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Former President Trump said in a new interview that he did not respect his campaign and White House lawyers who told him in 2020 that he had lost the election.
In an interview with “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker that aired Sunday, Trump was asked about why he ignored his lawyers’ advice following the election and instead pushed the false claim that it was stolen, chalking it up to a combination of outside advice and his own instincts. Trump is facing criminal charges in Washington, D.C., and Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Asked why he ignored White House and campaign lawyers who told him he’d lost, Trump said it was because he “didn’t respect them.”
“You hire them, you never met these people, you get a recommendation, they turn out to be RINOs or they turn out to be not so good,” Trump said, deriding some of his own staff as “Republicans in name only.”
“In many cases I didn’t respect them,” he continued. “But I did respect others; I respected many others that said the election was rigged.”
Welker noted that Trump had previously said some of his outside attorneys had crazy theories about the election.
“You know who I listen to? Myself. I saw what happened. I watched that election, and I thought that election was over at 10 o’clock in the evening,” Trump said.
“I was listening to different people, and when I added it all up, the election was rigged,” he added.
Asked if ultimately he was the one calling the shots, Trump replied: “As to whether or not I believed it was rigged? Oh sure, it was my decision. But I listened to some people. Some people said that.”
Trump’s repeated false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and rigged and his subsequent efforts to overturn the results and remain in power are at the center of federal charges against him in Washington, D.C.
Prosecutors in that case cited in their indictment how Trump was told repeatedly by lawyers and other administration officials that he had lost the election.
The Fulton County, Ga., district attorney also indicted Trump and several co-conspirators last month specifically over their attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results in Trump’s favor.
Trump’s comments that ultimately he was the one who decided to pursue the theory that the election was stolen could undermine an argument in court that he was merely acting on the advice of his lawyers.