‘Technical Violation of the Constitution is Not a Violation of Criminal Law’: Here Are the 5 Wildest Moments From Trump Lawyer’s Sunday Show Blitz
Donald Trump’s lawyer pulled off what’s known as the full Ginsburg by appearing on all five major Sunday morning news shows. And along the way, he made a number of eyebrow-raising comments in defense of the former president.
Attorney John Lauro’s interviews centered on Trump’s indictment by special counsel Jack Smith over his attempts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election. The five conversations varied in their intensity — but each included a plethora of head-scratching claims and other attention-grabbing statements on behalf of his client.
Lauro’s comments will most likely reflect Trump’s defense all the way up to a future trial. so let’s take a look at some of his more bizarre talking points:
1. Lauro Claims There Was a “Peaceful” Transfer of Power
The attorney had a rousing showdown with CNN’s Dana Bash as he defended the ex-president’s actions while portraying him as a victim of political persecution. One of the stranger moments occurred, however, when Lauro claimed that Trump facilitated a “peaceful transition of power” after Mike Pence refused to go along with Trump’s scheme to use fake electors to halt the election certification.
Those scenarios were presented to Vice President Pence. He considered them, and as a constitutional matter, he rejected them. One of the last, and the ultimate, requests that President Trump made was to pause the voting for ten days to allow the state to recertify or certify or audit, and Mr. Pence rejected that as well. After that, there was a peaceful transition of power.
Bash was taken aback, and she reminded Lauro that January 6 was also the day Trump’s supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol to overthrow the election after being fueled by the former president’s lies. It was that same mob that called for Pence to be hanged when he refused Trump’s orders to stop the certification.
“What happened on January 6 was not peaceful!” Bash said.
Lauro responded by claiming “The transfer of power was certainly peaceful.”
“Did you see what happened on January 6?” Bash asked him. “Did that look peaceful to you?”
“I’m not saying that that was in any way appropriate,” Lauro answered. “But the ultimate power of the presidency was transferred to Mr. Biden. We all know that, as you do.”
2. “Mike Pence Will Be One of Our Best Witnesses”
In interviews with ABC News’ This Week and CBS’ Face The Nation, Lauro said he relished the idea of Pence taking the witness stand when Trump’s case goes to trial. In fact, he claimed that the guy who was targeted by a Trump-incited mob “will be one of our best witnesses.”
Despite Lauro’s claims that Pence’s testimony will disprove the alleged criminality of Trump’s actions, the former VP was on the Sunday shows at the very same time, and spoke at length about the pressure campaign Team Trump put him under to go beyond his constitutional authority and join their endeavor to defraud the election.
3. “A Technical Violation of the Constitution is Not a Violation of Criminal Law”
Another of Lauro’s defense arguments involved him differentiating between a “technical violation of the Constitution” and “a violation of criminal law.” The comment was made in reference to Trump’s efforts to have Pence stop the election certification. Lauro based his point on Pence not describing Trump’s conduct as “acting criminally,” and his own claim that Trump’s fraudulent schemes didn’t put him afoul of the law.
“He said the President asked him to violate the Constitution,” countered NBC’s Chuck Todd, “which is another way of saying he asked him to break the law.”
“No, that’s wrong,” Lauro shot back. “A technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law. That’s just plain wrong. And to say that is contrary to decades of legal statute.”
4. Trump’s calls to overturn the election were simply “aspirational”
One of Lauro’s recurring arguments was that Trump was exercising his First Amendment rights with his “aspirational” speech where Trump asked Pence and others to help him overturn the election. Todd pressed Lauro on this when they talked about the phone call in which Trump pressed Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for the ex-president to overturn his loss in the state.
Todd: If he had proof he won the state, why did he threaten the secretary of state with a criminal charge?
Lauro: That wasn’t a threat at all. What he was asking for is for Raffensperger to get to the truth. He believes that there were an excess of 10,000 votes that were counted illegally. And what he was asking for is the secretary of state to act appropriately and find these votes that were counted illegally.
Lauro: Hold on one second. That was an aspirational ask. He is entitled to petition even state government. But that doesn’t involve an obstruction of federal government. What the Biden administration has said is somehow President Trump obstructed a federal proceeding. That relates to what was going on in the states. And President Trump had every right to ask the secretary of state, ‘I believe that this election was conducted improperly. There are deficiencies here. I want to see if there are more than 10,000 votes, or whatever the number was, that were counted illegally.’ Once again, that’s core political speech.
5. Lauro Calls for Trial to Take Place in West Virginia Because It’s a More “Diverse Venue” than Washington D.C.
Ever since Trump’s indictment, the former president and his allies have repeatedly complained about Washington D.C., claiming his trial should be moved out of the capital because it won’t be fair with a jury taken from the left-leaning area. Lauro called for the case to be moved to West Virginia last week, and he did it again while speaking with Major Garrett.
Garrett: Are you still going to pursue a change of venue?
Lauro: Absolutely, we would like a diverse venue, a diverse jury.
Garrett: Do you have an expectation that will be granted?
Lauro: That reflects the characteristics of the American people. It’s up to the judge. I think West Virginia would be an excellent venue to try this case.
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