Former President Donald Trump said during an interview that aired Sunday it was his decision to describe the 2020 presidential election as “rigged.”
When asked why he ignored his lawyers and advisers who told him he lost the 2020 election, Trump said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” it was because he “didn’t respect them.”
“You’d hired them,” anchor Kristen Welker pointed out.
“Sure but that doesn’t mean — you know you hire ‘em, you’ve never met these people, you get a recommendation, they turn out to be RINO’s,” Trump responded, adding “In many cases, I didn’t respect them. But I did respect others. I respected many others that said the election was rigged.”
“You called some of your outside lawyers — you said they had crazy theories. Why were you listening to them?” Welker followed up. “Were you listening to them because they were telling you what you wanted to hear?”
“You know who I listen to? Myself,” Trump responded. “I saw what happened. I watched that election, and I thought the election was over at 10 o’clock in the evening.”
“Were you calling the shots though Mr. President, ultimately?” Welker pressed.
“As to whether or not I believed it was rigged? Sure. It was my decision,” Trump responded. “But I listened to some people. Some people said that.”
Trump’s remarks come as he is currently facing 91 counts across four criminal cases in Washington D.C., New York, Florida and Georgia — two of which are federal. The indictments in Washington and Georgia stem from the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Since the former president got hit with the historic indictment, legal experts have floated potential arguments Trump’s team may rely on to try and get through these criminal cases.
One of those arguments — though quite risky — would be for Trump to claim that he was following his lawyers’ advice. That, of course, would require him to testify to that in court.
After his remarks on NBC, that defense might be harder than ever to sell to a judge.
In reaction to Trump’s admission, Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe said that the former president “just threw his whole ‘following my lawyers’ advice’ defense under the bus.”
“No, let me correct that: not just under the bus but under a roaring, speeding, ginormous freight train,” Tribe tweeted.
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann also agreed on MSNBC’s “Inside With Jen Psaki” on Sunday.
Katyal said Trump’ comments actually “demonstrates his culpability” and makes the case against him “a lot easier.”