Pence Hires Criminal Defense Lawyer to Aid Him in Investigations – New York Times

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence has hired a personal criminal defense lawyer to guide him through the various investigations encircling the White House, an aide said on Thursday.

Mr. Pence has retained Richard Cullen, a former United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, becoming one of the most prominent figures in the Trump administration to have taken on personal white-collar criminal defense counsel.

Mr. Pence, who had little relationship with the president before joining the campaign ticket just before last July’s Republican convention, is most likely a peripheral figure in the government’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the election and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort — Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman who has been scrutinized for financial ties to a pro-Russian political party — was instrumental in recruiting Mr. Pence.

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But as the special counsel investigation progresses — focusing increasingly on the president himself and his actions in office — the vice president’s account as a possible witness may become more relevant.

“The vice president is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the president’s agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter,” Jarrod Agen, Mr. Pence’s communications director, said in confirming the hiring, which was first reported by The Washington Post.

Major Washington investigations, whether the inquiry into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater real estate holdings or the inquiry into the leak of a covert C.I.A. agent’s identity during the administration of George W. Bush, have been boons for the practice of white-collar law, which blossomed during the Watergate scandal and transformed boutique practices into major business for global firms.

The list of potential witnesses in such politically perilous investigations can be long, and even witnesses with little direct involvement are likely to need lawyers to shepherd them through interactions with the authorities.

“Whenever a Washington scandal breaks that comes close to the White House, you have people at all levels scrambling for a good white-collar lawyer,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a professor of criminal law at Georgetown University who worked on the Whitewater case.

Ms. O’Sullivan said that anyone subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury should consider invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, which she called a “white-collar rule of thumb.”

“In Washington, people often don’t follow that,” Ms. O’Sullivan said, adding that many politicians wrongly equated exercising that right with telegraphing guilt. “Experience is everything,” she said.

Mr. Cullen, a partner at the Richmond, Va., firm McGuireWoods, has played a part in major Washington investigations.

During Watergate, he worked as a staff member in the office of Representative M. Caldwell Butler, a Republican from Virginia who cast a key vote on the House Judiciary Committee to impeach President Richard M. Nixon weeks before he resigned.

During the Iran-contra scandal, he was special counsel to Senator Paul S. Trible Jr., a Virginia Republican who served on the Senate select committee investigating the affair.

Mr. Cullen was later appointed United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia by President George Bush in 1991, after which he served as Virginia’s attorney general in the late 1990s.

In his recent years at McGuireWoods — where James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director Mr. Trump fired last month, worked in the 1990s — Mr. Cullen has represented a range of clients.

They included Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader scrutinized for his dealings with the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mr. DeLay was prosecuted in Texas but not federally charged.

Mr. Cullen has also represented Sepp Blatter, a Swiss national and the longtime president of international soccer’s governing body, who was ousted after the United States announced a sweeping global corruption case in 2015 and criminally charged dozens of soccer officials but not, to date, Mr. Blatter.

This year, Mr. Cullen announced that another client, Jeffrey M. Lacker, who abruptly resigned as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, would not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for having broken Fed rules by discussing confidential information with a financial analyst.

Mr. Pence’s choice to hire a private lawyer follows similar ones by other figures in the Trump administration.

Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is represented by Jamie Gorelick of WilmerHale, and Mr. Trump has called on his longtime personal lawyer — Marc E. Kasowitz, a civil litigator from New York — to represent him as the Russia inquiry moves forward.

Mr. Kasowitz is not, however, a white-collar criminal defense specialist, nor is he a Washington insider.

In recent weeks, he has taken the unusual step of providing legal advice about the Russia inquiry to White House staff members who are not his clients, prompting the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit government watchdog organization, to file complaints on Thursday with the District of Columbia and New York Bar Associations, requesting investigations into whether Mr. Kasowitz violated rules of professional conduct.

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The Truth About Being a Criminal Defense Attorney – WMOT

What is your dream job? Chances are most people wouldn’t answer that question with “being a lawyer.”

In fact, a 2013 Pew Research Center poll shows that Americans don’t think very highly of lawyers. When asked to rate various occupations by how much they contribute to society, the 4000-plus respondents of the poll ranked lawyers last, with only 18 percent saying that they contribute to society.

Despite this negative public perception, Robert Foley and Dana Kinsella, criminal defense attorneys, got into the profession to serve the public. They formed the Minneapolis-based law firm, Kinsella and Foley Defense in November 2016 and are passionate about fighting for the rights of their clients.

Rewire:  What drew you to the law?

Foley: I think for me the law is interesting because it’s kind of the boundaries and the rules and the hard lines that society has to live by in order to have an orderly, theoretically, society. But those rules can be stretched and they can be manipulated and they can be reformed, and you can really shape the way that society works and the rules that we all live and play by.

Robert Foley (left) and Dana Kinsella. Courtesy of Kinsella and Foley Defense.

It’s also the precision of those rules, and the fact that those rules and law, in general, can incorporate psychology, history, science and all these different areas of life can all be incorporated into these rules that we practice with.

Kinsella: I really wanted to get into politics when I was younger, and I thought that the best way to do it was to be a lawyer. I really do believe the law is very important. I know that it’s not perfect the way that we have it here, but it’s as good as there is in the world.

When you look at the way that people are dealt with in all of the other countries, it’s like we have something here that does protect us. When somebody is accused of the crime they’re not just automatically hand chopped off because they stole something here.

You do get your day in court, and you do have a chance, and you can get people like us who can actually defend you for these things.

Now, it doesn’t always work out the way that we want it to, but in theory you would hope that it would, so it’s become that more for me now.

Rewire: Why criminal defense, specifically?

Kinsella: I think the criminal defense attorney is what the majority of people think of when they think of a lawyer, when in reality we are a very niche portion of what lawyers are. Far more lawyers are the kind who are sitting there writing stuff and sitting in front of computers and never get in the courtroom.

Foley: I think for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog. I’ve been the underdog before. When someone’s faced with a criminal offense the entire weight of the justice system and the state and the prosecution is coming down hard on that person. People, a lot of times, will ask me, “How can you represent these people that have committed these horrible crimes?” My response is always, “I represent the person, not their crime. I’m helping someone that needs help.” A lot of times I’m helping turn that life around.

The Constitution guarantees somebody has their day in court, and I think that’s one of the things that makes us unique. One of the ways that I think about this is I care a lot about my clients as individuals, but just as much as that my client is also The Constitution of The United States.

Kinsella: We’re never going to get them off unless the cops made a mistake. And if they made a mistake then it’s good that we’re getting them off. The Constitution’s not doing its job if they’re making mistakes and they’re still getting convictions for these kind of things.

Foley: I think we’re an important part of the checks and balance system that makes things work, because if you look at the authority and the power that law enforcement has, if there wasn’t some mechanism in place to check that power, to double-check their work, to make sure that they’re following their own rules, just think about what we all be at risk of. And so I may defend this person or that person for a specific crime, but what I’m actually doing is protecting everyone’s rights.

Kinsella: We say it a lot in our line of work, “Good people make mistakes.” So many of these things, people think criminal defense attorney, “Oh, they’re getting murderers off.” I can tell you right now, I’ve never defended a murderer in my life. I haven’t had the opportunity to, but I haven’t. The most common things that people are seeing, they’re everyday people. We’ve defended celebrities. We’ve defended doctors. We’ve defended other lawyers. We’ve defended every kind of swath of our society.

When it comes down to it a lot of these people are good people that made one mistake, had too many drinks or had a bad day and reacted wrong for something. It’s like, “Now, should that one mistake this good person made be what dictates the rest of their life?” I don’t think so. I think anybody who has had that kind of thing happen to them is happy to have a second chance, and we can hopefully provide somewhat of that for them.

Foley: And even if the person [is] a murderer or somebody that’s committed a horrible crime, they’re still entitled to a defense, and you need to have somebody in place to double-check the police work and make sure that the state can meet their burden to get their conviction. Like Dana said, if they can meet that burden, then they’ve earned that conviction. But if law enforcement makes mistakes or even goes as far as planting evidence or lying or being dishonest, they’re entitled to a defense against that type of thing even if they’re not a good person. Even if they have a long record or have committed a horrible act, they deserve a defense.

Rewire: How does it feel when someone comes at you with that attitude that what you’re doing is bad and you are helping bad people? How does that make you feel?

Kinsella: It’s a really common thing that I see. Every single social gathering that I go to where I get introduced. It’s amazing how quickly somebody hears, “Oh, you’re a defense attorney?” It becomes the conversation. Inevitably somebody’s going to say at some point, “How do you sleep at night?” The fact of the matter is that it feels, I guess to answer your question directly, it doesn’t feel very good. They look at you like you’re a criminal for helping other people out. That doesn’t feel good.

My short answer all the time is, “I sleep very well,” because once again, as he says, I’m defending the Constitution.

Overall, the people that I work with, they’re not the crime, they’re the person. I work with a lot of really good people, and, actually, I form a relationship with most of them, and down the road I get to hear from them and get to see them turn around. They call me years down the road and they say, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to turn this around.” That’s not in every case, but it does happen from time to time, and that makes it worth [it].

Foley: It’s actually pretty rare that a criminal case goes all the way to a jury trial. Most of the time that case is resolved short of trial with some kind of a plea bargain or a resolution or something. A lot of what we do is negotiating and helping our clients to just realy minimize the damage, get them back to their lives, try and get them moving forward with their life. Do cases go to trial? Sure, they absolutely do. But the vast majority of the time what we do is not what people think we do.

Rewire:  What would you say is the worst part of what you have to do in your job?

Foley: I think it’s the mental illness that’s pretty prevalent among our clients. I think that the majority of our clients, there’s a link between the crime that they’re charged with and some type of substance abuse, whether it’s drugs or alcohol or whatever it may be. That is, oftentimes, a symptom of some form of mental illness, whether it’s depression or anxiety, bi-polar, sometimes even schizophrenia.

When you take on a client and you form that relationship you’re taking on that whole person and all their issues and mental illnesses and substance abuse issues that they have, so that’s always a little challenging. Also, setting expectations can be tricky, too. We always like to be straight-up and honest with our clients. If we review the evidence and there doesn’t seem to be much there we need to set that expectation that we’re going to do the best we can for you and we’re going to minimize the damage, but you’re not getting out of this scot-free. That can be a little bit tricky, too.

Kinsella: The worst part is getting people who are four or five-time offenders. Not because I’m mad that they’re back again, but just seeing that, “Okay, we didn’t help them enough the first time.”

Rewire: Talk a little bit about forming your firm. Why did you do that? 

Foley: I wanted to have more of a role in my future, and I wanted to be more responsible for my own income and my own success. When you work at a firm you can be successful and doing well and everything is going great, but there’s a ceiling on what you can really do. When you branch out and start your own or partner-up with somebody the sky’s the limit. That comes with other considerations, like the buck stops with me and Dana. It has its pros and its cons, but for me, the biggest thing was I just wanted to be able to control my financial future and presence and everything else.

Kinsella: Yeah. We’re only at about seven months right now, but we’re exceeding all expectations at this point. It’s been nothing but an awesome experience so far, and I can’t imagine it going any different at this point.

Rewire: If you could give yourself advice when you were first starting or before you went into law school about whether or not to go into it or what you need to know before you go into it, what advice would that be? 

Kinsella: We do have people who will come to us and say, “Hey, I want to go to law school.” The biggest thing that I always tell everybody is, the first question is, “Do you really want to be a lawyer? Is that something that you want to do is be a lawyer?” because if you want to be a lawyer, go to law school.

But if you think that you’re going to go to law school, you’re going to become a lawyer and you’re going to be this millionaire and everything, don’t, because you’re just going to get student loans. That’s what’s going to happen.

I love being a lawyer. I can’t imagine being anything else, to tell you the truth. You work with people. You do get to help people. Even though some people think it’s not what we’re doing, we are, we’re helping people. If that’s what you want to do, do it. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be worth it in the end if that’s what you want to do.

Foley: Don’t borrow so much money. Maybe put some away or work more and don’t borrow so much because those student loans are—god—even when you’re doing well, they’re a lot.

The other thing is I wish that I would have put in some more work before I went to law school just to kind of teach myself the basics of law. A lot of people in law school, their parents are lawyers or their siblings and they come from lawyer families or whatever. I didn’t have the background to know when it picked up, and they were using terms that seemed to be common knowledge that I didn’t know what they meant. And so I wish I would have taught myself a little bit more about the law before I went to law school. I think it would have sunk in better.

Kinsella: I worked for the public defender’s office while I was in law school. After my first year of law school, I hadn’t even had too many classes yet at this point. One year out of the three done, they literally gave me my own courtroom the first day, threw a stack of files in front of me like this. I learned more on that day than I did in the whole year of law school.

Foley: Another thing that law school doesn’t prepare you for is the business side of it. Even if you work for a big firm and you’re not doing any of your own marketing and business and accounting and that kind of stuff, you kind of have this idea in law school that, “I’m going to come out of law school. I’m going to have my JD. I’m going to be a lawyer, and I’m going to practice law, and I’m going to make a bunch of money.”

Like anything else it’s a business, but when you’re in law school you have these grandiose visions of being this lawyer and everything is going to be great. It’s like anything else, it’s highly-competitive and you have to pound the pavement, at least for what we do. It’s not what you think it is in law school.

Kinsella: But it’s worth it.

Foley: Yeah, absolutely. I wouldn’t do it any other way, and everything I just talked about I also love, I just didn’t realize it.

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Dylan studied theater, video production, and film producing over the last 15 years and has worked in many different arenas along the way. He’s a sucker for Austin City Limits and would watch Antiques Roadshow every night if PBS would program it that way. Connect with Dylan on Twitter @DManMegaMix.

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Jared Kushner shopping for new criminal attorney: Report – Washington Examiner

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is reportedly considering hiring a new criminal lawyer because his current lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, has connections to Robert Mueller, the special counsel handing the Russia investigation.

Gorelick and Mueller were colleagues at the Washington-based firm WilmerHale.

“After the appointment of our former partner Robert Mueller as special counsel, we advised Mr. Kushner to obtain the independent advice of a lawyer with appropriate experience as to whether he should continue with us as his counsel,” according to a statement Ms. Gorelick issued Sunday to the New York Times.

Kushner’s staff started talking with top criminal attorneys last month following reports President Trump’s son-in-law met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition period about creating a secret channel of communication between the incoming administration and Moscow.

Kushner may have later met with Sergey Gorkov, chief of the Russian-owned development bank Vnesheconombank, a key detail U.S. investigators have not confirmed.

The congressional committees and federal officials are probing whether anyone in Trump’s campaign had inappropriate or illegal contact with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

A new hire would replace or supplement Gorelick as Kushner’s legal face. Abbe D. Lowell, a trial lawyer who is currently defended Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has been contacted about the position, according to the New York Times.

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Trump 'Is Not Under Investigation,' His Lawyer Insists – New York Times

WASHINGTON — A member of President Trump’s legal team said on Sunday that the president was not under investigation by the special counsel looking into Russia’s election-year meddling, contradicting Mr. Trump’s assertion in a Friday morning tweet that he is a subject of the widening inquiry.

The denial on Sunday by Jay Sekulow, one of several personal lawyers Mr. Trump has hired to represent him in the Russia case, is the latest of many examples in which the president’s aides and lawyers have scrambled to avert a public-relations mess created by Mr. Trump’s tweets, off-script remarks or leaked private conversations.

Advisers have been forced to perform postpresidential cleanup in the wake of Mr. Trump’s tweet claiming he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration, his Oval Office comments to Russian diplomats about the former F.B.I. director, his private musings about the possibility of firing the Russia special counsel, his suggestion that there might be recordings of White House conversations, and his comments about a “military” deportation operation.

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In Mr. Sekulow’s case, his appearance on multiple Sunday morning talk shows took on the added urgency of trying to protect his client from admitting that he is in legal jeopardy during a criminal investigation, one that appears to be increasingly focused on whether Mr. Trump took steps to interfere with the normal progress of the federal inquiry.

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, last month named Robert B. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, as a special counsel to lead the sprawling investigation into the extent of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates colluded in that effort.

In addition, two congressional committees have issued subpoenas for testimony and documents as part of their wide-ranging, bipartisan investigations. All three inquiries are reportedly examining whether Mr. Trump, as president, sought to impede the progress of the inquiries.

Mr. Sekulow repeatedly and forcefully denied that on Sunday, saying on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that “the president has not been and is not under investigation,” and insisting that the administration had received no information from the special counsel’s office to think otherwise.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” program, he said flatly, “The president is not a subject or target of an investigation.”

On Friday, the president wrote the opposite on Twitter, saying: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”

Mr. Sekulow said that the message was merely a response by the president to a Washington Post article citing five unnamed sources who said Mr. Trump was under investigation in the Russia case. Mr. Sekulow said that Mr. Trump would have challenged the basic assertion of the article, but was constrained by Twitter’s limit of 140 characters per post.

“There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know,” Mr. Sekulow said on CNN. “And the president has a very effective utilization of social media.”

Mr. Sekulow did acknowledge on “Fox News Sunday” that he “can’t read people’s minds,” but said there had been “no notification of an investigation” of the president by Mr. Mueller.

“I can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it,” Mr. Sekulow said on CBS.

Evidence that Mr. Mueller is in fact looking at Mr. Trump’s actions grew last week when Mr. Mueller requested interviews with three high-ranking current or former intelligence officials, according to a person briefed on the investigation. Reports have raised questions about whether Mr. Trump requested their help in trying to get James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to end an investigation into the president’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Veteran lawyers who have represented presidents during high-stakes legal cases said Mr. Trump’s repeated comments about the Russia investigation were extremely unusual. They said previous presidents would make sure to have the White House counsel’s office and their personal lawyers carefully review any comments about such an investigation before making them.

They said Mr. Sekulow’s denials on Sunday were not so much a legal argument as an effort to repair the political damage from the apparent admission by Mr. Trump on Twitter.

“With all due respect to Mr. Sekulow, what he says about what Mr. Mueller is or isn’t doing will make no difference,” said Gregory B. Craig, who led the legal team defending President Bill Clinton against impeachment charges. “If Mueller thinks there is evidence that obstruction occurred, Mueller’s job is to investigate.”

Several lawyers who requested anonymity because they did not want to publicly comment on the president’s legal situation dismissed Mr. Sekulow’s comments about the president’s not having been notified that he is a target of the investigation. One noted that very few criminal investigations begin with an identified target. Rather, targets are notified much later, after evidence in the case is developed.

On Capitol Hill, members of both parties expressed exasperation with Mr. Trump’s continuing public commentary about the Russia investigation. Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, pleaded on Sunday for the president to give Mr. Mueller the room he needs to manage the inquiry.

“If I were the president, I would be welcoming this investigation,” Mr. Rubio said on CBS. “I would ask that it be thorough and completed expeditiously, and be very cooperative with it.”

Mr. Rubio added, “The best thing that can happen for the president and for America is that we have a full-scale investigation that is credible.”

Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, accused Mr. Trump and his allies of seeking to undermine Mr. Mueller’s investigation, setting a pretext for potentially firing those leading it. Mr. Trump has reportedly told friends that he considered firing Mr. Mueller, and the president’s tweet on Friday appeared aimed at Mr. Rosenstein, raising questions about whether the president might fire him, too.

“What’s happening here is the president wants to take down Bob Mueller. His lawyer wants to take down Bob Mueller,” Mr. Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “They want to lay the foundation to discredit whatever Bob Mueller comes up with. They’re essentially engaging in a scorched-earth litigation strategy that is beginning with trying to discredit the prosecutor.”

During his five months as president, Mr. Trump has repeatedly made comments that administration officials later sought to correct or explain.

After Mr. Trump repeatedly called for a “Muslim ban” during the presidential campaign, White House aides and lawyers said the travel ban he imposed shortly after taking office was not aimed at any religious group. Federal judges, however, said they had looked to the president’s own statements as they assessed the constitutionality of the effort to impose a travel ban, a case that has reached the Supreme Court.

Just weeks after taking office, Mr. Trump told reporters that new immigration policies were getting rid of “really bad dudes” and added, “It’s a military operation.” John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, quickly corrected: “No — repeat — no use of military force in immigration operations. None.”

On a Saturday morning in early March, the Mr. Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping, a charge that aides repeatedly struggled to explain. “I’m just going to let the tweet speak for itself,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said at the time. “I think the president speaks very candidly.”

In May, word leaked out that Mr. Trump had told Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that Mr. Comey was a “nut job,” and that his firing had relieved “great pressure” on the president. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, his national security adviser, later went on television to say that “the gist of the conversation was that the president feels as if he is hamstrung in his ability to work with Russia to find areas of cooperation because this has been obviously so much in the news.”

And after a longtime friend of Mr. Trump said this month that the president was considering whether to fire Mr. Mueller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a spokeswoman, clarified his remarks during a gaggle with reporters on Air Force One.

“While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so,” she said.

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Trump hires another attorney weeks after his lawyer sent out typo … – Raw Story

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Trump hires another attorney weeks after his lawyer sent out typo …
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President Donald Trump has hired another attorney just a few weeks after his existing attorney, Marc Kasowitz, sent out a press release riddled with typos.
Robert Mueller Team of Investigators: Full List of LawyersHeavy.com
Trump adds Washington lawyer John Dowd to his legal teamReuters
Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, hires his own lawyer in Russia probeWashington Post
TPM
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Trump hires another attorney weeks after his lawyer sent out typo-filled criminal defense – Raw Story

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Trump hires another attorney weeks after his lawyer sent out typo-filled criminal defense
Raw Story
President Donald Trump has hired another attorney just a few weeks after his existing attorney, Marc Kasowitz, sent out a press release riddled with typos. According to Politico, John Dowd was hired to be an additional resource to Kasowitz. The new …
Trump adds Washington lawyer John Dowd to his legal teamReuters
Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, hires his own lawyer in …Washington Post

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Vice President Pence has hired a criminal lawyer to respond to requests from the special counsel – Los Angeles Times

Here’s our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington:

June 15, 2017, 3:54 p.m.

Vice President Pence has hired a criminal lawyer to respond to requests from the special counsel

Vice President Mike Pence has hired an experienced criminal lawyer to respond to requests from the special counsel and congressional committees investigating possible connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, a spokesman for Pence said Thursday. 

Richard Cullen, a former federal prosecutor and currently chairman of the McGuire Woods law firm, will help Pence handle inquiries from Robert S. Mueller III, the former FBI director leading the investigation, Jarrod Agen, Pence’s communications director, said in a statement.

“I can confirm that the vice president has retained Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods to assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel,” Agen said.

In recent days, Mueller reportedly has requested to talk to senior Trump administration officials as his team of investigators looks at whether people working on Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the election process.

“The vice president is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the president’s agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter,” Agen said.

In late May, President Trump hired Marc Kasowitz to handle legal and media requests about the Russia investigation.

Cullen served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia under President George H.W. Bush.

Cullen also has experience with high-profile congressional inquires. During the Iran-Contra investigation, Cullen was counsel to former Sen. Paul Tribe (R-Va.), and was on the staff of former Rep. M. Caldwell Butler (R-Va.) during the Watergate investigation. 

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

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Criminal Lawyer Jason Doe Solves: The Case of the Insolent Watchman – Liberian Daily Observer

Prosecutor James Sayon sauntered to the witness table and pawed through papers and in a swift motion, turned and in three strides, stood in front of the witness and glared at the 35-year-old Darlington Workman of the Presidential Protective Force.

“You were in Kakata for the celebration of the world freedom week?”

“Yes.”

“You were chosen as the keynote speaker?”

“Yes.”

“And by choosing you as a keynote speaker,” the prosecutor said, “It was because of the confidence that the media had in you?”

“Yes,” the witness said, fidgeting with his hands, and putting them on his back and then in front of him.

“You hold your job very much dear to you?”

“I am qualified for the job and I am accountable for my own actions. I will even arrest my mother if she poses a danger to my job and will not hesitate to use my power to show that

I am the kind of person I am,” he said, as a murmur of disapproval swept through the court, and Judge Willie Zotaa’s gavel struck twice to remind the audience of the importance of the case.

“There are many cases in the past that brought the honor of the Court into disrepute because of audience excitement and this Court cannot and will not lower its esteem on the trivialities of an excited audience,” Zotaa said, and calm was immediately restored.

“Mr. Workman,” the prosecutor continued, “you believe in the freedom of the press, don’t you?”

“I believe in it to some extent.”

“To what extent, do you believe in the freedom of the press?”

“To the extent that my integrity is not questioned.”

“Very well,” the prosecutor said, “you are paid by taxpayers’ money?”

“Yes.”

“And taxpayers in this country expect you to do a particular job?”

“Yes.”

“But you resent them to question your integrity and how you perform the job that they agreed to pay you?”

“They did not employ me.”

“But you are paid by their money?”

“You put it that way.”

“Is there any other way since their tax money pay you, Mr. Workman?”

“I am not aware.”

The witness lowered his head and the prosecutor allowed the echo of his voice to sweep

across the audience.

“When you were invited to speak at the gathering of media men and women at their own program, did you at first understand your responsibility?” the prosecutor began from another approach.

“I thought I did…”
Judge Zotaa interrupted.

“The witness cannot express what he thought. His answers must be factual and not sentimental.”

“Thank you, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said and directing his questions at the witness, said, “Did you know what you were expected to do at the gathering of the media men and women?”

“They were media men and I knew it was time for me to tell them my mind.”

“Which was not the reason you were invited to speak?”

“No, now I know.”

“But until then you had a distorted view of the responsibility that the members of the

Fourth Estate entrusted into your hands, didn’t you?”

“I have a job to do,” he said deliberately, evading the question.

“And the job you had to do that day was to speak on a topic that had a theme of the freedom to speak our mind, without fear or favor?”

“I can accept that now.”

“You are not happy about the turn of events, with the imposition of a media blackout simply because of an overzealous security man or to put it bluntly, an insolent watchman felt his self-importance to shoot his mouth at a wrong forum, did you realize that?”

“All I wanted to do was to sound a word of caution.”

“And have you realized that your action to sound a word of caution was premature, the absolute silence of the president shows moral support to your wanton declaration of violence, even after one week and her final declaration of enjoying the blackout, the house, and the senate’s silence have all contributed to the bad blood with the media, all starting because of you?”

“I am not the devil’s grandson.”

“Is it not exactly what you are now in the eyes of the men and women of the Fourth Estate?”

The witness did not respond, and the prosecutor went on.

“Is it not a fact that your action was premeditated with the intent to destroy the gains that our society has earned in the last seven years?”

The witness shifted in the witness stand, as the audience’s attention fixed on him.

“Mr. Workman,” the prosecutor said, “is it not a fact that your action was deliberate and your intent was diabolical? Is not a fact that your motive showed you as a reckless advocate of violence?”

“I never could realize the implications.”

“You spent many years in the United States, earning excellent degrees in security and economy but your action indicates that paper degrees are not enough because possessing them alone shows a deficiency in character and disrespect for the rule of law, isn’t it?”

“I am an honest man,” the witness said, “but God knows my intentions are clean.”

“Do you appreciate the work of the media in the last several years?”

“Yes.”

“But isn’t your threat against the members of the Fourth Estate demonstrating your blatant disregard for the rule of law?”

“It was a mere caution.”

“Wonderful, a mere caution with ‘I have my gun and they have their pen’ and you were not referring to toys, were you?”

His defense lawyer, Sam Towah was on his feet, objecting to the questions as improper and an attempt to browbeat his client but Judge Zotaa denied his objection.

“Overruled,” the judge said.

“You are a family man?” the prosecutor kept the pressure on.

“Yes.”

“And under no condition will you refuse them the chance to express themselves?”

“Yes.”

“And you agree with the rule of law?”

“That’s what the book says.”

“And yet, you advocated the breakdown of the rule of law?”

The witness coughed involuntarily. The prosecutor turned to Judge Zotaa and smiled.

Fifteen minutes later, Judge Zotaa held a conference with the counselors in his private chambers.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “it is probable that as far as the current case is concerned there was an element of an oversight in which the defendant can be held liable.

“Indeed, it is also reasonable to conclude that since Liberia is a country of laws and since we are strengthening institutions to uphold justice, there is no way anyone in high position, let alone the chief of the presidential security service, to shoot his mouth as Darlington Workman has admitted doing.

“Nonetheless, while there is a high degree of insolence in his action; the court is aware of human weakness but is troubled that immediate response did not come from the President’s office,” Judge Zotaa said, (Quoting a recent case PUL v. Othello Warrick,) (Case No. S300147)

“The Court, therefore,” Judge Zotaa continued, “finds it interesting to encourage Liberians in authority, which will trickle down to the masses, to allow the laws of the land to dispense justice without resorting to the law of the jungle, and authorities must be swift in dispensing corrective measures to forestall the unnecessary escalation of a simple error in judgment as the court has eventually found out.”

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'Brilliant' criminal law expert joins Mueller's team on Russia probe – Chicago Tribune

One of the federal government’s top criminal law specialists is joining the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller III centered on possible coordination between President Donald Trump‘s associates and Russian officials.

Justice Department deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court, is the department’s go-to lawyer on criminal justice cases and is highly respected by Democrats and Republicans because of his encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law.

Dreeben will work part time for Mueller, according to Justice officials, while he continues to oversee the department’s criminal appellate cases.

Former and current Justice Department officials say that Mueller’s recruitment of Dreeben shows how serious he is about the investigation and signals complexities in the probe.

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John Dean: Trump Needs to Hire a Good Criminal Lawyer, Fast – Newsweek

This article first appeared on the Verdict site.

Former FBI Director James Comey delivered his much-anticipated testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, June 8, 2017.

I am back in Washington, D.C., wearing my CNN analyst/contributor hat, covering the proceedings.

Trump has hired a crony, a New York lawyer who has handled his divorces and defamation actions, rather than someone who knows the ways of Washington.

Trump and his lawyer’s response to Comey’s testimony is strange, to state it nicely.

First a bit of background.

James Comey’s testimony was as explosive as anticipated. Rather than read his prepared statement at the hearing, since it had been submitted to the committee the day before and had received wide press coverage, the former director gave the committee (as well as Donald Trump, who is never far from his 60-inch flat screen, and the watching world) a few thoughts he had not included in his statement.

There has been much debate since Comey was fired by Trump whether it was true as stated in the letter dismissing the FBI chief whether Trump had been told by Comey on three occasions, as he claimed, that he was not under investigation.

GettyImages-694220006 Donald Trump prepares to welcome President Klaus Iohannis of Romania to the White House for a ‘working visit’ June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Comey quickly cleared up that the matter. He agreed that he had given President Trump information that the president might have believed were assurances that he was not under investigation, but he was only referring to a counterintelligence investigation.

In short, the FBI does not believe Trump is a spy or Russian agent, but the former director refused to say in open session whether the president is currently under criminal investigation.

By not absolving Trump of a criminal inquiry, it was very clear that what Comey was saying was that Trump is under investigation by the Special Counsel Mueller to determine whether he colluded with the Russian’s hacking of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, and related matters. These related matters could include Trump’s financial ties to Russian oligarchs, which many Trump watchers believe could spell trouble, even if he was not involved in collusion. I will return to investigating Trump in a moment.

Notwithstanding the limited statements Comey made, twenty-four hours later Trump announced that he had been vindicated by Comey: No investigation. No collusion. Although Comey said neither, Trump heard both. But Trump’s delusion is much more serious.

Probably the most unprecedented moment in the Comey proceeding was when the former director called the President of the United States a liar. It happened on several occasions during his testimony, with Comey mincing no words when flat-out calling Trump a liar.

RELATED: John Dean : The Press Is Key, As It Was in Watergate

Early in his remarks Comey said the first time he met Trump, he was uncomfortable. “I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” Comey added and explained that he started writing memos of his meetings with the president. “I knew that there might come a day where I might need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself and FBI and the integrity of our situation, and the independence of our function.”

Comey also said he believed the president lied about the reason he fired him: “The administration (read: the President) then chose to defame me—and, more importantly, the FBI—by saying the organization was in disarray and that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”

These are extraordinary charges from any former high official, and particularly a former FBI director, when the president appears still under investigation. Not surprisingly, before the day ended Trump struck back, as he would again the next day.

Trump’s private outside attorney, a longtime friend and lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, had come to Washington from New York, and following Comey’s testimony read a brief statement at the National Press Club (a few blocks from the White House) where he denied Comey’s charge in his testimony that Trump had tried to impede the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security adviser.

Kasowitz similarly denied Trump had made any false statements. Kasowitz’s general denials did little to blunt the impact of Comey’s powerful testimony, given under oath, nor did Trump’s lawyer refusing to take questions bolster their case.

I have considerable experience following presidential scandals up close (Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Lewinsky matter). I found Marc Kasowitz’s defense of President Trump underwhelming.

More specifically, his defense seemed limited to the claim that Trump did not say what Comey says he did; Trump joined the defense 24 hours later at a press conference by volunteering to put his version under oath, as Comey’s was. Then the defense went on the attack with a Kasowitz statement riddled with problems. It is the kicker at the end trying to shift the problems to Comey:

Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President. The leaks of this privileged information began no later than March 2017 when friends of Mr. Comey have stated he disclosed to them the conversations he had with the President during their January 27, 2017 dinner and February 14, 2017 White House meeting.

On June 9, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified. He also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of these memos to the press in order to “prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory.

We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks [sic] should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.

Let’s look at each at the counterattack by Trump and Kasowitz:

Charge: Kasowitz claims Comey leaked classified information.

Response: To the contrary, this is a total misreading of Comey’s statement, not to mention it suggests Kasowitz paid no attention to Comey’s responses to the questions of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A careful reading of Comey’s testimony, including his responses, reveals he did not release any classified material to any unauthorized persons. Comey repeatedly testified that the memos he wrote of his conversations with Trump were almost all unclassified. Or, as he stated to clarify at one point, “My view was that the content of those [memo are] unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”

At another point in his testimony he corrected a senator who was not clear on classification. Senator Heinriech asked: “The memos that you wrote, you wrote—did you write all nine of them in a way that was designed to prevent them from needing classification?”

RELATED: John Dean : Active/Negative Trump Is Doomed to Follow Nixon

Comey answered, “No. On a few of the occasions, I wrote—I sent emails to my chief of staff on some of the brief phone conversations I had. The first one was a classified briefing. Though it was in a conference room at Trump Tower, it was a classified briefing. I wrote that on a classified device. The one I started typing in the car, that was a classified laptop I started working on.”

The Senator asked, “Any reason in a classified environment, in a skiff [sic], that this committee, it would not be appropriate to see those communications at least from your perspective as the author?”

Comey said, “No.” But this has nothing to do with anything Comey “leaked,” if that is the correct word, which does not appear the case.

There is not a sintilla of evidence that Comey released any classified information, other than to his FBI associates involved in the Russia investigation, and cleared to receive such information.

Charge: Kasowitz claims Comey “leaked” information, and in doing so acted “surreptitiously.” Trump similarly call Comey a “leaker” as his press conference twenty-four hours after Comey’s testimony explaining his release of one of his memos to a friend, which he authorized sharing with the news media.

Response: Trump and his attorney appear to misunderstand the term “leak,” and exactly what Comey admitted to doing in releasing information.

Specifically, Kasowitz charged: “Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President. The leaks of this privileged information began….”

First, Comey did not “leak” anything. Google, and most dictionaries, define a leak as “intentional disclosure of secret information.” Comey was privy to the conversation, so it was no secret—he simply used an intermediary, openly.

If Sean Spicer, the press secretary, shared a Trump conversation off-the-record with a reporter, that is not a leak. Comey’s friend released his account of a conversation to make the information public. He did not need Trump’s consent because he had been fired, and Trump was falsely characterizing Comey’s position.

To act surreptitiously means to keep something secret, and that was not done. The press coverage all but said the material had been provided by Comey and with his consent.

Charge : Kasowitz claims Trump’s conversations with Comey were “privileged.”

Response : This is absurd. Presidential conversations are only rarely privileged and that occurs when they deal with national security matters or involve deliberations in decision making.

Trump and his lawyer seem to think when Trump speaks some right of privacy attaches to his words. The Trump White House played this same game in claiming they allowed Comey to testify without invoking executive privilege to block him. I addressed this claim in a piece I wrote for CNN, because it is so over the top it is disconnected from reality. Now his New York lawyer is playing with it, and trying to suggest wrongdoing by Comey, and it is laughable.

It appears to me that Donald Trump has made the same mistake Richard Nixon did during Watergate: he is not represented by competent counsel.

When I first learned the dimensions of Watergate I went to one of my two immediate superiors to explain I did not have such experience, nor did the lawyers on my staff, thus suggesting we bring an experienced criminal lawyer so we not make some foolish mistake.

My suggestion was promptly dismissed and we proceeded to make one foolish mistake after another. After I broke rank and left the White House, Nixon never hired a criminal lawyer, and proceeded to commit more crimes. Not until he resigned did he hire a highly qualified criminal lawyer, and get the representation he needed.

President Trump has hired a great litigator, who has handled a lot of nasty business for him in the past. But what he really needs an experienced Washington-based criminal lawyer, without which he may not survive the problems he currently faces.

The weak response to the Comey testimony, and Trump’s bravado the next day at his press conference, show he is not ready to handle the legal problems he is facing. White House lawyers represent the office of the president, and are not available to handle his personal problems.

John W. Dean was a counsel to President Richard Nixon.

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