Donald Trump on Sunday said it was “my decision” to believe that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” — saying he didn’t respect the aides and lawyers who’d told him he’d lost.
The former president, 77, was asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” why he opted to ignore his “most senior lawyers” and campaign staffers about the election results.
“Because I didn’t respect them,” Trump replied.
Welker later asked the Republican frontrunner in the presidential primary whether he was “calling the shots … ultimately?”
“As to whether or not I believed it was rigged? Oh, sure,” Trump answered. “It was my decision. But I listened to some people.”
Trump is currently facing four criminal cases — two involving his attempts to overturn his 2020 loss to President Biden. He’s continued to insist that the election was “rigged.”
Last month, Trump attorney John Lauro publicly emphasized that his client’s actions to thwart the election results were done under the advice of counsel.
“Everything that President Trump did was with the advice of lawyers and counsel,” Lauro told NBC. “That’s an absolute defense to a criminal case.”
“This is a protocol you can follow — it’s legal.”
Lauro cited several defenses against the criminal charges — including freedom of speech — but he also blamed Trump’s lawyers.
Trump’s remarks on Sunday came during a back and forth after he was asked whether he was “listening to your lawyers’ advice, or were you listening to your own instincts.”
“I was listening to different people. And when I added it all up, the election was rigged,” Trump replied earlier in the exchange.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team has sought to undercut Trump’s First Amendment argument in court filings by honing in on alleged procedural violations.
“[Trump] had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been no outcome-determinative fraud,” the indictment said.
But the indictment argued that Trump “pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results.”
Trump was charged with federal counts of conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against right.
He also faces state charges out of Georgia also accusing him of illegally conspiring to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.