Meet Trump’s New Crackpot Attorney

Donald Trump has hired a new attorney for his legal team, Joseph diGenova, part of a husband/wife team of crackpots who have pushed ridiculous conspiracy theories about dark plots against him. The former US Attorney appears regularly on Fox News, which is no doubt where Trump saw him and why he likes him (going on Fox News these days is practically a White House job interview). Among some of his loopy claims:

  • Last August, diGenova argued that the “deep state” was “a threat to the functioning of the presidency itself,” claiming that leaks of transcripts from Trump’s calls with Mexico and Australia are the result of “a continuum of the deep-state rebellion by civil servants inside the government and political operatives of the last administration who left.” He also claimed the existence of the “deep state” is “why what’s necessary are a couple of very big, very strong in terrorism grand juries with subpoenas.”
  • DiGenova called the FBI raid of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home “a disgusting, awful display of raw political power — not law enforcement power, political power.”
  • In December, diGenova said former FBI Director James Comey “sold his soul to the devil.”
  • In January, diGenova pushed the claim that the FBI and DOJ were trying to “frame” Trump and called for a second special counsel and a congressional investigation into top-level FBI and DOJ officials. He argued, “Make no mistake about it: A group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime.”
  • DiGenova called the FBI’s investigation of Trump “the worst period in the history of the bureau, much worse than the late [former FBI director J. Edgar] Hoover period when they were spying on domestic groups.”
  • DiGenova called the special counsel investigation “a disgrace” and claimed “the appointment of the special counsel will go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by a Justice Department official. There never should have been a special counsel because there was no evidence of any crime.” He later again pushed the conspiracy theory that the FBI and DOJ framed Trump, arguing “one of the worst things in the history of our country” is that the FBI and Justice Department have tried to “frame” Trump “with a non-existent crime.”
  • In February, diGenova attacked FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for believing in “this phony notion that DOJ and the FBI are independent of the executive branch and the president of the United States. It is an insidious concept. They work for the president. He can fire them. He can tell them what to do.”
  • DiGenova called Wray’s threat to resign amid pressure from the president to fire his deputy “childish” and “immature” and said it “displays a lack of leadership, a lack of confidence, and an inability to understand the times in which [he] function[s] as a major leader of an American institution.”
  • He alleged that “the FBI and the DOJ basically conspired with the Democratic Party, the DNC, and the Hillary Clinton campaign,” adding that “in the course of trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president, [they framed] him for a nonexistent crime of collusion.”
  • This month, diGenova referred to the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government as “a brazen plot by senior officials at DOJ and FBI in the Obama administration and senior Obama administration intelligence officials to exonerate Hillary Clinton falsely and then to frame Donald Trump if Hillary lost the election.”
  • He has claimed that “it wasn’t the Russians who corrupted the presidential election; it was the American officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI.”
  • DiGenova claimed that Comey, then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “and the senior Obama DOJ people hate Donald Trump and they believe that anything, including violating every known standard of federal law enforcement, is justified to either keep him from office or, if elected, take him out of office.”
  • And just this morning, on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, diGenova lashed out at Wray, stating, “Christopher Wray ought to be ashamed of himself. He is an embarrassment to everybody at the FBI, and I think he should resign. … He doesn’t want to be associated with the firing of McCabe. Can you believe this?”

No wonder Trump hired him. Of course, if he tries making such claims in court or in legal documents, any judge will rightly instruct him to stop blathering on and stick to the facts. His equally ridiculous wife, Victoria Toensing, has been relentlessly pushing the right wing lies about the Uranium One deal and has been demanding a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton over it even though she was only one of many cabinet secretaries given an opportunity to make a recommendation on the sale. Why isn’t she demanding an investigation into Obams’s Secretary of Commerce? Because no one even remembers who that was. But they had precisely the same authority that Clinton did as Secretary of State in that situation. It’s like a textbook example of a lie that just keeps being told no matter how many times it’s been shown to be a lie.

Trump is stuck hiring people like this, people with political axes to grind and are looking for attention, because he refuses to follow the advice of his attorneys and because no reputable Republican attorney will work with him. He recently tried to get Ted Olson to represent him but was flatly turned down. So he ends up people like deGenova and Jay Sekulow instead, legal carnival barkers.

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