The thing about Donald Trump is that even if he hires people who know what they’re doing, it still doesn’t help him any, because he’ll ignore their advice in favor of doing whatever plays into his infinite narcissism and God complex. If anyone on Trump’s team of criminal defense attorneys is competent when it comes to legal strategy, he’s clearly ignoring them – and that just came back to bite him.
Donald Trump has put down a whole lot of his remaining chips on the idea that he can wage a legal battle in court to significantly slow down House Democrats in their efforts to subpoena witnesses and evidence. One of the first rules of winning a legal battle – or even obtaining enough benefit of the doubt to convince a judge to let you drag it out – is to make sure you appear reasonable in your approach.
Trump either doesn’t know this or doesn’t care. Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Trump told the House Judiciary Committee that he’s instructed all eighty-one of his associates not to comply with the document requests they received from the committee. This is troublesome for Trump in the sense that many of these people don’t even work for him, so he can’t “instruct” them to do anything – and in fact he’s arguably obstructing justice by even asking them not to comply. For that matter, the committee announced awhile back that several of the associates had already turned over the documents. More importantly, Trump just helpfully confessed to his adversaries on the committee that he’s taking a legally indefensible approach.
If you don’t want to take our word for it, ask Congressman Ted Lieu, a former prosecutor who sits on the House Judiciary Committee. He reacted to the news with this tweet: “Thank you Donald Trump for strengthening our court case. Can you please tweet that you are King and that Congress has no oversight powers? That will make the issue very clear to the court. Thanks.”
Donald Trump could have potentially helped his legal case by making even a superficial gesture to create the appearance that he was being reasonable about the subpoena process. Instead, because he cares more about appearing powerful and demanding loyalty from his associates, his already-low odds of succeeding in court just dropped significantly. Nancy Pelosi said Trump is becoming self-impeachable. This is probably more or less what she had in mind.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report