CNN legal commentator Laura Coates explained during a panel discussion Wednesday that President Donald Trump's lawyer Pat Cipollone began the day by issuing a veiled threat against Republicans. It was an argument that Coates said has shifted over the past week.
"Remember, it went from the idea of saying, 'You don't have enough information to say there was any kind of abuse of power,'" Coates paraphrased. "Then it became, 'Even if it's an abuse of power, so what? Or even if you have evidence, it's not an impeachable offense.' And now you have the recycled final point that I think Trump has made time and time again, and now it's going through his counsel in the question/answer session, which is, 'If they're after me, they're not really after me, they're after you. I'm just standing in the way.'"
She explained that Trump frequently turns his complaints around, saying that it isn't him that has the problem, "it's you!" The perfect example was when he complained about having to flush a toilet 10-15 times.
"Not me, of course, not me, but you," Trump told his audience.
"This time he turned onto the senators to give that cautionary warning of, 'You all, out there, also believe that what you do is in the interests of your constituents and you also are relying on pollsters and relying on your political advisers,'" Coates explained.
She said that politicians look to see the impact of their policy discussions on reelection. Somehow, that will become impeachable if Trump is impeached, she summarized Trump's lawyers.
"Do you really want, in addition to having a precedent about the president and a lower bar from impeachment, it could be you next," she continued. "Which is exactly how Pat Cipollone opened his opening statement in the beginning. It could be any one of you, and this shift is an attempt to be very persuasive and light a fire under people and threaten them in a way that I think people are missing. This kind of nuanced sort of jury level intimidation or threat, not in terms of a criminal act at all, but the idea of using it to say this could be you next."
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