Of all the distasteful jobs in America — toll booth worker on a polluted highway, repairman of odorous septic tanks — the worst is to be a lawyer for a pathological liar.
Think about what it must be like to have a client who can’t risk talking to law enforcement because he’s cognitively incapable of separating fact from falsehood. This is precisely why two of Donald Trump’s key lawyers don’t want to put him in the same room with Robert Mueller’s special counsel team. Even though Trump declared a few weeks ago that he’d “love” to take questions from Mueller, and that he was “looking forward to it,” people who’ve been hired to save his butt have concluded that it would be a terrible idea.
According to a new report based on four inside sources (and I love the deadpan wording): “His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.”
Gee, ya think? This guy can’t even tell the truth about the tepid size of his Inaugural crowd or the tepid TV ratings for his State of the Union. Heck, this guy mouthed more than 2000 false or misleading statements before his first anniversary in office. I bet that if someone asked him today about his demagogic remark yesterday, that congressional Democrats are “treasonous” for failing to applaud him, he’d probably claim he never said it. (Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in battle, says it’s her right as an American not to applaud “Cadet Bone Spurs.”)
Mueller surely has a long list of questions for Trump — given the septic tank stench wafting from the White House — and it’s the duty of a president to speak with prosecutors, because he swore on a Bible to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. But his Washington lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, know that it’d be nuts, for example, to allow Trump to be questioned for firing FBI director James Comey — given the fact that Trump has said he did it to derail the Russia probe, and given the fact that Comey took contemporaneous notes at the time.
Fleeing from Mueller would naturally make it look like Trump has something to hide (which he does), and it would make Trump look weak (which he is), but submitting to questions would be worse. Newt Gingrich, the ex-House speaker who has morphed into a Trump lackey, reportedly says it “would be a very, very bad idea” to put Trump “in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him or trap him,” which is Newt’s inimitable way of saying that Mueller’s team would try to pin down Trump on what’s true or false.
Trump’s lawyers know his history; they’re well aware of the time his fraudulence was fully exposed. He sued Tim O’Brien, one of his biographers, for libel (Trump ultimately lost the case, natch), and he was summoned to a deposition with O’Brien’s lawyers. During those proceedings in December 2007, Trump was forced to admit under oath that he had lied repeatedly over the years — about everything from his business ties to mob figures, the size of his company, the size of his debts, the size of his speaking fees, the money he’d been compelled to borrow to avoid personal bankruptcy, all kinds of basic stuff.
As one report recounts in detail, “The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared, and under oath. Thirty times, they caught him.”
No wonder lawyer John Dowd wants to keep Trump away from Mueller. (Dowd represents Trump the man; lawyer Ty Cobb represents the office of the presidency and is thus more inclined to be cooperative.) The problem in the weeks ahead, however, is that if Trump takes Dowd’s advice and stiffs the special counsel, Mueller could subpoena Trump to testify under oath before a grand jury. Which Trump could resist, likely triggering a legal battle all the way to the high court. Or perhaps he’ll forego that fight, submit to Mueller in an interview or in front of a grand jury, and simply take the Fifth — even though in the past he has ridiculed that tactic: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth?”
So few viable options! No wonder he has plaintively pleaded for a miracle lawyer to save him. He has demanded to know, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”
Cohn, a mob lawyer and Trump mentor, exited this earth in 1986. As the walls close in, Trump sees dead people.