Day 8 of the trial: Trump challenges Biden to visit him in court and have a debate

While the Republican continues to attend the trial every day, the president is in New York campaigning and raising money.

The eighth day of the trial against Donald Trump in the case of ‘hush money’ payments to the porn actress Stormy Daniels has left many points to discuss, but among the curiosities of the day is the invitation made by Trump to President Joe Biden to attend court with him and have a debate.

“Crooked Joe Biden just announced that he’s willing to debate! Everyone knows he doesn’t really mean it, but in case he does, I said, anywhere, anytime, anyplace (...) In fact, let’s do the Debate at the Courthouse tonight - on National Television, I’ll wait around!” Trump said.

While the Republican candidate has had to be in a Manhattan court daily, President Biden has arrived in New York to collect money and campaign. Highlighting the difference in situations, Trump took advantage of the moment to invite him to visit him in court so that Americans could enjoy a debate ahead of the presidential elections in November.

“They’re keeping me in a courtroom that’s freezing, by the way, in a courtroom all day long while he’s out there campaigning (...) It’s a very unfair situation,” the Republican said earlier in the week.

“Catch and kill”

“Catch and kill” is a term that refers to the practice of purchasing the rights to a story to “kill” it by preventing its publication. Former National Enquirer chief David Pecker has testified all week about an alleged “catch-and-kill” scheme in which he carried out operations to kill stories that could damage the former president’s reputation.

This Friday, Pecker told the prosecutor that “catch and kill” was not a term used with former President Donald Trump and that the first time he heard the term had been from federal prosecutors, but then he assured that he had heard it for the first time in the press.

Pecker’s statements regarding an agreement with Trump, and lawyer Michael Cohen, to suppress personal accusations that could damage the Republican’s reputation in the 2016 presidential campaign seem meaningless to some. The practice of “catch and kill” is not a crime and is standard in presidential campaigns, where the candidate’s team is responsible for protecting his image.

Signing confidentiality agreements, like the one made with Stormy Daniels, is legal and common. However, signing an NDA does not mean that the accusations are accurate. These agreements are signed to prevent someone from damaging a person’s image or brand, but they do not imply an acceptance of guilt.

So this Friday, with Pecker’s testimony over, it seems that his testimonies aim, above all, to damage the image of the former president, presenting him as an unethical womanizer. For some lawyers, perhaps the reason for choosing Pecker as the first witness is to try to create some credibility for Cohen’s story and prepare the ground for his testimony, as the prosecution’s star witness has even pleaded guilty to lying under oath.

“This case has no crime that is discernable,” said well-known law professor Jonathan Turley, criticizing prosecutors. And, for many, not only does Cohen’s testimony make no sense, but in general, the case has no basis, and it is still difficult to understand what crime Trump is accused of. The former president’s lawyer has stated that the accusation that he conspired to influence the elections does not constitute a crime.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy,” Donald Trump’s lawyer said on the first day of the first trial.

“Immediately” lift the gag order

This Friday, the former president’s team asked Judge Merchan to “immediately” lift the gag order imposed against Trump. They argue that the order violates First Amendment rights.

All week, the former president has been awaiting the judge’s decision on whether to accept the prosecutor’s request to hold him in contempt for allegedly speaking about people involved in the case. The judge has postponed the decision that could result in a fine of at least $10,000 and could even eventually send the former president to jail if Trump continues to violate the gag order.

Although gag orders are common in this type of case, the particularity of this decision is that while Trump is prohibited from speaking, being the probable presidential candidate of the Republican party, the prosecution’s star witness wanders around the media and podcasts accusing Trump and giving statements while not under oath.

With these particularities, Trump has denounced that preventing him from speaking is “electoral interference” and that it makes no sense that he cannot respond to Cohen’s accusations. Today, Trump also assured that if the gag order against him is not withdrawn, 2024 will be a “rigged” election.