“In order that’s not true? That’s not true?”

The decide in command of Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan legal trial had simply minimize off the previous president’s lawyer, Todd Blanche. Mr. Blanche had been within the midst of defending a social media post wherein his shopper wrote {that a} assertion that had been public for years “WAS JUST FOUND!”

Mr. Blanche had already acknowledged in the course of the Tuesday listening to that Mr. Trump’s publish was false. However the decide, Juan M. Merchan, wasn’t glad.

“I would like to grasp,” Justice Merchan stated, obtrusive down on the lawyer from the bench, “what I’m coping with.”

The query of what’s true — or at the least what might be confirmed — is on the coronary heart of any trial. However this explicit defendant, accused by the Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace of falsifying enterprise information to hide a intercourse scandal, has spent 5 a long time spewing 1000’s and 1000’s of phrases, generally contradicting himself inside minutes, generally throughout the identical breath, with little concern for the results of what he stated.

Mr. Trump has handled his personal phrases as disposable commodities, meant for single use, and never essentially indicative of any deeply held beliefs. And his tendency to pile phrases on prime of each other has usually labored to his profit, amusing or participating his supporters — generally spurring threats and even violence — whereas distracting, enraging or simply plain disorienting his critics and adversaries.

If Mr. Blanche appeared unconcerned on the listening to that he was telling a legal decide that his shopper had stated one thing false, it could have been just because the routine has grow to be so acquainted.

Mr. Trump’s career-long behavior of a ready-fire-aim stream of consciousness — on social media, on tv, to newspaper reporters, to rally attendees — can now be held in opposition to him by prosecutors and a decide who has real energy over him.

Prosecutors have requested the decide to carry the previous president in legal contempt for violating a gag order that bars him from attacking witnesses, which they argued was vital provided that his earlier assaults had “resulted in credible threats of violence, harassment, and intimidation.” Justice Merchan’s questioning of the reality of what Mr. Trump wrote on Fact Social was one among a number of episodes which have introduced into stark reduction how speaking continually in public — which made Mr. Trump a tabloid fixture after which a reality-television star — has been working in opposition to him recently.

Ultimately, the case might threaten not solely Mr. Trump’s freedom but in addition the central tenets of a lifelong ethos ever-present within the former president’s patter: a handy disregard for the reality, the blunt denial of something damaging and a cussed insistence that his adversaries are all the time performing in unhealthy religion.

The results to this point have been minimal. Prosecutors informed the decide on the contempt listening to Tuesday that for now, they weren’t looking for jail time for feedback that largely focused two key witnesses: Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer and private lawyer, and Ms. Daniels, the porn star who claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump and whom Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 to maintain silent weeks earlier than the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump is much less moved by threats of being fined. Nonetheless, when he confronted an identical punishment in a civil fraud trial late final yr, he slowed his assaults on a court docket official after the penalties mounted.

Mr. Trump defined his mentality succinctly whereas working for president in 2016. When the Senate Republican chief, Mitch McConnell, requested him why he responded to each single slight, the candidate replied, “I’ve to defend myself.”

Mr. Trump’s phrases — which helped ship him to the White Home via dozens of rallies and interviews — usually labored in opposition to him as soon as he was there. In July 2016, his public name to Russia to “discover” Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from her non-public server simply after he formally grew to become the Republican nominee grew to become a bit of the investigation into whether or not his marketing campaign had conspired with Russians to assist elect him.

Mr. Trump was additionally investigated for obstruction of justice as a part of the broader Russian interference investigation by the particular counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. A type of doable acts of obstruction was a collection of tweets in April 2018 wherein he declared Mr. Cohen, his private lawyer who was below investigation, would by no means flip on him. (Mr. Cohen ultimately did so; he’s anticipated to be a key witness at Mr. Trump’s legal trial, and prosecutors have advised they could enter these tweets into proof.)

As a sitting president, Mr. Trump was shielded from prosecution; he confronted solely a hefty report by Mr. Mueller.

These protections fell away when he misplaced the presidency and left the White Home. However Mr. Trump has not modified his method to public life, and seems fairly unlikely to ever accomplish that.

Mr. Trump has lengthy conflated authorized issues with public-relations issues, treating the authorized sort as simply spun away with statements or deflection.

Because the prices have been unveiled in April 2023 by the district legal professional, Alvin L. Bragg, Mr. Trump and his advisers have braided collectively authorized and political responses. They efficiently referred to as on Republicans to defend the previous president and baselessly maintained that Mr. Bragg, a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Democratic county, was performing on orders from Mr. Trump’s political opponent President Biden.

They’ve additionally tried to make use of political arguments to justify Mr. Trump’s actions within the case. In the course of the gag-order listening to on Tuesday, Mr. Blanche sought to excuse a set of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults on Mr. Cohen and Ms. Daniels. He argued that, in attacking them, the previous president had been responding to political assaults by his adversaries — who simply occur to be witnesses within the case.

The decide wasn’t shopping for it. He informed Mr. Blanche that he was planning to ask, in each instance, “What exactly is it that your shopper is responding to?” When Mr. Blanche didn’t have the requested info at hand, Justice Merchan reminded him of the aim of the listening to.

“I’m going to resolve whether or not your shopper is in contempt or not,” he stated, including, “I maintain asking you again and again for a particular instance, and I’m not getting a solution.”

Justice Merchan has but to challenge a ruling on whether or not to search out Mr. Trump in contempt. Whereas prosecutors have argued that Mr. Trump is “angling” to be arrested, some individuals near Mr. Trump insist privately that, for all his bravado, he desperately desires to keep away from jail.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump has continued apace with feedback that check the bounds of what he can say. Two days after the listening to, prosecutors supplied 4 new cases wherein they stated he had violated the gag order.

Two have been throughout political interviews. One was within the hallway, proper exterior Justice Merchan’s courtroom, the place cameras are stationed to seize Mr. Trump talking earlier than and after court docket classes. There, Mr. Trump hammered at Mr. Cohen’s credibility as soon as once more.

In response, Justice Merchan set a brand new listening to for this week wherein, as soon as once more, the previous president’s statements shall be within the highlight: dissected, thought-about and, finally, judged.

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