A former White House lawyer who served under then-president Donald Trump has criticized the “aspirational” defense used in to justify his latest indictment.
Donald Trump Has Drama
Ty Cobb, who served the White House from 2017-18, blasted Donald Trump’s attorneys’ use of the First Amendment – the right to free speech – suggesting the former president was merely “aspirational” in his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, in charge of the indictment concerning election interference and the events of January 6, expressed in his filings that while Donald Trump was entitled to use the First Amendment to state his opinion, he was not legally entitled to use it as a means to overturn the results of a presidential election.
No matter, Donald Trump and his supporters insist he has not violated any law, something which will ultimately be decided by a jury next year.
The Case Of John Lauro
One of Donald Trump’s current attorneys, John Lauro, recently took aim at prosecutors by insisting his client had not broken any laws. In an interview with CNN, Lauro argued that Trump was exercising his constitutional rights by “asking” then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out Electoral Votes from certain state, rather than “directing.”
“Asking is aspirational. Asking is not action. It’s core free speech. The press should be defending free speech,” Lauro told CNN’s “State of the Union”. “What President Trump was doing is within the reality and the realm of free speech. He’s asking his vice president, ‘What about taking this course of action?’ Ultimately, his vice president rejected all of the proposals that were made.”
“What President Trump did not do is direct Vice President Pence to do anything. He asked him in an aspirational way. Asking is covered by the First Amendment,” Lauro added.
Intriguingly, Pence also used the word “ask” when criticizing his former superior on the same program.
“I truly do believe that we kept our oath to the Constitution that day,” Pence said. “But the American people deserve to know that President Trump, you know, asked me to put him over my oath to the Constitution, but I kept my oath, and I always will.”
In the fallout from the CNN interviews, Cobb was asked whether he thought the First Amendment defense would convince a jury when the trial takes place next year.
“Not at all,” Cobb answered. “I’m not aware of the aspirational defense or the free speech defense to a gang leader saying to two of his subordinates, ‘I need you to please rob a bank for me,’ and they do it. You know, that’s — that’s aspirational, but it leads to a crime. And that’s exactly what Trump did with Pence.”
While Cobb praised Lauro as a “respected” attorney with a “good reputation,” he dismissed the arguments made as “false.”
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.