what he said, but for what he did. Lauro even acknowledged that in the interview. However, he went off the rails shortly thereafter…
Lauro: The ultimate request that president Trump made was to pause the voting for ten days to allow the states to recertify or certify or audit, and Mr. Pence rejected that as well. After that there was a peaceful transition of power. So that’s how the Constitution works.
Bash: What happened on January 6th was not peaceful.
Lauro: Wait a minute. The transfer of power was certainly peaceful
Bash: Did you see what happened on January 6th? Did that look peaceful to you?
Lauro: I’m not saying that that was in any way appropriate. But the ultimate power of the presidency was transferred to Mr. Biden.
Trump's lawyer has been watching way too much Fox News. He claims that the January 6th insurrection was a "peaceful transition of power."pic.twitter.com/RPhnmyf0Ch
— News Corpse (@NewsCorpse) August 6, 2023
For starters, Lauro’s assertion that Trump tried to get Pence to “pause the voting for ten days” is a virtual admission of his guilt. The Congress is mandated by the Constitution to certify the Electoral College vote, and the vice-president has no authority to interfere with that. The fact that Pence declined to participate in Trump’s criminal conspiracy doesn’t absolve Trump of guilt.
Perhaps more bizarre was Lauro’s contention that the January 6th insurrection that Trump incited was a “peaceful transition of power.” He is taking the brazenly delusional position that many of Trump’s cult followers in politics and the press have previously tried to take.
Dana Bash, however, wasn’t having it. She immediately corrected Lauro. Although her correction appeared to have no effect on him. He persisted with his lies. And he elaborated by saying that, because the presidency was eventually transferred, that any suggestion of violence was null and void. By that logic, the Civil War was peaceful. After all, ultimately power was ceded to the Union and the Confederacy acquiesced. See? Totally peaceful.
In his interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, Lauro also claimed that Trump was innocent because “Trump believed in his heart of hearts that he had won that election.” Which is an utterly absurd legal argument. It would mean that if you “believe in your heart” that your bank ripped you off, you have a right to conspire with your friends to rob it.
Is Trump's lawyer really this stupid? He says that "Trump believed in his heart of hearts that he had won that election."
If you believe in your heart that your bank ripped you off, you don't have a right to plot with your friends to rob it. https://t.co/MqYJ7mPi2T
— News Corpse (@NewsCorpse) August 6, 2023
It’s also notable that throughout the interview, Lauro referred to Trump as the “president,” but in this exchange he referred to the actual President as “Mr. Biden.” This is a deliberate effort to shape the narrative that Biden is not the legitimate President and that Trump was denied his place as America’s first dictator.
These sort of statements might work well to feed the fetid fantasies of Trump’s cult followers on Fox News, but they will fail pitifully with the nation at large, and especially, in the courtroom. It’s a preposterous defense strategy. But it’s likely the best that Trump can expect considering that he has no coherent case for innocence, or access to reputable attorneys.
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