Former President Donald Trump has shot down any inklings that pursuing the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election were anyone’s decisions other than his own.
During an interview for the “Meet the Press” program on NBC that aired on Sunday, Trump acknowledged that, even though multiple people tried to counsel him that the election wasn’t stolen, he pressed ahead with efforts to overturn the election.
Some people may think that this was a bombshell admission from Trump, and that it basically proves the case that special counsel Jack Smith has built against Trump – that Trump knew the claims he was pushing about the 2020 election being stolen were false all along.
But, if you listen to the whole interview and hear what Trump actually said, he never says that he knew the claims he was making were false. He only said that he listened to a lot of people, and decided on his own that the election was stolen.
During the interview, Trump said there were some attorneys who advised him that he legitimately lost the 2020 presidential election. However, he said he didn’t respect those attorneys, and that he “respected many others that said the election was rigged.”
“I was listening to different people, and when I added it all up, the election was rigged. You know who I listen to? Myself. I saw what happened.”
In one of the federal indictments against him, federal prosecutors argue that Trump made various “prolific lies” after the 2020 presidential election. They have argued that the former president pushed voter fraud claims and other claims that voting machines switched votes in some states, even though he knew that wasn’t true.
Prosecutors displayed multiple examples of Trump aides telling the former president that the claims he was pushing were indeed false. Among the people who prosecutors say advised him this way were his former Vice President Mike Pence, some of his own staff members, federal and state courts, and state lawmakers, as well as senior officials with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
As the indictment says:
“But, the defendant disseminated them anyway – to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.”
After conducting a months-long investigation into the insurrection on January 6, 2021, the House select committee argued that evidence shows Trump worked actively to “transmit false Electoral College ballots to Congress and the National archives,” even though his lawyers said that would be illegal.
The final report from the committee stated:
“That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”
For his part, Trump isn’t denying that he was pushing the claims. He’s only saying that he believed what he was pushing was true, and that he didn’t listen to advisers who told him otherwise.