Gee, we’ve been hearing a ton about the turmoil in the president’s legal team. You probably have questions.
Is this something else I have to think about in the middle of the night when I’m staring at the ceiling? Because really, I’ve got enough.
We’re talking about chaos and turnover among the people defending Donald Trump in his multitudinous legal battles. If that’s the kind of thing that keeps you awake at night, it’s time to prioritize. Have a drink and relax.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
I need to know immediately if I am paying to protect the president from Stormy Daniels.
No, the people getting taxpayer salaries work in the White House counsel’s office, and their job is to advise the president about what’s legal. Like, whether or not he could sign a bill banning imported scallops. Or, say, sabotage the Russia probe. The current counsel, Don McGahn, reportedly threatened to resign when Trump wanted to can Robert Mueller.
I’ve been looking for somebody to admire in the White House. Should it be Don McGahn?
Up to you. He was formerly a member of the Federal Election Commission who hated campaign-finance reform so much he once tore up the FEC rule book at a meeting and threw the shredded chunks at a Democrat. He lobbied Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. He was an enabler on that immigrant travel ban.
On the other hand, he used to be a guitarist in a rock band.
Everybody used to be a guitarist in a rock band. But about the president’s team: I know a lot of recent law school graduates who are desperate for jobs. They’re cleaning tables at Arby’s. Should I tell them there’s a lot of turnover and they ought to send in a résumé?
Have they ever been on Fox News? It definitely helps if you were a guest on Fox a lot.
I don’t understand how these busy lawyers have so much time to appear on TV.
Totally part of the job. Trump just hired Joe diGenova, who’s currently famous for having argued on Fox that a secret cabal of FBI agents created the whole Russia investigation to “frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.”
OK, I’ll ask the people who want to get lawyer gigs if they’d mind going on right-wing radio and saying something about how Trump is a victim of the deep state. Is the pay good?
On the government side, $179,700 is the top.
I think my friends could handle that.
There’s a guy named Ty Cobb who sort of coordinates between the president’s personal lawyers and the government on all the Russia stuff. It’s on the public tab, and to take it, he left a job that paid at least a million dollars a year.
Just tell me if he’s related to the baseball player.
I think vaguely. Anyhow, he’s gotten in trouble for talking about office politics – loudly – in a public restaurant. So I guess value depends on your perspective.
Meanwhile, the president’s lawyer John Dowd just made a fuss when he called for an end to the special counsel investigation. Which he said was Trump’s idea. Then he denied it. But it probably was.
Trump must be a difficult client, right?
Well, Michael Cohen, the Trump lawyer handling the Stormy Daniels case, said he used his very own home equity line of credit to raise the $130,000 he gave her in hush money.
On his own house? What kind of lawyer does that?
I guess a super-dedicated one. Unless somehow the president or his friends managed to funnel the cash back in a manner so subtle it will never be revealed. Until the next leak.
I can see why there’s so much turnover.
Yet sometimes it feels as if nobody ever really goes away. One of the early Trump lawyers, Marc Kasowitz, seemed to be getting crazier and crazier last summer. When a man wrote an email that he should resign, Kasowitz came back with a message that said, in part: “I’m Jewish. I presume you are, too. … I already know where you live. I’m on to you. You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise. Bro.”
For a while it looked as if Kasowitz were fading away. But now he’s back! In court arguing that as a sitting president, Trump cannot be sued by a woman who says he molested her during his “Apprentice” days.
That would be Stormy Daniels?
Oh gosh no. This is Summer Zervos, who says Trump came on with an unnerving series of gropes, and then when she resisted claimed “that he did not believe that she had ever known love or been in love.”
The interesting thing about this one is that Zervos is only suing Trump for $2,914 for defaming her when he denied the story. Kasowitz has so far been unsuccessful in arguing that the president’s denial is “political speech” protected by the First Amendment.
So the worse the team gets, the better for the country?
Right now, Stormy’s lawyer is making mincemeat of Trump’s legal representation. For the sake of argument, let’s say the special prosecutor has assembled at least as strong a team as the stripper did.
Could be an, um, stormy summer.