Donald Trump is waging information warfare against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has wisely remained silent throughout this process. The strategy has rallied the easily manipulated Republican base behind a cavalcade of implausible and disjointed lies from Trump, his Congressional lackeys and the conservative media. This bodes well for thwarting any impeachment effort, where votes against Trump will be career suicide for Republican Representatives and Senators.
The problem is this scorched-earth approach means nothing in a Washington, DC or New York City courtroom, which is where Trump will be tried for still-to-be-determined crimes.
The jury selection process will be tense. It isn’t a question of whether people have an opinion about Trump, but whether they can render fair judgment based on the case that will be presented to them. While the former President’s legal team will argue for a change of venue to avoid a heavily Democratic jury pool with plenty of people of color, that effort is likely to fail. But even if successful, the move would be to a nearby suburb, which would not dramatically alter the jury composition, at least in terms of political leanings. Trump, for instance, will never be tried in the friendlier territory of rural southwestern Virginia or upstate New York.
The selected and alternative jurors will be sequestered. While nothing can be done about the media coverage of Trump’s actions before and after occupying the Oval Office, during the trial, jurors will be subjected to a news blackout to avoid prejudicial legal analysis of the trial. The only thing that will matter are the judge’s rulings, the lawyers’ arguments, how the witnesses fare, and the strength of the evidence that is presented.
The judge will certainly issue a gag order, which will include Donald Trump’s worst nightmare — a Twitter ban. In addition, Trump’s lawyers will not let him testify, because the ensuing cross examination by the prosecution would be an epic disaster. Therefore, the man who relies on manipulation through every communications channel possible, will be silenced. So all the histrionics we are experiencing now mean nothing in the end. As a result, everyone needs to ignore the Trump sideshow of distractions going on now.
J.H. Norton is a communications professional, life-long Democrat, and married father of two boys living in Washington, D.C.