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Jan 26 2018

Wartime Consigliari

Mike, why am I out?

You’re not a wartime Consigliari, Tom. Things could get rough with the move we’re making.

Tom, I advised Michael. I never thought you were a bad Consigliari. I thought Santino was a bad Don, rest in peace. Michael has all my confidence as do you. But there are reasons why you must have nothing to do with what’s going to happen.

Maybe I could help.

You’re out, Tom.

Of course today’s big “news” is the story that Trump actually tried to fire Robert Mueller in June, ordering White House Legal Counsel Donald McGahn to do the job (despite his “You’re Fired!” reputation, The Donald is notoriously reluctant to actually do the deeds himself. I on the other hand, have. Non, je ne regrette rien.). McGahn refused.

After receiving the president’s order to fire Mr. Mueller, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.

Mr. McGahn disagreed with the president’s case and told senior White House officials that firing Mr. Mueller would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump’s presidency. Mr. McGahn also told White House officials that Mr. Trump would not follow through on the dismissal on his own. The president then backed off.

McGahn is hardly a profile in courage (any more than James Comey). He had at least 2 very good reasons to take the position he did.

First (and McGahn is a typical Republican slimeball so I doubt this entered his conciousness for an instant) the White House Legal Counsel is no more the President’s personal lawyer than the Attorney General is. The White House Legal Counsel’s job is to advise and represent the Office of The President, not it’s current occupant. This is why Trump has Ty Cobb.

Secondly, as a lawyer you’re allowed to represent people who are very, very guilty. Indeed our system of Justice demands that you do so, and to the best of your ability. You’re not allowed to conspire with them to enable future crimes.

For instance, lying under oath is a crime. As a lawyer, an Officer of the Court, you can’t call a Defendant as a Witness in their own defense, even though you know that if you don’t it may result in their conviction, should you strongly suspect or be certain they will lie on the stand. Of course individuals can lie to their own lawyers all they like, it’s just usually not in their best interest.

Of course punishment is rare (You know why Sharks won’t eat Lawyers? Professional Courtesy.), but rare doesn’t mean never and the lowest sanction is Disbarment (ok, Reprimand, but that’s hardly a sanction at all, remember the Sharks?) and you could go to Jail, no joke at all.

In the quote above Michael and Vito Corleone are actually doing Tom Hagen a favor. They’re about to initiate a Gang War and kill dozens of people. They don’t want Bruce Cutler involved because they may need him later.

Another justification that is being offered is this-

Mr. McGahn was also concerned that firing the special counsel would incite more questions about whether the White House was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Asked and answered Counselor. Trump bragged about it to Russian Ambassador Kislyak (do we tap the Russian Ambassador’s phone? Duh!) He said so himself ON AIR TO A NATIONAL TELEVISION AUDIENCE in his interview with Lester Holt.

There are no more questions your Honor. It’s just a stipulated fact.

There is a lot of gassing today about how this makes it easier to prove malicious intent. Pelion on Ossa (Sigh. For those not familiar when Otus and Ephialtes waged war on the Greek Gods of Olympus, which is a real mountain, they took Pelion and put it on top of Ossa, which are both also real mountains, so that they could make their attack from the same level.).

Folks, what even matters anymore? The case that Donald John Trump is a criminal is already rock solid. The problem is that Republicans won’t impeach and Institutional Democrats (looking right at you Nancy Pelosi) show little enthusiasm for it.

Trump committed treason. Bill Clinton got a consensual blow job (yes, I am aware of the power dynamics).

One of these things is not like the other.