On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he had “A large, complex, detailed but irrefutable report on the presidential election fraud which took place in Georgia…” that he would present at 11 AM on Monday. Based on that report, Trump insisted, all charges should be dropped and he could receive “complete exoneration.”
That is, of course, nothing like how the legal system works. But it doesn’t matter, because now the chicken feathers are flying and there’s not going to be any “irrefutable report.”
Instead, Trump went scrambling back to his failing social media platform on Thursday night to deliver an announcement so weasel-worded that it would embarrass weasels. The big news conference is “no longer necessary” because someone has finally managed to get through to Trump that he was digging his own legal grave.
Earlier in the day, ABC News reported that Trump’s attorneys were trying to make it clear to him that standing in front of a camera and repeating lies that were already part of criminal acts contained in the indictment issued by a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury would “only complicate his legal problems.” Because in America (and probably everywhere), repeating the lies that already got you in trouble in a forum where no one gets to challenge those lies can only make things worse, not better.
What those attorneys said to Trump isn’t clear, but they surely deserve some kind of recognition because they managed to shake Trump hard enough to finally penetrate his thick orange shell and make clear just how serious this situation has become. Getting Trump to deliver a statement in which he surrenders national air time because “my lawyers would prefer” that things be done legally is one heck of an accomplishment. And just look at that strategic “I believe,” which Trump clearly inserted just to give it all an extra soupçon of hey-I-was-just-giving-an-opinion-here. That’s some good lawyering.
But the speech being canceled is enormously disappointing. It’s disappointing to Trump, who doesn’t get his time in front of the sweaty hot lights. It’s disappointing to Trump fans, who don’t get to … do whatever they do when he’s speaking. But most of all, it has to be disappointing to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her team of investigators, who had surely sharpened a whole raft of pencils to jot down a dozen or so new criminal acts.
There were also at least two judges who were bound to have tuned in to see just how badly Trump would trample their instructions. Also, Florida Judge Aileen Cannon would have been there to … do whatever Trump fans do when they are watching him.
In any case, that someone managed to get through to Trump how every yap he uttered might be measured in years of fresh indictments is a wonder. Some voices on social media have also suggested Trump is worried about upsetting this set of attorneys because he’s not sure there are any more out there who would have him as a client. Especially since in addition to the abundant evidence that he is a terrible client who rarely pays his bills, the case in Georgia—and the two federal cases—don’t offer great prospects for Trump walking away unscathed.
So for the moment, Trump has to bite his lips, scowl, and go without a television appearance in order to please his attorneys.
But Trump’s faux contrition is unlikely to last. After all, if Trump can’t run his mouth without limit, isn’t he already in jail?
Author: Mark Sumner