White House lawyers 'failed wholeheartedly' to address the obstruction charge: Ex-prosecutor
White House counsel Pat Cipollone (Photo: Screen capture)

On CNN Tuesday, former federal prosecutor Laura Coates broke down a critical flaw in the White House legal team's argument in defense of President Donald Trump.

"The defense team's job was essentially to [say], on the one hand, it was insufficient, there was not enough here to show the president had actually done what they said," said Coates. "And when that was really unsatisfying, given all the breadth of information, they pivoted in a way to turn to why this is a problem for the future administrations, prospectively, would be a problem for a future administration."

Coates continued: "And the big thing they are hanging their hats on now is this concept of vagueness, the idea of, look, if you're going to look at impeachment as this extraordinary power, it's got to have the power to deter. Well, it can't do that if it's a general concept of wrongdoing, or if you're using the phrase of, you can't have the president above the law, well then Congress, you can't be above the law and not give some enumerated factors to show how someone could violate abuse of power or concepts in that."

"One of the biggest flaws to me is that, perhaps [Alan] Dershowitz could give an argument about abuse of power conceptually, but how do you defend against the number zero, which is exactly what they got for an obstruction case?" continued Coates. "That is as clear as day. The president did not hand over anything, and they failed wholeheartedly to address that claim, because for everyone like us, you can't just say, 'I have a disagreement as to why you pulled me over, Officer, therefore I'm not going to honor any of the court terms I have to abide by, or your ticket, I can ignore everything. I don't agree with the grand jury who called me to come in and testify. I will not do that.'"

"That is above the law," concluded Coates flatly. "They didn't address this, and they have failed to do so, and they've instead relied on sound bites for the audience of one."

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