Stories Chosen For You
In a column for the conservative Bulwark, attorney Philip Rotner claimed that Donald Trump is trying out what he calls the "O.J. Simpson defense" of alleging a massive law enforcement conspiracy to frame him because he knows the Department of Justice is closing in.
Coming on the heels of an FBI appearance at Mar-a-Lago with a warrant seeking classified information, the former president added his voice on Friday morning to the chorus of his defenders suggesting FBI agents were planting evidence during their visit.
According to Rotner, Trump's protestations are not surprising when one considers the mounting evidence piling up against him. To make his point, he cited the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
"The case against him looked airtight. A mountain of forensic evidence—including blood and hair and fibers, bloody shoe prints, and a glove found at the scene matching one of Simpson’s—pointed to his guilt. And as if the forensic evidence weren’t enough, prosecutors presented evidence of Simpson’s pathological jealousy, his history of domestic violence and threats, and the lack of an alibi or any witnesses to his whereabouts at the time of the murders," he wrote. "Yet Simpson was acquitted. His defense team turned the tables to portray law enforcement as the culprit and Simpson as the victim. They argued, without a shred of direct evidence, that all of the incriminating forensic evidence was either planted by police officers who were out to get Simpson or mishandled by bumbling investigators."
Pointing out that Trump appears to be using the Simpson playbook, Rotner claimed that only a guilty person would resort to grabbing at law enforcement conspiracy straws.
"You don’t claim, without a shred of evidence, that law enforcement planted documents during a search and seizure unless you believe that they found something incriminating," he explained. "If you believe that the evidence seized was exculpatory or merely innocuous, you don’t cast doubt on it. Just the opposite. You use the evidence to your advantage."
According to the attorney, for the moment it seems to be working for the former president -- at least with his rabid followers.
"Whatever the evidence, if Team Trump can convince people that it was planted, it’s toothless as far as the public is concerned," he explained. "So it is incumbent on the government to get this right. We can only hope that the FBI agents who conducted the search created a meticulous record of what they found at Mar-a-Lago and where they found it. Without a bulletproof chain of custody, Trump’s O.J. Defense could work, just like it worked for O.J., no matter what they actually found."
He then warned, "If Trump were indicted and tried for crimes based on anything found at Mar-a-Lago, the O.J. Defense could work. Maybe it wouldn’t get him acquitted, but it would only take a single Trump die-hard to hang the jury. In the end, that may be Trump’s best—and perhaps only—defense."
This week's search of Mar-a-Lago, and the revelations that will come about the evidence seized there, is putting Donald Trump back in the political spotlight in the closing months before the November midterms -- much to the chagrin of Republican candidates.
Several GOP nominees for Senate races mounted a defense of the former president after news of the search broke, but some candidates in swing states like North Carolina's Rep. Ted Budd and Pennsylvania's Dr. Mehmet Oz have tried to play things safer and simply asked for more explanation from the Department of Justice, reported Politico.
“The reintroducing of his radioactive persona and politics is coming at a very inopportune time for Republicans,” said Michael Brodkorb, former deputy chair of Minnesota's GOP. “Republicans want this election cycle to be about Joe Biden, inflation, jobs and the economy, and right now, it’s becoming more about Donald Trump, and just like a rock in the shoe that won’t go away, he’s back again, and it’s going to complicate an election cycle that was trending to be a very uncomplicated one for Republicans.”
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has tried to play it safe, as well, calling for "a thorough and immediate explanation" of what led up to the search, which GOP strategists say can allow Republicans to indulge the base without alienating moderate voters.
“If you’re a candidate who doesn’t want to engage in conspiracy theories, but you also don’t want to ignore it, it’s a pretty good place to land by saying, ‘We need some transparency here,’” said Kentucky-based GOP strategist Scott Jennings. “Donald Trump — like him or not — this is not a run-of-the-mill situation. Because half the American people are going to believe something politically motivated is afoot.”
The GOP nominees in Colorado and Washington, blue states that Republicans think they can win, haven't mentioned the Mar-a-Lago search at all, but some strategists think the FBI targeting Trump could boost fundraising -- a gamble Oz has already made by sending out an email asking for help to fight back against "NEFARIOUS CORRUPTION."
"The FBI, I’m not calling them political by any means, but what they do ends up having political ramifications," said Josh Novotney, a Pennsylvania-based GOP consultant, "and I think what happened with Mar-a-Lago, after seeing the reaction of a lot of conservatives, is it will probably motivate conservatives to have even more dislike for the administration.”
On Friday, ahead of the House's vote to pass the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act package of health care, climate investment, tax reform, and deficit reduction, far-right Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) appeared on Fox News to attack the legislation.
During the interview, Roy suggested that an upcoming Republican House majority should immediately force a government shutdown and hold the entire federal civil service hostage to force President Joe Biden to agree to repeal the legislation.
"What Republicans ought to do — I would personally say that we should deny them a physical quorum today. I wouldn't even play their game today, flying in here and having 175 people voting by proxy. But if this thing passes today — which I assume it will because there's not a single Democrat who gives a whit about the American people and doing the right thing — I would say we should defund all of these entities and we should commit to repealing this bill on day one if the American people give us power and give us the control in the House."
"We should fight this with everything we have," Roy continued. "No more speeches, no more here's what we're going to do, no more hearings. Come in on day one and say, we're going to shut this government down, shut it down until they stop going after the American people. Stop screwing them with high energy bills. Stop screwing them with high gas prices. Stop sending the FBI after them. Stop going after parents when they want to just fix their schools. And the Republicans should show up to the party and actually fight."
Before being elected to Congress, Roy served as chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). One of Cruz's first acts in the Senate in 2013 was to rally Republicans to shut down the government to try to force President Barack Obama to defund his signature health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act.
That shutdown was disastrous for Republicans, with hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or going without pay, national outrage, and Congress finally coming to an agreement to resume funding with virtually no changes to the law.
Watch video below.
\u201cChip Roy says Republicans should shut down government on day 1 of the new Congress next January to force Democrats to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1660310210