A lawyer for former President Donald Trump, John Lauro, seemed to admit to a charge listed in the indictment related to January 6 and the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, shocking an MSNBC panel.
Mr Lauro on Thursday told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that leading up to January 6, Mr Trump supported Mr Pence sending the election results back to the states.
John Eastman, a lawyer who helped orchestrate Mr Trump’s election scheme, laid out a series of options that were discussed with Vice President Pence, Mr Lauro said onThe Ingraham Angle.
Although Mr Pence disagreed, Mr Lauro continued, “What President Trump said is, ‘Let’s go with option D. 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 anchor Lawrence O’Donnell reacted to the clip, saying in shock: “That is a Trump criminal defense lawyer quoting Donald Trump committing a crime.”
“Donald Trump’s criminal defense lawyer tonight added information to 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.”
The indictment describes that conversation “as a criminal conspiracy,” the MSNBC host said.
The indictment described a meeting on 4 January, based on Mr Pence’s contemporaneous notes: “The Defendant and Co-Conspirator 2 then asked the Vice President to either unilaterally reject the legitimate electors from the seven targeted states, or send the question of which slate was legitimate to the targeted states’ legislatures.”
“When the Vice President challenged Co-Conspirator 2 on whether the proposal to return the question to the states was defensible, Co-Conspirator 2 responded, ‘Well, nobody’s tested it before,’” the indictment continued.
“The Vice President then told the Defendant, ‘Did you hear that? Even your own counsel is not saying I have that authority.’ The Defendant responded, ‘That’s okay, I prefer the other suggestion’ of the Vice President rejecting the electors unilaterally,” the indictment claimed.
Mr O’Donnell then explained: “Donald Trump’s defense lawyer tonight in effect admitted that the indictment is an accurate description of that meeting.”
The MSNBC host also pointed out that criminal defence lawyers stay quiet, calling Mr Lauro’s move “the single biggest mistake a criminal defence lawyer could make.”
Former DOJ prosecutor Andrew Weissmann reacted to Mr Lauro repeating the claims on Newsmax, writing: “An admission. Not a defense.” He was sitting on the MSNBC panel as well. Mr Weissmann reacted to the interviews: “So, I don’t know why a defense lawyer is going to start giving facts about a critical moment.”
Mr O’Donnell then exclaimed, “It’s the whole case!”
Mr Weissman continued, “It is such a damning thing when you put it in context because remember what the indictment alleges…[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.”
“I just don’t know why John, who is a good lawyer, didn’t just zip it and not say anything,” Mr Weissmann added.
Mr Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his arraignment.
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