Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand His Mouth is the Problem – “If you go after me, I’m coming after you,” was what former President Donald J. Trump seethed at his interlocutors in the Administrative State who have had the forty-fifth president indicted for four major cases, involving the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents, his purported role in the January 6 riot, and supposedly paying hush money to the adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, in 2016.
Trump is partly being investigated and tried for his public statements.
Yet, the former president continues to make what sound like incriminating statements in public.
Donald Trump has become so irate by what he’s being made to endure that he’s become a walking, self-incriminating machine.
It’s so bad that Trump’s own legal team is losing their heads trying to defend the president without having him damage their case with his loose talk and sloppy actions as he campaigns to become the forty-seventh president of the United States.
Trump was set to make what he claimed was a speech about the charges against him in Georgia, where he has been indicted for attempting to unduly influence the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election. That speech was scheduled for last Thursday.
In the run-up to Thursday, Trump claimed that he was going to present “irrefutable evidence” that totally “exonerated” him of any wrongdoing in that case. Ultimately, someone convinced Trump not to do that.
The former president should look upon whoever convinced him not to make that speech as a hero. Any defense attorney worth their salt will tell their clients that, after they are indicted, they should never speak to anyone other than their attorneys about their case.
When it comes to speaking publicly about their case, until it is resolved, those under indictment should remain silent. After all, anything the accused says and does from that point forward will be used in a court of law against them.
The Donald Trump Effect
Understandably, Trump is a unique case. He’s the former president.
It is obvious that the Biden Administration and the rest of the Administrative State are using these indictments as a cudgel to damage Trump’s reelection campaign out of fear that he might defeat the otherwise sclerotic Joe Biden.
Nevertheless, Donald Trump is still under the legal spotlight and the stakes are not just his political future. Trump’s freedom is on the line.
Given that Trump is the current GOP frontrunner, and he is clearly being hit with politicized indictments, the former president believes he’s got little choice but to mount his defense in the public square. The problem is that whenever Trump has done that, he often makes it harder to get out of the predicaments he finds himself in with the law.
In the past, he was able to finagle the outcome because so often his rivals had completely blown his alleged transgressions out of proportion that few outside the Democratic Party elite took the charges seriously.
With these cases, though, they are slightly different.
There are multiple indictments in many different courts, both at the state and federal level. In the specific case that Donald Trump faces in Georgia, there is a damning recording of him apparently demanding the Georgia election officials “find” him more than 11,000 votes so he can win that state.
That alone is going to damage Trump’s defense.
Then, there are apparently text messages that the Atlanta prosecutor, Fani Willis, has indicating that there was coordination between the Trump legal team in 2020 and a Republican Party official in Coffee County, Georgia, that ended up being the source of an unauthorized breach of Georgia state election data.
This prompted prosecutors in the case to charge Donald Trump and 17 others—including Rudy Giuliani—under federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Meanwhile, Trump’s nemesis in federal court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney, Jack Smith, requested a protective order the week of August 4 after Trump took to his social media account on Truth Social and wrotethat, “I’m coming after you.” Smith also included Trump’s other statement that, “IF YOU COME AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU” in his request for a protective order.
Most legal analysts believe that everything Trump has said or will say about these cases on the campaign trail will be used by prosecutors to further ensure a conviction of the former president.
On August 11, the judge presiding over Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s alleged involvement on January 6 issued the protective order that Smith had sought by reminding the forty-fifth president that “Mr. Trump, like an American, has a right to freedom of speech. But that right is not limitless.”
That was a warning to Trump not to get too engrossed in his public persona when defending himself. Smith sought that protective order because, at the time, his prosecution team was readying to share evidence that they had gathered on Trump’s purported malfeasance.
That is the right that all accused have in our system, to see the evidence they are being charged with. But Smith’s concern is that Trump will share that proprietary data with the public to undermine the case against him.
Multiple prosecutors pursuing Trump have been incensed by the former president’s penchant to take information that the prosecution was required to share with him by law and to then immediately disseminate that information to the public, thereby dominating the news cycle in a way that the prosecution did not like.
How Far Should Donald Trump Go?
On the one hand, many empathize with Trump: he’s fighting for his freedom and his political future. Is not the prosecution allowed to call for press conference and issue sweeping statements that might taint public opinion against the accused? Why can Trump not do the same?
Of course, there is a medley of retaliatory responses that the prosecution can take to further compound Trump’s legal woes. The protective order was the beginning. Should Trump be his usual immodest self, the prosecution will likely gain a cornucopia of incriminating statements they can use to further their prosecution of the former president.
Trump is right to recognize he has certain opportunities to defend himself that most other defendants don’t have. At the same time, that opportunity is a double-edged sword.
Since Trump is the least disciplined individual in politics today, the likelihood that his public attacks on the legitimacy of his various legal cases will do more harm than good is great.
A wise man would keep his mouth shut, focus on campaigning, and let his lawyers do their work. Alas, the forty-fifth president is not a wise or judicious man.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
From the Vault