It’s not necessary to be an attorney to comprehend the dangers a criminal defendant faces when agreeing to a televised interview. And a number of President Trump’s detractors, including former friend turned foe Chris Christie, said that Trump had implicated himself in his interview with Bret Baier of Fox News or even engaged in on-air obstructing the administration of justice.
But in my opinion, he effectively “boxed in” the Dept. of Justice.
The recording of a recoded discussion with a journalist during which Trump seems to make reference to a defense-related paper that he claims is confidential and that he had never declassified before he left the White House is the most compelling portion of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s charge.
Bret Baier was informed by Trump that there was in fact no such paper. Witnesses might provide the answer to the query. However, it can also compel prosecutors to provide the actual document.
Theoretically, prosecutors may be able to convict someone of a crime based on evidence that the general public is not permitted to view in particular situations. However, the trial may face a number of procedural difficulties if the evidence is so top-secret that it cannot be disclosed with defense counsel and jurors, who normally lack security clearance.
Most importantly, it will be challenging to persuade the general public that the trial is, in actuality, a fair one.
It is the first time a prominent opposition contender and a former president have been prosecuted. The prosecution has an extra political responsibility to establish that the trial is not a misuse of the judicial system for political gain, but the standard of proof under the law remains the same.
Jack Smith will have to choose whether to reveal the existence of the enigmatic document to the general public. If he is unable to or doesn’t, the prosecution will be invalid.
Trump successfully used the Bret Baier interview to focus on the main piece of evidence presented against him, forcing the Dept. of Justice to determine whether or not to include that incident in the investigation. The rest of the case is mostly boring to the general public and legally ambiguous for a jury without that incident.
By discussing the subject so openly on television, Trump may have done himself harm. He may, however, have exposed Jack Smith’s deception.