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The Lawfare Podcast: Does It Matter Whether Trump Believed His Own Lies?

Natalie K. Orpett, Benjamin Wittes, Saraphin Dhanani, Roger Parloff
Monday, August 21, 2023, 8:00 AM
It’s only been a few weeks since Donald Trump was indicted, but both he and his lawyers have already been previewing their defense.

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It’s only been a few weeks since Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted Donald Trump. But both he and his lawyers have already been previewing their case in defense: that he was protected by the First Amendment, that he relied on the advice of counsel, and—the glue holding it all together—he really believed what he was saying. 

We recently published two articles on the subject. The first, by Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes and Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani, assesses Trump’s likely defenses. The second, by Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff, argues that a jury may well see through them. Lawfare Executive Editor Natalie Orpett sat down with Ben, Saraphin, and Roger to talk through it all.

Natalie Orpett is the executive editor of Lawfare and deputy general counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was previously an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she focused on investigations and government controversies, and also maintained an active pro bono practice. She served as civilian counsel to a defendant in the Guantanamo Military Commissions for more than eight years. She also served as counsel to the National Security and Foreign Policy Legal Team of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.
Saraphin Dhanani is the Legal Fellow at the Lawfare Institute. She previously worked at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Ambassador for Human Rights and in the Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College, where she was a Fellow and Ambassador at the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was the Senior Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review.
Roger Parloff is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. In recent years, he has regularly contributed to Yahoo Finance and Air Mail News, and has also been published in The New York Times, ProPublica, New York, and For 12 years, he was the main legal correspondent at Fortune Magazine. He is an attorney who no longer practices. He is a senior editor at Lawfare.

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