Trump’s Defense Brief Is So Weak He Likely Dictated Parts Himself, John Dean Suspects

Watergate figure John Dean criticized the initial brief laying out Donald Trump’s impeachment defense as an unconvincing “scorched earth” strategy that lawyers in the Senate aren’t likely to buy.

Some sections are so unsophisticated, according to Dean’s characterization, he speculated that parts of it may have been “dictated” by Trump himself. “It’s of that vernacular,” Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel said Sunday on CNN. “It’s not legally sophisticated. It obviously plays to the base.”

The brief was released Saturday by Trump’s legal team, headed by the president’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, ahead of the impeachment trial set to begin Tuesday in the Senate. It calls the impeachment proceedings constitutionally invalid and claims they represent a “brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

Dean dismissed the arguments as a “scorched earth” strategy that could alienate the many lawyers in the Senate. “I think it’s actually going to insult some of the lawyers in the Senate. If their more detailed brief is of the same tone, they’re making a serious mistake,” Dean said. “Lawyers are not going to buy into this. Most members of the Senate, both parties, are lawyers.” 

Dean also accused the legal team of cherry-picking particular details and distorting facts in the brief. The “scheme” to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, which would have politically benefited Trump, “wasn’t just two phone calls” to Ukraine’s president, as the brief claims, Dean noted. “Any news person, any person following the news, would know it’s been going on for months, involving multiple people,” added Dean, who called the operation a “shakedown.” 

Dean has said that the impeachment case against Trump is “more compelling” than the one against Nixon, which drove that president to resign.

Check out the rest of Dean’s comments in the video above.

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