Trump's new conspiracy-theory lawyer fits right in

In the space of a day, President Donald Trump's legal troubles have taken a series of hairpin turns for the worse....

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 12:38 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 12:38 PM

In the space of a day, President Donald Trump's legal troubles have taken a series of hairpin turns for the worse.

A New York judge ruled that Summer Zervos, who accused Trump of sexual harassment, can proceed with defamation claims against him.

With her lawyer revealing a photo of her passing a lie detector test of her claims years ago, adult film star Stormy Daniels is pressing her demand to be freed to tell her story of an affair with him.

And former Playboy model Karen McDougal who also alleges an affair with Trump, is suing the company that owns the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., which allegedly bought her story so it could kill it. She too wants to be released from an agreement mandating her silence.

There's more: Special counsel Robert Mueller has demanded documents from Trump's businesses, and superstar lawyer -- and former solicitor general -- Theodore Olson turned away the notion that he would join the President's legal team. Sources familiar with the matter had told CNN the team was interested in adding Olson.

Into this fray comes Joseph diGenova, who a hemmed-in Trump has added to the crowd of lawyers helping him deal with Mueller's probe of Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election. In hiring diGenova, Trump is staying true to the style that has landed him in this mess - all of it.

DiGenova's new role signals that Trump wants more help making the specious public argument that he is a victim of the so-called "deep state," which, by his lights, includes many at the Federal Bureau of Investigation - which, in turn, he says is out to get him.

Having assumed office with only an electoral college majority -- and amid Russian interference- Trump became President under a cloud of controversy that threatened his legitimacy from the start. It is easy to see where diGenova will find common cause with the President.

A former prosecutor who made the leap to conservative pundit 30 years ago, diGenova has reliably sputtered about this supposed conspiracy against Trump all over right wing media. Among his recent claims on Fox News:

"There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn't win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime."

"It wasn't the Russians who corrupted the presidential election; it was the American officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI."

"We are headed toward a very sad ending for the FBI and senior DOJ officials. ... I believe that several high FBI officials will be charged criminally. And it is conceivable that some DOJ people will also be charged criminally. ... I would consider this the largest law enforcement scandal in history for this reason.

These performances, tuned to Trump's ear, no doubt made diGenova a go-to guy for the frustrated President. Decades past his service in 1997 as a special counsel in a case against a labor union, diGenova could not be expected to offer much lawyering that couldn't be done by the attorneys already at work. However, he can make a public case for his client, and his long record of commentary surely fits Trump's ideal for this duty.

In January 2016, long before anyone linked the Trump campaign and Russia, diGenova was advocating for Trump and against his likely opponent. In his telling, the FBI was reaching "critical mass" in its investigation of Clinton's emails and he declared she would be "charged with a crime" and be unable to run for president. She never was charged.

Earlier, diGenova was a gadfly participant in the effort to create a scandal over then-Secretary of State Clinton's handling of the attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Years of investigation confirmed no scandal.

In fact, diGenova's record of loose talk and as a conspiracy theory con man appear to be his main qualifications for an appointment to the Trump team. Trump, who tried to con America into believing, among other things, that Barack Obama was born abroad, likes to hire in his own image. Thus he has surrounded himself with cons, bullies and grifters whom others would find underqualified.

A few examples: Last week chief of staff John Kelly demonstrated a very Trump-like appetite for bullying when he told the press corps that he and not the President informed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he was being fired. For good measure Kelly revealed that Tillerson, having fallen ill during a mission abroad, was on the toilet when he received the news.

Not to be outdone in the practice of humiliation, on the day when Kelly told his Tillerson-on-the-toilet tale, Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to fire career FBI man Andrew McCabe just before he could qualify for his full federal pension. McCabe was a key ally of former bureau Director James Comey, whom Trump himself fired over the Russia probe. The excuse offered for the McCabe dismissal was a currently secret report indicating that McCabe had not been forthcoming about his involvement in giving the press information on the FBI's investigation of Clinton.

Coming from Sessions, who repeatedly misled Congress on his own contacts with Russia, the firing seems more like brutality exercised to make a point with Trump, Sessions' boss. Of course, Sessions had previously established his penchant for cruelty with his appetite for anti-immigrant obsession and his desire to reinstate lengthy mandatory sentencing policies that fall disproportionately on the poor and minorities.

Compared with the bullies, the grifters in the Trump administration seem less unpleasant, but their transgressions are no less outrageous. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price indulged in $400,000 worth of travel in private aircraft before he quit after less than a year of service.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had spent $800,000 on just seven flights, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke paid $53,000 on just three helicopter flights, including one taken so he could ride a horse with Vice President Mike Pence.

When it comes to American values, Trump has led the descent of his government with authoritarian-style doublespeak claims that would have us accept that the firing of McCabe marked a "great day for democracy." His denunciations of the women alleging affairs with him, and his refusal to accept his lawyers' cautions mark Trump as the model of a leader out of his depth.

We will see how well he is served by his decision-making as multiple controversies unspool inside the legal system. And we will see how well served Trump is by his newest lawyer, who will be right at home with the bullies, the grifters and the cons that this President has drawn to his side.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 74°
Kokomo
Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 74°
Rensselaer
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Williamsport
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 70°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 70°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 70°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 70°
Summer returns for the weekend.
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 777417

Reported Deaths: 14039
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1068671818
Lake573071031
Allen43592701
Hamilton37697427
St. Joseph37547568
Elkhart29916472
Tippecanoe23779232
Vanderburgh23714405
Porter19712327
Johnson19067395
Hendricks18320323
Clark13789199
Madison13751350
Vigo12980256
Monroe12717180
LaPorte12655225
Delaware11240198
Howard10874237
Kosciusko9860124
Hancock8896151
Bartholomew8361157
Warrick8257157
Floyd8161183
Grant7478181
Boone7317105
Wayne7281201
Morgan7004143
Marshall6381117
Dubois6346118
Cass6136112
Noble608391
Dearborn607878
Henry6015111
Jackson522077
Shelby518498
Lawrence5046129
Gibson473797
Montgomery465592
Clinton464356
DeKalb463985
Harrison460177
Huntington431582
Whitley422545
Steuben415961
Miami412673
Jasper404657
Knox398391
Putnam390262
Wabash374284
Adams360356
Ripley355571
Jefferson354587
White342654
Daviess3119101
Wells306681
Greene299485
Decatur294793
Posey289635
Fayette288164
Scott287658
LaGrange279173
Clay278649
Washington258138
Randolph248784
Jennings245049
Spencer241531
Fountain239350
Starke232159
Owen227359
Sullivan225143
Fulton211146
Jay204332
Carroll201023
Orange194956
Perry194939
Vermillion183944
Rush179427
Tipton174748
Franklin174535
Parke159116
Pike143934
Blackford139032
Pulaski125148
Newton124337
Benton111215
Crawford106817
Brown106743
Martin92715
Warren89115
Switzerland8658
Union73910
Ohio59011
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events