MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, one of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top deputies, discussed Trump’s third indictment and a “rookie” mistake the former president’s lawyer made.
Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, on Fox News and Newsmax
Lauro appeared on Fox’s “The Ingraham Angle” and Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports” hours after the D.C. arraignment of his client. Lauro told Fox host Laura Ingraham, “What President Trump said is, ‘Let’s go with option D.”
Lauro on the law
Lauro continued, “Let’s just halt, let’s just pause the voting and allow the state legislatures to take one last look and make a determination as to whether or not the elections were handled fairly. That’s constitutional law. That’s not an issue of criminal activity.”
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell reacted
“That is a Trump criminal defense lawyer quoting Donald Trump committing a crime,” O’Donnell said. “Donald Trump’s criminal defense lawyer tonight added information to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 42-page description of Donald Trump’s crimes. The conversation that John Lauro just described appears on page 34 of the indictment against his client.”
Weissmann responded, “I don’t know why a defense lawyer is going to start giving facts about a critical moment.” O’Donnell added, “It’s the whole case!”
Weissmann warned, “By the way, it is such a damning thing when you put it in context because remember, what the indictment alleges is prior to that, the reason this had to be done with the vice president is because prior to that, all the efforts that Donald Trump took with respect to the secretaries of state did not work.”
It is like “let’s buy some time”
The legal expert continued, “So, for him to say, ‘Oh, let’s just double check’? I mean, there’s nothing to double-check. He actually threatened criminal prosecution against the secretary of state of Georgia, and he still stuck to his guns. So this sort of like, ‘Oh, let’s just buy some time,’ it’s illegal, and it’s not like there’s any real dispute.”
The statements could be used against Trump
The lawyer continued, “He knew that the secretaries of state had said to him, ‘No, there is no issue, these have been certified, there’s no legal basis to do it.’ So I just don’t know why John, who is a good lawyer, didn’t just zip it and not say anything.” Weissmann then explained that these statements could be used against the client.
A “rookie” move
Weissmann elaborated, “You have to make a motion and say, ‘I am saying this was an agent of the defendant.’ I mean, again, the judge would have the discretion to say, ‘Maybe this particular statement wasn’t made for him.’ But there’s a case called GAF that says when you are an agent of a defendant, and you are making a statement on their behalf, that is admissible.” The lawyer called out Lauro’s “rookie mistake.”
Still, Weissmann praised the lawyer
Weissmann continued, “So again, that is why it is fine to say, ‘Here are the defenses.’ But to start weighing in on this, I mean, not that Donald Trump is going to testify, but if he were and he didn’t say exactly this thing, he can be cross-examined on this,” he concluded.
Not a smart move
“So this was just a kind of rookie mistake to make. Just to be clear, John is a good lawyer. I think this was not a smart move,” Weissmann said.
Lauro’s Newsmax appearance
Georgia State Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis posted on X a reaction to Lauro’s appearance on Newsmax, writing, “The ‘my client just wanted to unlawfully pause an official government proceeding’ is a strange defense to an unlawful disruption of a government proceeding charge.”
Not a defense
Weissmann added to that, “An admission. Not a defense.” Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney, joined, adding, “Sounds like a coup to me.”
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