Di Genova (and Toensing) Not Joining Trump's Legal Team

Update: The New York Times says Trump's personal legal team on Russia is down to one lawyer, and explains why the rest left and others have turned down his overtures.

Joe DiGenova and his partner/wife Victoria Toensing won't be representing Donald Trump regarding Russia after all. They are conflicted out.

The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement on Sunday morning. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

Victoria represents Mark Corallo, who was spokesman for Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz and Trump's legal team when Trump, Hicks and others drafted a reply to the NY Times disclosure of Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting, also attended by Manafort, Kushner, Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, Rob Goldstone and others. The initial media disclosure by the New York Times is here.

No one saw the conflict before this? Toensing's representation of Corallo in relation to the Russia investigation was widely publicized -- as was his reported meeting with Mueller. [More...]

Corallo resigned within days of the response Trump sent the New York Times, and later, when interviewed by Mueller, reportedly told Mueller that on the flight, during the preparation of the Trump response, Hope Hicks said the emails between Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner and Rob Goldstone "would never get out." Corallo reportedly viewed Hope's statement as potentially obstructing justice. Hope Hicks' lawyer hotly denied Hope made such a statement.

Today's report in the Times linked above says Trump told two aides he had no "personal chemistry" with either DiGenova or Toensing.

The president met with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing, who are married, in recent days to discuss the possibility that they would join his legal team in the Mueller case. According to two people told of details about the meeting, the president did not believe he had personal chemistry with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

A little bit of history on Mark Corallo. He goes way back. He was spokesman for John Ashcroft, and later for Karl Rove's lawyer during the Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby investigation.

He always seemed like a straight-shooter to me. I talked to him a few times during the Rove investigation, and even more times to Jason Leopold, then writing for TruthOut, who reported Karl Rove had been indicted. Jason and Corallo were at odds over what Corallo had reportedly told Jason during a phone call. Having talked to both of them I got stuck in the middle.

When Fitzgerald ultimately sent a letter to Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin of Patton Boggs, that there would no Indictment of Karl Rove, Corallo e-mailed a press release to everyone on his media list, and included this message to me:

Jeralyn - it's over. You might want to tell Marc Ash and Jason Leopold that they are free to leave the "lockdown" on the 4th floor of Patton Boggs anytime they wish. Frankly, we suspected they were just there for the free donuts all along...

I can easily see how Trump would not respond positively to the "outgoing" personalities and rigid point of views of DiGenova and Toensing. But how did diGenova and Toensing not see this coming? While I couldn't disagree more with their political views, I do believe they are ethical lawyers would not agree to represent someone if there was a conflict of interest. The New York Times report today says:

White House aides said Mr. Corallo’s assertion [about Hope Hicks] had come up in discussions with the president as he weighed whether to go ahead with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

Perhaps they thought there was no conflict because they know Corallo said nothing incriminating to Mueller about Trump, and is unlikely to be a witness against him. Politico reported Corallo signed a waiver, authorizing them to represent Trump.

But what about what Corallo may have told Mueller about Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, Ivanka and others close to him? I think Trump will fight like a dog to protect his children and surrogate children, and it may be as simple as Trump cannot not trust a lawyer who represented a potential witness against them.

Politico also reported Trump's present lawyers pleaded with him not to hire DiGenova and Toensing, in part because of their ages.

A senior administration official said Trump’s lawyers pleaded with the president against hiring diGenova and Toensing, citing conflicts of interest and their ages (he’s 73, she’s 76)....The senior administration official said the couple also looked disheveled when they came to meet with the president on Thursday, which helped convince Trump they weren’t the right fit for the team.
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    Trumps ad on Craigslist (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Mar 28, 2018 at 11:08:44 AM EST

    "Seeking a lead attorney to represent client involved in an ongoing Federal investigation. Must be familiar with laws and procedures around discovery, executive privilege, international financing of licensed real estate, election law and the Logan Act. Working knowledge of social media, especially Twitter is a plus, as is a better than average knowledge of the adult film industry and a collection of Playboy magazines from 1985-2010. Must look the part - Gregory Peck or Tommy Lee Jones type. Prior appearances on Fox News a huge plus.
    No fatties.

    Must be prepared to work with a client who is very forceful and opinionated about his defense and is his own best counsel.

    Basically your job boils down to keeping him from testifying under oath and hoping the rest comes out in the wash.

    Ask about our other openings on our staff and submit your resume to be considered for potential openings in the near future. Perhaps the very near future. Like, hit refresh on your browser now. Now again."

    Dahlia Lithwick (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Mar 28, 2018 at 05:03:14 PM EST
    Federal Judge Allows Trump Emoluments Case to Go Forward

    On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte gave an unexpected green light to the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, who had claimed in a lawsuit that payments to properties owned by Donald Trump violate the Constitution's arcane foreign and domestic Emoluments Clauses. Messitte, who works out of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, found that the plaintiffs have standing to proceed with their case, at least with respect to the Trump International Hotel in D.C., but not properties in other states.

    I like the theory (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 25, 2018 at 07:22:19 PM EST
    That none of this was vetted in any normal way and Trump just decided he wanted them and mouthed off about it before anyone could tell him it was a bad idea.
    So it became news.  Not unlike surprising both McMaster and Bolton with an unplanned announcement.

    As far as (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 07:54:43 AM EST
    Down to one lawyer, one of the things Trump has been most famous for since at least the 80s is not paying his legal fees.
    The one remaining can probably depend on the without welfare system

    And he is busy on Twitter disparaging the legal (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 01:23:52 PM EST

    Well, you'll never turn down (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 01:45:18 PM EST
    Representing fame & fortune you lawyer...bahaha!

    You limo chaser!


    Public entity employment is where the real bucks (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 03:20:42 PM EST
    are n

    Always (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 03:42:47 PM EST
    You know what's worse than a limo chaser? The Deep State.

    Nah, It is Winning With the Inferior Case (none / 0) (#15)
    by RickyJim on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 05:54:27 PM EST
    Yes, this (none / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 09:42:35 AM EST
    was just part of Operation Chaos, aka Trump Administration.  The NYTimes reports that Trump does not know what he plans on doing when he awakes in the morning; the chaos is not a strategy, just what happens.  My theory is that Trump found DeGenova and Toensing to look better to him on FOX than at the White House.  The "disheveled" part did them in....and the look was the whole of what he was looking for in his legalish p.r. attacks.  

    "No one saw the conflict before this?" (none / 0) (#4)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 10:05:16 AM EST
    Yep, that is the question that comes to mind.

    Just part of the shoot from the hip style, I suppose.

    Wouldn't you expect the lawyers to do a conflict (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 03:46:57 PM EST
    check before they agreed to meet a potential client?

    Yep (none / 0) (#14)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 04:48:36 PM EST
    Especially before any announcement to the public.  Good gawd.

    Trump may (none / 0) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 01:26:59 PM EST
    wind up with a public defender.   Maybe, his best option.

    The Federal Public Defender office (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 01:51:05 PM EST
    in D.C. is excellent. But to qualify for a public defender you have to complete a financial disclosure, to establish eligibility. So, that's probably a no-go.

    Under penalty of perjury (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 01:51:43 PM EST
    I should have added.

    A way of (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 02:32:26 PM EST
    getting at Trump's tax returns.  Probably not a billionaire, but too much to qualify.  The biggest problem, no doubt, would be the perjury part.

    Two more publicly down (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 06:53:28 PM EST
    Fame and fortune resisters (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 07:37:43 PM EST

    Love the sub text (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Mar 26, 2018 at 07:48:29 PM EST
    `They consider the opportunity to represent the President to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so.'

    I'd love to Don, really... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 27, 2018 at 12:59:38 PM EST
    but I'm washing my hair for the next 12 months.

    My money was on him being busy organizing (none / 0) (#21)
    by vml68 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 at 05:59:16 PM EST
    his sock drawer for however long was necessary :-)

    No Open Thread, so Here Goes (none / 0) (#19)
    by RickyJim on Tue Mar 27, 2018 at 10:12:15 AM EST
    Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet? by Pat Buchanan.  It is a devastating attack on recent US foreign policy which Trump seems to want to continue except for scuttling the one good thing in recent memory, the Iran nuclear deal.
    Trump was nominated because he promised to keep us out of stupid wars like those into which folks like John Bolton and the Bush Republicans plunged us.

    After 17 years, we are still mired in Afghanistan, trying to keep the Taliban we overthrew in 2001 from returning to Kabul. Following our 2003 invasion, Iraq, once a bulwark against Iran, became a Shiite ally of Iran.

    The rebels we supported in Syria have been routed. And Bashar Assad -- thanks to backing from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from the Middle East and Central Asia -- has secured his throne.

    The Kurds who trusted us have been hammered by our NATO ally Turkey in Syria, and by the Iraqi Army we trained in Iraq.

    They are saying (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Mar 28, 2018 at 08:59:44 PM EST
    This long times story was probably the reason Dowd left.  He is now a part of the investigation

    Dowd floats pardons for Flynn and Manafort months ago

    Around the paywall (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Mar 28, 2018 at 09:03:32 PM EST
    It is difficult for me to believe (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 08:13:30 AM EST
    That Dowd isn't going to be charged with obstruction. Of course we don't know everything, but this looks pretty bad.

    I wish average folks with 40 hr work weeks were being explained why this is legally significant. Perhaps Rachel explains it, but not everyone watches her.


    I do this pretty much full time (none / 0) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 08:34:52 AM EST
    And it's still hard to keep up.  Along with that yesterday there was this which pretty much puts the final nail in the "no collusion no collusion" thing.

    Trump campaign's Gates knew he was speaking to Russian intel agent, say feds


    But the question is, will Mueller be (none / 0) (#32)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:13:44 AM EST
    able to find Trump's fingerprints on any of this stuff, or is his exposure going to be limited to obstruction of justice and possibly some tax-related infractions/violations, and things related too Stormy Daniels and all the other women?

    Marcy Wheeler has, as usual, an (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:41:25 AM EST
    I find it very hard to believe (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:19:21 AM EST
    He will not.

    Armando brought up something interesting (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:23:52 AM EST
    If Trump pardons someone they can no longer plead the 5th.

    But I don't think it protects them (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:47:31 AM EST
    from the reach of state laws that may be violated, so there could be plenty of exposure there.

    He also can't pardon someone with the end game of shielding himself - that's considered obstruction.

    Marcy Wheeler seems to think we could have a lot of stuff breaking by Monday...


    Breaking news (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:51:03 AM EST
    Has come to mean something different under Trump. It means "hearing this will break you" or "this is what he broke today".

    It also doesn't protect them ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 04:12:12 PM EST
    Anne: "But I don't think it protects them from the reach of state laws that may be violated, so there could be plenty of exposure there."

    ... from "accidentally" falling from a 6th floor apartment window or inhaling some nerve agent while on a walk -- knowhutahmean, jellybean?

    Dead men tell no tales.


    I don't think Trump will pardon anyone (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:27:59 AM EST
    I just don't.   Or if he does it over.  Who would he pardon?  Manafort?

    I don't think so.  Plus it's being made clear the state of NY has some harsher penalties for some of that stuff.  So take your pick.  Rikers or Club Fed


    Plus (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:36:42 AM EST
    If your azz was on the line would you trust Trump to pardon you just because he said he would?   Or even better if his pig nosed lawyer whispered it to you?

    I think he's going to pardon some people (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:45:54 AM EST
    He's too much a fool. The only thing stopping him from getting up there and telling all of us he's the decider right now is upcoming midterms.

    Heck, today he's saying he doesn't need a communications director or a chief of staff. He's nuts as all get out.

    After the midterms I think we're going to a have Dubya Fallujah type experience. When Dubya was trying to get re-elected he said he wasn't going to destroy Fallujah. The day after the election the US military began an assault on Fallujah that pounded it hell, and disabled and elderly people died in their homes when white phosphorus was used :( A war crime that was never really addressed.

    Trump will Fallujah us to the best of his abilities after the midterms.


    as I understand it (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:53:26 AM EST
    Flynn and Gates have said they don't want pardons.  At least from Trump.  So that leaves Manafort.  Go for it Donald.

    Plus #2

    I do not think Manafort is resisting cooperating because of some hope of a pardon.  I believe his former associates have made it clear he has a nice family.  It would be a shame if something happened to them.


    The Kremlin appears to have murdered (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:59:19 AM EST
    The creator of RT on US soil in downtown DC. They used a WMD on UK soil. Everyone Russian associated with the pee dossier (gotta clarify dossiers because there is more than one now) has somehow dropped dead. Manafort knows what the Kremlin is capable of.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 11:37:46 AM EST
    And in this recent spate of killings the bobble head chatter was 'it makes no sense.  Why would the Russians do it in such a blatant way so everyone would know it was them?!'

    I think that was exactly the point.  Message received.  Which was, look, we won't even go to the trouble of making it look like an accident.  We will just gas yer azz


    I had not heard anything about the RT in DC (none / 0) (#48)
    by Peter G on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 11:46:26 AM EST
    story. Can you point to something, MT, just to save me the search?

    Here is a link to Slate Peter (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 12:36:40 PM EST

    There was a second investigation that Christopher did
    and he turned it over to the FBI too. Last night on MSNBC they reported that 3 other sources not associated with Steele are reporting the same. The founder of RT was murdered. This man could not have fallen down drunk and sustained these injuries. He was bludgeoned to death.

    Ohhh, this was in 2015 - that explains (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 01:05:23 PM EST
    why it didn't ring any bells for me; this was before we knew all this spycraft was going on, I guess.

    For example (none / 0) (#36)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:24:33 AM EST
    That came from the filing related to the Nordic lawyer.  That stuff seemed to me to be as close as we will ever get to Mueller publicly saying "look, I got this"

    And also interestingly timed with all the hysteria about Trump firing Mueller just lately.  It just got a lot harder.


    I try not to do it full time (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:20:15 AM EST
    Because the toxicity of the administration gets disheartening. But the misinformation my everyday people pass back and forth I can't participate in. Someone has to know what is going on.

    My great Aunt passed on Tuesday. I hope to attend her funeral. She made my mother feel very welcomed into my dad's family. They were best friends. This branch of my family swung Conservative in my generation.

    They feel panicked right now about guns...sigh. I was told yesterday all guns will eventually be banned. They believe crazy things.

    I was also told that the ranches East of Colorado Springs are being bought up by the Cuban Cartel to be used for marijuana production. Who has heard of the Cuban Cartel? Is there really such a thing? Why are my cousins my age so nucking futz?


    I guess I lucked out (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 11:51:20 AM EST
    My cousins are all liberals.

    Not (none / 0) (#26)
    by FlJoe on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 07:46:51 AM EST
    to worry, tRump still has a deep bench
    Andrew J. Ekonomou, who is now apparently Trump's new lead attorney since Dowd's departure. Ekonomou does not appear to have ever worked at a major national law firm, ever worked in Washington, DC or even worked as a defense lawyer. What first attracted my attention was that in addition to being an attorney, Ekonomou is also a medieval historian who writes about the early medieval papacy and the Byzantine empire.
    a historian and part time prosecutor
    Since then Ekonomou appears to have mixed history writing with life as a semi-retired or perhaps three-quarters' time lawyer, doing murder prosecutions on contract for Glynn County
    who hit the jackpot on civil seizures
    Happily, a few years later, Ekonomou and Lambros were on to bigger and better things. They were making a killing working as contract prosecutors initiating civil forfeiture proceedings against Georgia convenience store owners accused of illegal gambling on video poker machines. Ekonomou and Lambros ended up making so much money that they started getting unwanted media attention. The press scrutiny revealed they were working on contingency. A number of Middle and South Georgia DA's offices had hired the duo on a contingency basis, thus incentivizing them to claim as many assets as possible since they got a percentage

    BTW: Who knew Sekulow was  a major Christianist grifter(IMO)

    Sekulow has a huge following on the religious right and is the one who brought Ekonomou onto the President's team back in June. Sekulow is also a master fundraiser. Indeed, he and his family have made many millions of dollars over the years through various `religious liberty' charities and foundations they control.

    The thoughts and prayers bench (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 08:10:14 AM EST
    Which Clashes With His Name (none / 0) (#29)
    by RickyJim on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 08:29:37 AM EST
    denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.
    "secular buildings"
    synonyms:    nonreligious, areligious, lay, temporal, worldly, earthly, profane; formallaic
    "secular music"
    (of clergy) not subject to or bound by religious rule; not belonging to or living in a monastic or other order.

    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 08:36:20 AM EST
    His middle name is Non

    I Get Meanings Mixed Up Sometimes (none / 0) (#38)
    by RickyJim on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 09:32:12 AM EST
    I think this is approximately right:
    secular = non-sectarian or non-spiritual
    non secular = sectarian or spiritual.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#46)
    by FlJoe on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 10:49:10 AM EST
    we should just call him Jay Non-Sequitur, maybe we should call the whole administration non-sense.

    From what I have read (none / 0) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Mar 29, 2018 at 03:29:42 PM EST
    the guy basically has not been a lawyer since the 80's. He only does it as a sideline and backs up shortages of prosecutors and is no longer his main line of work. And he's 69 years old. But then I'm sure even the big Atlanta firms like Spalding would turn down Trump if he asked. So Sekulow is reduced to scraping the bottom of the barrel in the Atlanta legal community. No surprise.

    ... in which the groundwork is presently being laid for a federal judge to one day set aside Trump's eventual felony conviction, citing the defendant's incompetent legal counsel.

    Victoria Toensing (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Mar 30, 2018 at 07:11:47 PM EST
    was the attorney/muse who exerted such a positive influence on the ravings of discredited Uranium One "whistle blower" William Campbell..

    You know, the guy who started making wild claims about the Clintons dealings with the Russians right around the same time Victoria went to work for him..

    Maybe the taint left over from that sordid episode was another reason Vicky was too "conflicted" to work for Trump. Ethical though she may be.