Ex-Federal Prosecutor Explains Why Trump's 'Bravado' Defense Is Truly 'Terrible'

"If your best defense is 'bravado,' in essence you're saying 'my defense is that I was lying,'" former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said.

A former federal prosecutor says Donald Trump’s “bravado” excuse in the classified documents probe is a terrible defense that creates new problems for the former president.

CNN on Monday aired a bombshell recording of Trump describing a sensitive military document he was showing off, noting that it was “secret information” that he had not declassified as president. The recording, made at a July 2021 meeting with people working on a memoir of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, is cited as key evidence in Trump’s classified documents indictment.

Trump’s explanation when interviewed about it on Tuesday?

“It was bravado.”

“I was talking and just holding up papers and talking about them, but I had no documents. I didn’t have any documents,” he told Semafor and ABC News.

According to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, that’s a flawed defense, especially if Trump tries it in court.

“If your best defense is ‘bravado,’ in essence you’re saying ‘my defense is that I was lying,’” Vance told MSNBC. “That’s a terrible defense, certainly for a former president and for anyone to make in front of a jury.”

Further, she said, Trump would probably have to take the witness stand to present this story.

“And that’s just something he can’t do,” she said. “No lawyer could let Donald Trump take the witness stand in his own defense without committing malpractice.”

Trump’s legal team potentially could put together some of his media appearances to show the jury as a workaround, Vance added.

“But at the end of the day, you still have a defendant telling the jury: ‘Hey, I’m a liar, so you shouldn’t convict me,’” she said.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier earlier this month, Trump insisted that “there was no document,” and that he was showing off a collection of newspaper clippings, magazine stories and other papers.

Trump was indicted on 37 criminal counts earlier this month. The former president is accused of risking national security, mishandling classified documents and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Trump’s comments on the tape contradict his earlier claim that he automatically declassified everything he took with him from the White House.

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