His behavior increasingly unpredictable, his tweets now openly attacking the Special Counsel, his legal team in disarray, President Trump is reported to be hiring yet another lawyer in the Russia probes who once again he has watched defend him on Fox News, Joseph E. diGenova.
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A longtime Washington, D.C. lawyer and former U.S. Attorney, diGenova has pushed an unproven theory that the president wants to use as his primary defense against the notion that he or his campaign colluded with Russia during the election, or that he has committed obstruction of justice and other crimes since his election.
Here is how diGenova laid out in January during an interview on Fox News: – after text messages between former Mueller investigator and FBI agent Peter Strzok and a female FBI lawyer were released – describing his belief Trump is the victim of a plot by the FBI and the “deep state” to get him.
“The FBI and senior DOJ officials conspired to violate the law, and deny Donald Trump his civil rights,” diGenova told Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson who asked him why?
“The motive,” replied diGenova, “would be that they didn’t like Donald Trump, they didn’t think that he was fit to be president, and they were going to do everything within their power to exonerate Hillary Clinton, and if she lost to frame Donald Trump with a false crime, because they didn’t think he should be president.”
This is in line with the defense Trump has been touting in tweets over the weekend, when for the first time he disregarded his current lawyer’s advice and began calling out Mueller by name. Here is one from yesterday:
A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 19, 2018
Here’s what Trump tweeted on Sunday:
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018
While Trump’s present attornies have danced around this FBI conspiracy theory, in diGenova Trump has someone who despite a lack of evidence speaks with great authority about this secret campaign to destroy the president.
After calling for another Special Counsel to be appointed in his January remarks on Fox to investigate the FBI, diGenova again stated his unshakable conspiracy theory:
“Make no mistake about it,” said diGenova, in what is music to Trump’s ears, “a group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime.”
According to the New York Times, diGenova is not expected to take a lead role among Trump’s current team of lawyers but “will instead serve as a more aggressive player on the president’s legal team.”
This comes days after Trump broke with his own legal team and began tweeting about Mueller, and then denied he had ordered his attorney John Dowd to call on the Justice Department to wrap up the Special Counsel’s investigation.
“Mr. Dowd said at the time that he was speaking for the president but later backtracked,” reported the NY Times.
“According to two people briefed on the matter,” continued the NY Times, “he was, in fact, acting at the president’s urging to call for an end to the inquiry.”
diGenova is known in Washington, not just as a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, but for his role as an independent counsel in an investigation of government waste, fraud and abuse during a criminal inquiry into whether the George H.W. Bush administration broke the law while seeking damaging information about then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton.
diGenova currently is in a law partnership with his wife, Victoria Toensing, whose clients have included former Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and Erik Prince, the controversial founder of the war-crime committing Blackwater private military contractor company, who has acted as an informal adviser to Trump.
Prince is currently under scrutiny from Mueller because he was one of those who attended a meeting in January 2017 in the Seychelles islands with Russians that may be tied to the suggestion the Trump campaign is guilty of collusion.
Toensing, a former prosecutor, and diGenova have a reputation in Washington as loving publicity and often appear on talk shows, together or separately.
They have commented from a Republican, conservative point of view for years on a long string of topics but most notably was a constant TV presence, and even acted as a secret source for newspapers, when then-President Clinton was being publically attacked for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
In a 1998 Washington Post profile by then-staff writer Howard Kurtz (now on Fox News), the legal power couple was described as “popping up wherever there is trouble — as commentators, as investigators, as unnamed sources for reporters.”
“The two law partners not only talk about the Monica Lewinsky investigation — they’ve been quoted or on the tube more than 300 times in the month since the story broke — but have been drawn into the vortex,” reported the 1998 Washington Post article.
“Toensing was approached by an intermediary for a Secret Service agent who had supposedly seen something untoward involving President Clinton and the former intern,” continued the article. “DiGenova was at the heart of a quickly retracted Dallas Morning News account of that matter.”
The profile continued: “What’s more, diGenova took to the airwaves Sunday to charge — based on nothing more than one reporter’s inquiry — that private investigators “with links to the White House” were digging up “dirt” on him and his wife.”
So diGenova and his wife have a long history of disliking, attacking and looking for conspiracy theories about the Clinton’s, which plays right into Trump’s paranoia.
Increasingly Trump is moving away from surrounding himself with experts to wanting those who agree with him to confirm his views, as is the case with the firing of Gary Cohen as his economic adviser and the hiring of TV talking head Larry Kudlow.
Now diGenova will be there to agree with Trump that he is the victim of a massive conspiracy that includes everyone from the hard working, long admired agents of the FBI to Democrats to members of his own party who do not agree with all his views.
In diGenova, he gets a bulldog who has proven he knows how to go on TV talk shows, look straight into the camera, and say whatever provocative thing fires up the same people who elected Trump president.
The president who lies now has a new lawyer who likes to twist the truth, which shows the new direction the president’s defense will take as they brush aside reality and go all in on the conspiracy theory that Trump is a somehow the real victim in this mess.