by Bob Barr
In legal proceedings or interactions with law enforcement, the one rule any defense attorney would offer is to always consult with an attorney first, regardless of the circumstances or whether you might be guilty of anything. The reason is simple: everything you say is or can become a matter of legal consequence (even if not under oath). Absolutely anyone, even if completely innocent of any wrongdoing, can unintentionally cause themselves legal harm or headache by virtue of a simple misstatement or misunderstanding a question put to them.
So, under normal circumstances, I would recommend President Trump not give Democrats any ammunition to use against him, even if provided accidentally. Of course, as has become obvious to all but the most diehard Democrats, the ongoing impeachment proceedings are far from “normal.” They are not even normal legal proceedings. They are political theater being orchestrated by Rep. Adam Schiff but with very real potential consequences for the president and the presidency.
In these circumstances, the best course for President Trump may very well be for him take the offensive and do what he does best: fight on the playing field provided, but at a time of your choosing and with your choice of weapon; in this match up, Trump has the ability to beat his opponents face-to-face.
The pitfalls of such a move are the same as for any witness in a legal proceeding, whether under oath or not — inconsistencies, misstatements, contradictions, etc. This is why my initial thought was that Trump should not testify, and that his advisors should so advise him. However, as the impeachment inquiry has progressed it has become crystal clear Schiff and his Democrat cohorts are interested only in political grandstanding, and not proceeding according to established rules and precedents (as followed in the Clinton impeachment in 1998). I believe the president should seriously consider calling Pelosi’s bluff.
Trump is a master at confounding his adversaries. He expertly navigated the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, vanquishing his opponents one-by-one, after each underestimated his debate prowess. He then wiped out Hillary Clinton in the general election debates. While the venue now has changed from the debate stage to congressional committee hearing rooms, the goal of the other side has not. Congressional Democrats want to remove Trump as president, just as his opponents three years ago sought to keep him from that post.
Frankly, Trump thrives in such situations, and is far more adept in such a battle than has been exhibited thus far by any of his congressional opponents.
Clearly, there would be things he likely would say that others would dispute but, differences in opinion, intent, and conclusions are just that – and not “indictable.” Testifying also would allow Trump to finally set the story straight. After all, he is the only one who can say what he really meant in a conversation, as opposed to letting career bureaucrats and his Deep State enemies conjecture and twist his words.
Democrats are so eager to let others tell them what they want to hear, perhaps the time has come for Trump to tell them what they fear – the truth.
There are important caveats to this advice, however. First, Trump must be extremely careful, and be carefully counseled, to make absolutely certain anything he says to Congress (even if only in writing) is consistent with what he wrote to Robert Mueller in response to the questions posed of him. Given that his Mueller submission was a legal document, Democrats will be looking for any contradictions or inconsistencies, which could have legal ramifications for Trump.
Trump and his legal team also must keep in mind that the Schiff-controlled Intelligence Committee is not the only House Committee looking for a way to remove him from office. Most importantly, the Judiciary Committee will be carefully studying each word Trump utters or writes.
If this course is pursued, it is best pursued quickly. It is always best to catch your opponents off balance, and to seize the momentum. This also would diminish the time for the Mainstream Media to muddy the water with wild conjecturing about what Trump will or will not say.
Democrats have controlled the impeachment narrative for too long and the GOP has been predictably slow to fight back aggressively and coherently.
Calling Pelosi’s bluff carries risks, but if Democrats are going to impeach Trump no matter what (as appears to be the case), why not go on the offensive and really change the game?