An MSNBC panel was shocked by a pair of television interviews Thursday where Donald Trump lawyer John Lauro seemed to confirm an allegation contained within the Jan. 6-related indictment of the former president.
Lauro had told Fox News host Laura Ingraham earlier in the evening that, leading up to Jan. 6, Trump voiced his approval for Pence to send the election back to the states rather than have the Electoral College vote be certified.
“What President Trump said is, ‘Let’s go with option D,’” Lauro said on The Ingraham Angle. “Let’s just halt, let’s just pause the voting and allow the state legislatures to take one last look and make a determination as to whether or not the elections were handled fairly. That’s constitutional law. That’s not an issue of criminal activity.”
Lauro said basically the same thing on Newsmax a bit later.
MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell was surprised at the revelation.
“That is a Trump criminal defense lawyer quoting Donald Trump committing a crime,” he said. “Donald Trump’s criminal defense lawyer tonight added information to Jack Smith’s 42-page description of Donald Trump’s crimes. The conversation that John Lauro just described appears on page 34 of the indictment against his client.”
The indictment alleges there that during a Jan. 4 meeting, “The Defendant and Co-Conspirator 2 then asked the Vice President to either unilaterally reject the legitimate electors from the seven targeted states, or send the question of which slate was legitimate to the targeted states’ legislatures.”
Additionally, the indictment states that on the evening of Jan. 6, that same co-conspirator emailed Pence’s counsel suggesting that the vice president violate the Electoral Count Act. “I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation [of the ECA] and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here,” wrote the person, who is believed to be lawyer John Eastman.
MSNBC contributor and former Department of Justice lawyer Andrew Weissman considered Lauro’s statements to be “an admission,” as he wrote in a tweet.
“So, I don’t know why a defense lawyer is going to start giving facts about a critical moment,” he said on air, prompting O’Donnell to exclaim: “It’s the whole case!”
Weissman added: “It is such a damning thing when you put it in context because remember what the indictment alleges…[that] the reason this had to be done with the vice president is because prior to that, all the efforts that Donald Trump took with respect to the secretaries of state did not work.”
“I just don’t know why John, who is a good lawyer, didn’t just zip it and not say anything,” he continued.
“They don’t teach TV in law school,” O’Donnell quipped.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, also an MSNBC contributor, was stunned as well, saying bluntly, “It makes no sense.”
Trump pleaded not guilty in a federal court in D.C. on Thursday to a four-count indictment where the former president is accused of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.