LAWYERS CROSSING A DANGEROUS LINE: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH MAY 20, 2019

Trump continues to stonewall Congress, confuse the public, and undermine the rule of law. Unfortunately, in Attorney General William Barr, Trump has now found his Roy Cohn to help. Along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Barr is writing one of the legal profession’s saddest chapters.

The media are starting to take note. From The Guardian on May 20, 2019:

“Each new controversial memo or opinion feeds a running debate about where, exactly, assertive lawyering ends and malpractice begins. But while those debates spin on, entire ethical continents below are shifting, the critics warn, in an ominous drift away from previous legal norms. The question in play is whether there is a line past which lawyering for Trump means joining a historic assault on the justice system itself.

“Trump administration lawyers are at risk of neglecting a higher, sworn duty, said Steven J Harper, a professor and lawyer who has written on the topic for the American Bar Association.

“‘It goes beyond, I think, particular rules of professional responsibility,’ Harper said. ‘I think it goes to far more important things, like respect for the rule of law, respect for the constitution and the duty that all lawyers have to prevent a president from making the justice system a host species for his personal agenda.

“‘I think people really don’t realize the role lawyers can play,’ Harper continued. ‘Because ultimately, in order to co-opt the legal system, you need to have the help of insiders from within the legal system to do it. And so far Trump has put together a team that has, I think, in very large measure enabled him to do that.’”

“The president has tried to use the justice department to go after his political rivals before, as when he said in the spring of 2018 that he wanted prosecutions of Hillary Clinton and the former FBI director James Comey, only to be reportedly rebuffed by McGahn, then White House counsel.

“But Trump appears to have found his man in Barr, said Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics and a senior adviser to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew).

“’I think it’s extremely troubling that Barr has now assigned a handpicked investigator to look into the investigation run by his own agency,’ Shaub said. ‘They have an inspector general for a reason, and the inspector general for the Department of Justice is one of the most respected inspectors general that there is, or ever has been. There’s no reason not to rely on him if you’re looking for the truth.’

***

“What motivates the lawyers who prop up Trump’s project? ‘Maybe it’s just the intoxication of power,’ said Harper. ‘Or maybe it’s something as simple as human nature, and how it relates to ambition and greed. I don’t know, but it’s really dangerous stuff.’”

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Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and at Just Security:

NOV. 8, 2016: Election Day Troubles (revision of previous entry)

BEFORE AND AFTER DEC. 1, 2017: Person ‘Connected to’ Congress Tries to Influence Flynn’s Cooperation with Mueller

APR. 3, 2018: Flynn Sends Gaetz a Message: ‘Keep the Pressure On’

MAR. 5, 2019: Mueller Tells Barr That His Report Will Include Executive Summaries

MAR. 14 – MAY 3, 2019: Trump’s Lawyers Receive Letters From Schiff, Trump’s Lawyers Resist Schiff’s Document Requests

APR. 8, 2019: Senate Intelligence Committee Subpoenas Don Jr.

APR. 18, 2019: Barr Says ‘No Collusion’, Not Bothered By ‘Spinning’ Mueller Report Before Its Release (revision of previous entry)

MAY 12, 2019: Trump Tweets Attack FBI, ‘Russian Hoax’, Burr; Says Barr is ‘Willing to Lead the Battle’; Condemns ‘Treasonous Hoax’, Democrats Requests for Documents and Witnesses; Wants Wray to Admit to ‘Spying’ on Trump Campaign (revision of previous entry)

MAY 12, 2019: Trump Attacks FBI Director Wray: ‘The FBI Has No Leadership’; Claims Attempted ‘Illegal Coup’

MAY 13, 2019: Trump Blasts ‘Attack Strategy of Harass’ Against Barr

MAY 13, 2019: Sweden Reopens Assange’s Rape Case

MAY 13, 2019: Barr Orders Another Review of Trump-Russia Investigation’s Origins

MAY 13, 2019: Gates Still Cooperating

MAY 13, 2019: Court Receives Certain Unredacted Pages of Mueller’s Report

MAY 12-14, 2019: Graham’s Advice to Don Jr.: ‘Ignore the Subpoena’, ‘Plead the Fifth’; Don Jr. Agrees to Testify

MAY 14, 2019: Florida Governor Says Russian Hackers Had Penetrated Two Florida County Voter Databases in 2016

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