How Trump’s non-thesis thesis defense will look and feel: A non-TODAY presentation
By Emily RogersOctober 10, 2020 12:23:03A new non-trial defense strategy has emerged for President Donald Trump’s first trial for obstruction of justice.
As the court prepares to hear arguments on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal’s Jeffrey Toobin and Peter Baker discuss the potential effect of Trump’s defense strategy on the president’s presidency and the case against him.
The Times also has the latest on Trump’s upcoming trial.
Trump’s trial, if it goes forward, would mark his second legal challenge to the special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
The president, whose defense strategy was detailed in a memo sent to attorneys last week, has insisted that he did nothing wrong and that he will vigorously defend himself.
“There’s no question about that,” Trump said Tuesday in a press conference.
“The president did not obstruct justice.
There’s no doubt about that.
The president has never done anything wrong.”
He added, “The president is a big believer in the rule of law and justice.
He has never taken action against anybody.”
Trump has previously said that Mueller’s team is seeking to intimidate him.
In its memo, the Times said the defense strategy will be similar to what it did for former President Barack Obama, who was charged with obstruction of Congress in his first trial.
The Times said that it expects Trump’s attorneys to call witnesses who will support Trump’s contention that he has not broken any laws and that the obstruction charge is not a legal defense.
According to the memo, Trump’s lawyers are expected to call “leading experts on the case, including two attorneys with extensive expertise in ethics, conflict of interest, obstruction of governmental affairs and criminal law” and to argue that Mueller is looking for the president to “defend himself by asserting that he was the victim of political retaliation and that it was not a criminal matter.”
Mueller has charged Trump with obstruction and lying to investigators about his contacts with Russians.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed Mueller’s investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt, though it has uncovered evidence of potentially criminal conduct by Trump aides.
Muller has charged five other people in his probe with criminal acts, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn Jr.
The paper said that Trump’s strategy will likely be a form of rebuttal to what has been called a “torturous” and “incompetent” trial.
It is unclear whether Trump’s legal team will make a formal motion to dismiss the case in court, or whether they will rely on the “fear that a president’s lawyer would try to convince a jury that his client had acted in good faith and in the interests of justice.”
“We expect to see more and more of this,” the paper wrote.
“If we have seen something that would have a chilling effect on the way a trial works, that’s a concern.
And it could create a problem.”