Donald Trump Needs to Shut Up

To Save Himself, Donald Trump Needs to Stay Quiet – Donald Trump has long been known as a defense attorney’s worst legal nightmare. He’s the client from Hell. Even Roy Cohn, the man who supposedly schooled a young Donald Trump in the ways of flippantly defying accusers in civil court, knew that Trump was a loose cannon. Once Cohn, the only lawyer who could ever contain Trump and protect him from himself, had passed away, Trump was left to his own devices. 

Having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, Donald Trump continues to behave as boorishly in courtrooms around the country as he did years ago. In fact, despite his advanced age, Trump might be even more gonzo in the courtroom. 

The first rule of law is that, when you are accused of something, you say nothing. The second rule is that, once you have been accused of a crime, you immediately call your attorney. And once your attorney enters the fray, you let them do all the talking. 

Donald Trump Cannot Save Himself

But, but, Trump is his best defender. A man with a massive audience on a social media site (that he partly owns), who can make cameras from all over the world fixate on him in a singular fashion, surely Trump is his best defender in public. 

After all, these prosecutions that Trump faces today are politically motivated. 

So, why shouldn’t the former president take his case to the court of public opinion when he won’t get a fair trial under such a politicized legal process? 

Well, for starters, the kind of public self-defense people are talking about would require a degree of message discipline that the former president lacks. The man has you know what of the mouth, whether on camera or via social media.

Under these circumstances, anything Trump says or types can—and assuredly will—be used against him in the courts of law he finds himself being tried in. Already, Trump has made his situation worse with his actions and words over the years. He’s proven unable to defend himself in the court of public opinion effectively.

Speaking of the court of public opinion, despite his hardcore base of “MAGA” voter support, those voters are not the majority of the American electorate. Beyond that “MAGA” group, though, Trump is merely tolerated at best. At worst, the former president is reviled to his very core. 

In fact, with that majority of people who despise the forty-fifth president (completely irrationally in most cases, I might add), the more Trump presents himself in the public eye, the more they abhor his very being.

This is particularly important because Trump is increasingly influencing potential juries. Of course, this is probably part of his strategy: get his message of victimization out to the masses and sway just enough of them that it could help him when his case goes before a jury. 

Br’er Rabbit Couldn’t Get Himself Out of This One Alone

But the cases that Trump is being charged with, notably the federal case against the former president involving his alleged mishandling of classified documents, is cut-and-dry. The classified documents case is the one legal woe that Trump is facing where even former Trump defender, the legal genius, Jonathan Turley, claims Trump is in deep trouble.

And that case is only about the facts of the case. In that case, Trump very clearly improperly removed classified information from the White House, as he departed the office, and stored them in unsecure environments. 

Yes, Trump defenders understandably guffaw because, in their eyes, Mar-a-Lago being protected by a phalanx of Secret Service agents is enough to secure the documents. But many of the documents in question are believed to be compartmented and, therefore, are required to be stored in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) until they have been properly declassified by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Please, Stay Quiet, Trump, For All Our Sakes

Given these very basic facts, Trump taking the stand in his defense would not only defy the basic logic of legal defense, but it would also do little to change a jury’s mind. It might militate jurors against Trump even more. 

Trump might take the stand and incriminate himself even further, just as he so often does. 

Whatever Trump thinks of his own legal genius (it is clearly a very high self-opinion), the realities differ significantly from Trump’s interpretation of his own effectiveness in these matters. 

For the sake of his own freedom, his family, his chosen political party, and the country, Trump should keep his yap shut and let his lawyers do their jobs. These are highly skilled, well-paid (for a reason), and trained professionals whose vested interest is in getting Trump out of his legal jam. 

But they cannot do that if Trump is vomiting self-incriminatory statements and bizarre actions as part of some cockamamie scheme on his part to woo potential jurors and get himself acquitted. Sadly, the former president seems intent to hang himself legally—and his accusers are more than happy to let him do so. 

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 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 occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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