Multiple incriminating remarks

One good thing about Trump’s campaigning: he keeps incriminating himself.

During a town hall event on CNN Wednesday night, former President Donald Trump made multiple incriminating remarks about his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s responses will further hurt his case should Special Counsel Jack Smith charge the former president in connection with his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and other attempts to hold onto power unlawfully. Trump’s statements were also valuable to Fulton County DA Fani Willis in her investigation and possible prosecution.

Consider what Trump had to say about former Vice President Pence. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out that Pence has blamed Trump for endangering his life. Trump interjected with a lie. “I don’t think he was in any danger,” Trump claimed.

That is clearly false. Some of Trump’s followers erected a hangman’s gallows outside of the Capitol. And the mob chanted, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Pence!” Shortly after the Capitol was breached, Secret Service agents had to whisk Pence away to safety (which Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Al) told Trump as it happened). Even so, the rioters came within 40 feet of the vice president.

The main reason the rioters focused their anger at Pence was because Trump repeatedly told them that the vice president had the power to alter the outcome of the election. That is where Trump’s statements Wednesday night were important from a legal perspective.

Trump stated: Pence “did something wrong. He should have put the votes back to the state legislatures. I think we would have had a different outcome, I really do.” The reason that puts the former president in legal jeopardy is because Trump’s own legal adviser (John Eastman) admitted during an Oval Office meeting that the Electoral Count Act would not allow Pence to take such action. Trump’s remarks on CNN provide additional evidence that he does not and did not care about the scope of Pence’s actual legal authority.

Trump is dumb as a stump, so he can say he didn’t know about pretty much anything, but Eisen et al. are saying that legally speaking he can’t. There’s a limit to how much you can just throw up your hands and say you had no idea.

Trump acknowledged during the Jan. 4, 2021 meeting that the vice president didn’t have the legal authority to return electoral votes back to the states. Yet, Trump still demanded that he do so (and defended that unlawful option again on CNN).

Now, Trump is Trump, and it seems more than possible that he can acknowledge that Pence doesn’t have the authority to do X and. immediately after acknowledging, order him to do X without really noticing that he’s telling Pence to commit a crime, because he really is that thick. But legally speaking that doesn’t get him off the hook…unless of course it does, because the people deciding about the hook are trumpies.

Following the attack on the Capitol, Trump wanted to say he would issue a blanket pardon of the rioters, but White House lawyers strongly objected, and no such statement was made. Suffice it to say, Trump’s remarks on CNN exceeded what any reasonable defense lawyer would advise him.

Well that was…you know…more than two years ago. Might as well be two hundred. You can’t expect Trump to keep something in mind for more than two years.

Nor does the legal harm Trump did himself stop there. He also reaffirmed that he would make the damning Jan. 2, 2021 call to Brad Raffensperger again, despite the fact that it may lead to criminal charges by Fulton County DA Fani Willis this summer (and possibly by the Justice Department as well). That is important because it shows he is unrepentant, which is an added incentive for the DA to seek accountability (not as if she needed one).

And not as if Trump is ever anything but unrepentant. He’s incapable of even pretending to be repentant.

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