During a recent broadcast on MSNBC with host Alex Wagner, conservative lawyer and commentator George Conway predicted that Donald Trump, if he took the stand at an upcoming criminal trial of his, would get “destroyed.”
Trump recently claimed he was prepared to testify specifically in the context of criminal accusations he’s facing from Special Counsel Jack Smith over his handling of classified documents originating with his time serving as president. In the interview where Trump communicated that supposed stance, he was also rebuffing the claim that he sought the effective elimination of security footage from his property Mar-a-Lago as prosecutors rhetorically circled the premises. (It’s mostly there that documents from the federal government were recovered.)
Conway and former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who was appearing alongside Conway on the air, expressed confidence Trump wouldn’t testify — but Conway was pretty sure of how the circumstances would transpire if it did happen. “He will be destroyed on the stand in about 30 seconds by any decent cross-examiner on almost any subject, because you just — you cannot pull the stuff that you could pull at a town hall or even in a one-on-one interview with a good interviewer,” Conway said, adding: “You can’t just phone it in on some other subject. You actually have to answer questions and get pinned down. Is everybody — all these people, every single one of them, are they all lying? This one, that one, that one, that one. And you could draw him out.”
There is, in general, a substantial distinction between the attempted defenses launched by Trump on social media and in public appearances and what he or his lawyers might say in court, where there are standards for argument and evidence that Trump can’t just flout if he thinks he’s more special than other American criminal defendants!