Even Trump’s more 'ethical' lawyers let their country down: conservative

Even Trump’s more 'ethical' lawyers let their country down: conservative

In a series of public hearings that started on Thursday night, June 9, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection has stressed that pro-Trump attorneys had a variety of responses to the Big Lie following the 2020 presidential election. Some of them were more than happy to promote then-President Donald Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud; then-U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, in contrast, refused to go along with the Big Lie and described Trump’s claim as “bullshit.”

Washington Post opinion writer and Never Trump conservative Jennifer Rubin, in a biting column published on June 15, compares the variety of ways in which pro-Trump lawyers responded to the Big Lie during the lame duck period of late 2020/early 2021 — and argues that even Trump’s more “ethical” lawyers let their country down.

“Some attorneys in the Trump Administration, and serving as lawmakers in Congress, enabled egregious and perhaps criminal conduct after the 2020 election,” Rubin writes. “Others prevented former President Donald Trump from acting even worse than he did, or at least refused to assist him. But none of them alerted the FBI, the public or congressional leadership. That’s a serious failing.”

Rubin cites former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as one of the attorneys whose conducts was especially “reprehensible” after the 2020 election. Giuliani, Rubin notes, “lost his law license for filing utterly frivolous cases” and “promoted a coup over other advisers’ objections.”

“News reports disclosed that former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark had prepared a draft letter to state officials making a false claim of widespread fraud and soliciting alternative slates of electors,” Rubin explains. “And, worst of all, right-wing attorney John Eastman cooked up an infamous plot to stop the electoral vote count and deny the legitimate winner, Joe Biden, the ability to take office.”

The columnist continues, “Many House members who are lawyers similarly signed onto an amicus brief in a frivolous case, initiated by lawyer and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to challenge the results of certain states that President Biden won. In the Senate, Republicans with Ivy League law degrees, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), spread the ‘Big Lie’ and made groundless objections to prevent the orderly counting of the electoral votes. These actions exploited the Trump base’s delusion and put democracy at risk.”

Barr, Rubin points out, “performed much better” when he “repeatedly told Trump that no systematic fraud occurred.”

“Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputies Richard Donoghue and Steve Engel all threatened to resign if Clark were elevated to attorney general,” Rubin observes. “Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, denounced Clark’s stunt. Meanwhile, Byung J. ‘BJay’ Pak, the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, diligently investigated fraud claims and quit rather than take part in the pressure campaign to ‘find’ votes to overturn the election. Their actions helped defuse a constitutional crisis.”

Rubin adds, “However, when Barr quit, he wrote a glowing letter about the man he later testified may have become ‘detached’ from reality. He publicly supported the effort to discredit mail-in balloting. And none of the lawyers in the (Trump) Administration — Barr, Rosen, Donoghue, Engel, Cipollone or Pak — went to the FBI, media or Congress to warn the country. We should find out why — and then revise legal ethics rules accordingly…. If they thought quitting was sufficient, they were grotesquely wrong.”

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