An MSNBC panel was shocked by two television interviews Thursday in which Donald Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, appeared to confirm an allegation contained in the January 6 indictment against the former president.
Lauro had told Fox News host Laura Ingraham earlier in the evening that by Jan. 6, Trump had expressed his approval for Pence to send the election back to the states instead of having the Electoral College vote certified.
“What President Trump said was, ‘Let’s go with Option D,'” Lauro said to Ingraham’s Corner. “Let’s just stop, let’s just pause the voting and let the state legislatures take one last look and decide whether the election was conducted fairly or not.” This is the constitutional law. This is not a matter of criminal activity.
Lauro said much the same thing on Newsmax a bit late.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell was surprised by the revelation.
“This is Trump’s criminal defense attorney citing Donald Trump as having committed a crime,” he said. “Donald Trump’s criminal defense attorney tonight added information to Jack Smith’s 42-page description of Donald Trump’s crimes. The conversation John Lauro just described appears on page 34 of the indictment against his client.
The indictment alleges that during a meeting on January 4th, “defendant and co-conspirator 2 then requested that the vice president either unilaterally reject the legal electors from the seven targeted states or refer the question of which slate was legitimate to the targeted state legislatures .”
The indictment also states that on the evening of Jan. 6, the same co-conspirator sent an email to Pence’s attorney that suggested the vice president was violating the Election Counting Act. “I beg you to consider another relatively minor infraction [of the ECA] and we are adjourning for 10 days to allow the Legislature to complete their investigations as well as to allow for a full forensic audit of the vast amount of illegal activity that took place here,” the person believed to be attorney John Eastman wrote.
MSNBC contributor and former DOJ attorney Andrew Weissman considered Lauro’s statements an “admission” because he wrote in a tweet.
“So I don’t know why a defense attorney would start giving facts about a critical moment,” he said on air, prompting O’Donnell to exclaim, “That’s the whole case!”
Weissman added, “It’s such a damning thing when you put it in context, because you remember what the indictment alleges…[that] the reason this was done with the vice president is because previously all the efforts that Donald Trump has made regarding the secretaries of state have not worked.
“I just don’t know why John, who is a good lawyer, didn’t just shut him up and say nothing,” he continued.
“They don’t teach television in law school,” O’Donnell quipped.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirchner, also an MSNBC contributor, was also taken aback, saying bluntly, “It makes no sense.”
Trump pleaded not guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia on Thursday to a four-count indictment that accuses the former president of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.