Sunday Four-Play: Trump’s lawyers try to spin their incorrigible client’s latest indictment

Well, it’s indictment week. Again. And that must mean it’s time for Sunday Four-Play—a new-ish feature in which we shine a spotlight on some of the Sunday show hijinks.

In last week’s installment, we talked about Donald Trump’s latest indictment. This week, we’ll be talking about Donald Trump’s latest indictment. Next week: An exclusive four-part interview with the first Kardashian to show up at my door with an ounce of OG Kush and a Hefty bag full of crullers. Unless Donald Trump is indicted again—but that’s just common sense.

So before this is all over, will we see more Trump indictment weeks or Trump infrastructure weeks? In other words, is Trump more dangerously criminal or dangerously incompetent? You make the call.

The hits keep coming, and Trump’s not doing himself any favors by continuing to post on social media with all the forbearance and dignity of a howler monkey with his balls caught in a saltwater taffy machine. He really needs to call his old cybersecurity adviser Rudy Giuliani and ask him how to get locked out of his own phone

But remember. They’re not coming after Trump, they’re coming after you. He’s just in the way. Like one of those impenetrable southern border wall sections you can cut through in six minutes with a pair of Play-Doh Fun Factory scissors and a Bic lighter. 

So let’s take a quick peep at all the witchy witch hunts and election interference and whatnot, shall we?


John Lauro is one of the folks Donald Trump hired to represent him after Barry Zuckerkorn refused to take his calls. He’s already—somewhat hilariously—acknowledged Trump’s guilt in one of the charges brought against him. And he did it on national TV, because Trump isn’t trying to hide anything! Even those things that could land him in prison, with limited conjugal visits from whoever’s spanking him with Forbes magazine these days. 

Lauro appeared on “Meet the Press” with host Chuck Todd, who is leaving the show in September. (Not strictly relevant, I know; it just makes me happy.)

Judging from Lauro’s response, it’s fair to question whether he has any control over his client at all. The more Trump talks, the quaggier his legal quagmire gets. We should consider sending him an Adderall gift basket to hasten his trip to the exercise languidly-sitting-in-a-puddle-of-one’s-own-McRib-filth yard. 

WATCH: Fmr. Pres. Trump attacked Special Counsel Jack Smith, saying he's "deranged."@chucktodd: "Do innocent people attack prosectors?" Trump lawyer John Lauro: "My role is not to address anything about prosectors."

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 6, 2023

TRUMP (CLIP): “Deranged Jack Smith, he’s a deranged human being. You take a look at that face you say, ‘That guy is a sick man, there’s something wrong with him.’”

TODD: “Do you believe he’s deranged?”

LAURO: “President Biden in April of 2022 said he wanted President Trump prosecuted, and he wanted him out of the race. He repeated that in November of 2022. As a result, President Biden has put in motion a political prosecution in the middle of an election season, and obviously everything is open to politics. I’m not involved in politics, I’m just representing a client. I’m ensuring that justice is done in this case. President Trump is entitled to his day in court, and he’ll get it.”

TODD: “Do innocent people attack prosecutors?”

LAURO: “This is a political campaign right now. This prosecution was instituted by President Biden, and in the middle of that campaign, people are going to speak out. My role is not to address anything about prosecutors, but I will say this: There has been a history in the Justice Department of rogue prosecutions. They went after Arthur Andersen, a major accounting firm. Destroyed the company, and the DOJ lost 9-0. They went after the former governor of Virginia in a prosecution—a Republican governor who was convicted unfairly. Reversed 9-0. And now the Justice Department, the Biden Justice Department, is going after a former president for acts that he carried out in fulfillment of his oath and president of the United States.”

You know, when Lauro claimed President Biden said he wanted Trump prosecuted and out of the race, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound anything like Biden. It sure sounds like something Trump would say, though.”

Well, I was right. And since this claim is at the heart of the Trump team’s public defense of their client—i.e., that this is nothing but a political prosecution launched by Trump’s political opponent—it’s important to take this head-on.

First of all, Trump is the one who continually tried to weaponize the DOJ. He wanted the department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey, whom he corruptly fired in an attempt to stop an investigation. He also tried to use the department to overturn the 2020 election. And he continually attacked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after Sessions recused himself in the Russian investigation—because he wanted “his” DOJ to act as his personal Roy Cohn. Oh, and he recently said he would seek to prosecute President Biden if he’s reelected

But Biden? He understands the White House’s traditional hands-off posture toward the DOJ in a way that Trump never did. And he’s continually resisted overstepping his authority. 

So what is Lauro talking about here?

Well, in April 2022, according to media reports, Biden privately mentioned to his inner circle that he thought Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, but he never mentioned this personal preference to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

And in November of last year, responding to a reporter’s question about how to reassure world leaders that the poo-flinging Putin puppet would never resume his tirade, Biden said, “Well, we just have to demonstrate that he will not take power by—if we—if he does run. I’m making sure he, under legitimate efforts of our Constitution, does not become the next president again.” 

In other words, he’s going to campaign against him.

But hey, why let facts and context get in the way of a fun narrative!?


Oh, hey, Lauro was on “Face the Nation,” too! And “ABC This Week”! Not to mention “Fox News Sunday”! He may have appeared in hologram form on at least one of them. 

Here he was with CBS’ Major Garrett talking about the Trump team’s desire for a change of venue:

Trump lawyer John Lauro on CBS: "We would like a diverse venue, a diverse jury ... I think West Virginia will be an excellent venue to try this case. Close to DC and a much more diverse--"

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 6, 2023

GARRETT: “You’re still going to pursue a change of venue?”

LAURO: “Absolutely. We would like a diverse venue, a diverse jury ...”

GARRETT: “Do you have any expectation that will be granted?”

LAURO: “… that reflects the characteristics of the American people. It’s up to the judge. I think West Virginia would be an excellent venue to try this case.”

Yes, the famously diverse state of West Virginia, whose residents represent every color of the rainbow, from alabaster to ecru. Its population is 92.8% white and 3.7% Black. Maybe we could make the jury even more diverse by drawing its members exclusively from meth-fueled brawls in Charleston Cracker Barrel parking lots.

Hey, here’s a tip: If you don’t want to be tried in Washington, D.C., don’t commit crimes in Washington, D.C. It works every time!


Alina Habba, another Trump attorney and apologist, appeared on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo. And this happened:

Habba: I think that realistically you have to remember that a lot of these cases deal with classified documents which mean that all the lawyers now have to apply for special clearance, right? You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have scifs.

— Acyn (@Acyn) August 6, 2023

BARTIROMO: “Let me ask you this, because typically when you have a case as complicated as the one we’re talking about, there is deposition, there is discovery—a whole discovery process where Trump’s lawyers will have to get access to the other side’s information, and vice versa. How long do you expect that process to take, because Jack Smith says he wants a speedy trial. We’re about a year away from an election. Obviously we’re just two weeks away from the first GOP primary debate, two months away from the Iowa Caucuses. Are you expecting to have a trial before election 2024?”

HABBA: “I think that that’s their goal. I think that realistically you have to remember that a lot of these cases deal with classified documents and classified records, which mean that all the lawyers now have to apply for special clearance, right? So it’s not a normal situation. You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have SCIFs. You have to have certain procedures put in place. So while I appreciate Jack Smith trying to bleed us all dry and trying to have a speedy trial, perhaps he should have taken a case that didn’t involve classified documents that he now possesses, that we have to now repossess and review for discovery. It’s a poorly planned attack, frankly, because that’s what it is, it’s political lawfare, and he didn’t think it through. So I think these are going to take a lot longer. I think that once the judges get a [unintelligible] for how many years they’ve had this discovery—look at [Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney] Fani [Willis], two years. But she’s bringing this case now. Why? Because of election interference. They want to keep him tied up in trials, keep his lawyers tied up so that we’re distracted and not focused. It’s not going to work. He is a machine and he knows what he’s doing in a campaign. You know, he’s done this rodeo before.”

[Emphasis added]

Wait, Trump is a machine? Someone alert Mike Lindell!

Mike Lindell's speech announcing a class action lawsuit against all machines set over the Terminator 2 intro.

— Matthew Highton (@MattHighton) March 6, 2022

But never mind Pillow Man. Here’s the real takeaway: “You can’t just take a classified document and review it. You have to have SCIFs. You have to have certain procedures put in place.”

Say, Alina. Go back to the transcript and read that part over again. Then ask yourself if it was appropriate for Trump to (allegedly!) wave classified battle plans around in front of a gaggle of randos. This is an easy one. We’ll progress to the alphabet song in next week’s lesson—and colors and shapes, if there’s still time. 


Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead manager for Trump’s second impeachment, appeared on “Meet the Press” after Lauro spewed his pabulum all over Chuck Todd’s neatly pressed suit. 

It went a little something like this:

WATCH: Rep. Raskin (D-Md.) says Trump's lawyer claiming a "technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law" is "deranged." "There are people who are in jail for several years for counterfeiting one vote. ... He tried to steal the entire election."

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 6, 2023

TODD: “Let me first start with a couple of things we heard from Mr. Lauro. You spent 25 years as a constitutional law professor, so I kind of want to get Professor Raskin’s take on this. Let me play one quick clip of something he said to me about the Constitution.”

LAURO (CLIP): “A technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law. That’s just plain wrong.”

TODD: “Now, he added the word ‘criminal law’ there, but it was my understanding if you violated the Constitution, you’ve violated the law.”

RASKIN: “Well, first of all, a technical violation of the Constitution is a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution in six different places opposes insurrection. It makes that a grievous constitutional offense. So our Constitution is designed to stop people from trying to overthrow elections and trying to overthrow the government. But in any event, there’s a whole apparatus of criminal law which is in place to enforce this constitutional principle. That’s what Donald Trump is charged with violating. He conspired to defraud the American people out of our right to an honest election by substituting the real legal process we have under federal and state law with counterfeit electors. I mean, there are people who are in jail for several years for counterfeiting one vote, if they try to vote illegally once. He tried to steal the entire election, and his lawyer’s up there saying, oh, that’s just a matter of him expressing his First Amendment rights. That’s deranged. That is a deranged argument.”

Yes. Yes, it is. But with a client like this, a deranged argument is probably the best you can do, now isn’t it?

But wait! There’s more!

Some additional Sunday clips to help ease you into your week:

That’s all for now, friends. See you next week!

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.