Legal experts slammed Donald Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday after his legal team sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting a meeting about special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations of the former president.
Trump attorneys John Rowley and James Trusty requested a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday to “present arguments that Trump should not be charged in the investigation related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents,” they said. sources familiar with the situation told ABC News.
In the letter, which the former president shared on Truth Social, Rowley and Trusty argued that Trump was being “treated unfairly.”
“Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly,” the letter said. “No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been the subject of a baseless investigation in such an outrageous and unlawful manner. We request a meeting at the earliest opportunity to discuss the continuing injustice perpetrated by your special counsel and his prosecutors.”
Reactions to the letter grew on Wednesday with legal experts criticizing the arguments of Trump’s lawyers and even calling the letter a ploy to curry favor with Trump’s supporter base.
“As always, the Trump team foolishly mixes law and politics,” tweeted former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. “If you have a point to make about getting a meeting with the GA, comparing Trump to ‘Hunter and the Biden Family’ is not the way to go. The letter was written for public consumption.”
“The letter requesting a meeting with Garland was a dumb way of trying to dissuade the DOJ from indicting him, but it tells us what Trump’s line of response/attachment will be,” he added.
Litman expanded on his comments during an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday night, explaining that “it’s unlikely” the attorney general would agree to meet with Trump’s team.
“I’ve seen that happen if they want to show they’re giving them all the process in the world, but, of course, it’s clearly a charade,” he said. “The way the letter is written, nobody expects it. It’s obviously not a real call to think about it.”
He told host Joy-Ann Reid that Garland could take Trump’s lawyers’ request either way, but will likely ask them to speak with Smith first.
“It’s not that the request is outlandish. It’s that the request is so nasty and polemical and kind of a PR move, so it’s definitely not designed to be successful,” Litman said.
When Reid asked if the letter was either a sign of panic from Trump’s lawyers over his possible indictment or an attempt to raise money from his supporters, Litman explained that he thought it was both.
“They certainly believe, I think, that the hammer is down on them and soon. Not that they think they’ll talk Garland out of it, but you take all the hits you can,” he said.
“What’s weird here is that it doesn’t look like the defense attorneys wrote it.” he continued. “It looks like Trump dictated it, and that’s not a good way to get a meeting or get a meeting done.”
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Former United States Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal echoed Litman’s sentiments during another appearance on MSNBC.
“It’s very clear that Trump is trying to make that last push,” he told host Nicolle Wallace. “It’s the kind of thing you do just before you think you’re about to be charged, and it’s probably almost certainly going nowhere.”
Katyal breached the special counsel’s regulations, saying they ensure an independent party is selected to investigate “high-level presidential wrongdoing” to avoid bias. He said regulations require Smith to have “day-to-day independence” and that the attorney general consider his decisions with “great weight.”
“The Attorney General can overrule it, but the standard is very high,” he said.
He added that he expects Garland to take a hands-off approach to Smith’s investigation and only step in if he finds something is “grossly wrong”, citing the Attorney General’s similar approach during the recent investigation by Special Counsel John Durham.
“I also think that’s what Donald Trump himself thinks,” Katyal said before getting back to the letter. “If you were a serious lawyer and wanted to meet the Attorney General, the way to do that is not to write this letter that talks about Hunter Biden and being treated unfairly and then immediately give it to the press. .”
“It’s not conducive to the kind of serious Justice Department meeting that would otherwise take place,” he concluded.
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