White House Definitely NOT In Panic Mode About Russia Investigations (Except That They Are)
This Friday, CNN reported that attorneys in Trumpland have begun researching impeachment. Considering White House Counsel Don McGahn's stellar work so far, we are sure it will provide Legal Twitter with endless hours of amusement.
CNN reported that White House lawyers are researching impeachment and all I can picture is them literally googling it.
— Elizabeth (@Elizasoul80) May 20, 2017
Also, too, this is about the fifth time this week that Team Trump has refused to comment on a story before publication, then denied it after it went live.
The White House originally did not comment for this story. After publication, a White House official said "it's not true" that White House lawyers are researching impeachment procedures.
Which is great for getting Fox and the Blaze to run with the denial angle, but leaves your credibility in tatters with the rest of the media.
He also had the opportunity to call the story "false" before we published it (we quoted him on the record.) He did not. https://t.co/unLYPwKkqD
— Scott Wilson (@PostScottWilson) May 15, 2017
The Administration's crack legal team is also crafting a plan to discredit newly-appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. Reuters reported yesterday that the White House plans to jump up and down shouting CONFLICT OF INTEREST and hope that resolves the matter.
Within hours of Mueller's appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said. [...]
Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.
We know that it's Saturday, but please forgive us this little lawsplainer on why this argument is transparent bullshit designed to distract from the fact that Kush is a dirty little weasel who is in deep doodoo right now. The purpose of the conflict of interest statute is to ensure that (1) Attorneys working for the government don't favor their former clients, (2) Attorneys don't use privileged information against their former clients, and (3) law firms don't become clearinghouses for influence peddling.
As to (1), it is beyond preposterous for the White House to argue that they oppose Robert Mueller because he may be favorably disposed toward Jared and Pavel Manafort. Although, these guys said that Comey had to go because he was too mean to Hillary, so...count on seeing this one a lot!
Wilmer Hale has 1,000 attorneys, 12 offices in the US, Europe, and Asia, and 19 different practice specialties. While there, Mueller worked on the NFL investigation into Ray Rice's domestic abuse, consumer litigation of Volkswagon emissions cheating, and the lawsuits over defective Takata airbags. He had no involvement in Kushner and Manafort's real estate deals and ALLEGED naked jello wrestling with corrupt Russian banks. In fact, he would be unable to access any information on this ALLEGED wrestling, even if he'd wanted to. Because professional operations have firewalls to protect their data. Unlike the White House.
Wilmer Hale has already waived its conflicts, if you'll forgive the lawspeak. The law firm says that it has no privileged information to protect, since Mueller never got anywhere near Kushner and Manfort. The Justice Department can waive its conflicts, since it knows that Mueller isn't going to go easy on those guys, who were never his clients anyway. That leaves Kushner and Manafort to argue....????? Well, they got nuthin' really. But they'll still give it the old college try.
Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller's ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.
Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.
Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.
But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
And here comes Trumpland's favorite media lapdog to kick up a little more dust.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 20, 2017
WHO'S A GOOD DOGGIE?? YES YOU ARE!! GOOD BOY!!
Nothing to see here, folks! Nothing at all. Move it along!
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Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!