On Tuesday night, in a striking bit of cable news programming, MSNBC host Ari Melber invited Trump attorney Joe Tacopina to the studio to defend his famous client, who may be about to be indicted by one (or more) prosecutors. The segment featured a lot of excuses, and some clearly flawed logic. Tacopina notably argued that Trump’s lies about the Stormy Daniels hush payment weren’t actually lies for at least two reasons: first, because the former president wasn’t under oath when he said them, and second, because he didn’t want to violate a confidentiality clause.
You can’t really blame Trump’s attorney. Prosecutors get to select and curate the facts they take — or don’t take — to trial.
You can’t really blame Trump’s attorney. Prosecutors get to select and curate the facts they take — or don’t take — to trial. Defense attorneys don’t get to pick their facts. They often have to take the facts as they are, and figure out what to do about them on the fly.
That may also answer the obvious question of why Tacopina decided to do a live TV hit in the first place, and try to thread this very tricky needle. The answer? It probably wasn’t his choice. His mission was likely to explain away Trump’s lies while also preemptively undermining the accusations in New York and Georgia.
Did he succeed? Maybe a little, but not because he successfully rebutted any main prosecutorial arguments. Instead, it may have helped distract from the primary issue: whether Trump did anything worthy of prosecution by the New York County DA’s Office.
Distraction and deflection is a good strategy when you have a client that is hard to defend: state a general truth and hope that most of the people listening follow it like a salmon