18 June 2017

The Hammer

CNN broke the story on Friday (link here) that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charged with investigating the ballooning Trump/Russia scandal, has hired thirteen elite lawyers with long prosecutorial experience to work on the cases. One of the attorneys, for instance, was the lead investigator and prosecutor in the Enron scandal which put Wall Street fatcats behind bars.

Subsequently, Vox published a detailed analysis of Mueller's legal dream team (link here) that documents why they could be Donald Trump's worst nightmare.

This sentence is of particular interest: "The fact that Mueller’s team can conduct such a broad probe — one apparently looking into every possible angle of the Trump-Russia scandal, from possible financial crimes to outright collusion with the Kremlin — is a reflection of just how much legal firepower he has assembled."

The piece then compares the vast experience of Mueller's team to the pitiful experience of Trump's three lawyers representing him in this matter: "a Wall Street lawyer with minimal experience in federal investigations who burst onto the national scene with a typo-ridden statement defending the President" plus two lawyers who have spent more time as talking heads on TV than in actual courtrooms.

Part of the reason Trump has such pitiful attorneys is because four top law firms declined to represent him, likely due to his mercurial personality, penchant for causing lawyers more problems by failing to follow their advice, and stiffing them in payments. They also reportedly chaffed at having to report to Trump's primary personal attorney, someone they view as vastly less experienced.

Slate also published a good piece about the Mueller's legal all-stars (link here) and how they will zero in on dubious financial transactions in Trump's past. The fact that Mueller has staffed up with lawyers experienced in prosecuting both financial crimes and also prosecuting corruption suggests Trump and team are facing a far darker future than they may realize.

The great irony to all this is the fact that Mueller's investigation will be far broader than former FBI Director James Comey likely would have conducted. It was only because Trump fired Comey that Mueller was hired -- meaning Trump's rashness was nothing short of self-sabotage.

This was exactly the sort of hubris that brought down Richard Nixon. He tried to stop the Watergate investigation by firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. That resulted in the hiring of John Sirica as special prosecutor, who ended up expanding the investigation and pursuing Nixon with greater aggression.

Trump is famously known to be intellectually lazy and reportedly has not read a book in decades, other than his own. Had he bothered to crack a history of Watergate, he might have learned how idiotic he was when he fired James Comey in an attempt to stop the Russia investigation.

Once again, Trump is his own worst enemy.

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