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Low-level Trump staffers face $1,500 an hour legal fees in Russia probe

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Amid news that President Donald Trump’s White House aides are under investigation, low-level staffers may have to add high legal costs and loopholes barring them from receiving free counsel to the long list of difficulties brought on by their boss.

POLITICO reported that many lower-level Trump aides under investigation by newly-appointed special counsel Robert Mueller may have difficulty affording the outside legal help they’ll need.

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Staffers of past presidents under investigation have, according to the report, been subject to legal fees that can go as high as hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. White collar lawyers can cost up to $1,500 an hour, and most low-level staffers without personal or familial deep pockets may struggle to pay for lawyers of that caliber.

According to the report, Trump staff under investigation by Mueller will not be able to access White House general counsel, nor are they likely to be reimbursed by the Justice Department, which on occasion reimburses federal employees if their counsel is “in the interest of the United States”.

According to a former Trump campaign aide, staffers should hire attorneys sooner rather than later.

“I do think people should be lawyering up,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, told POLITICO. “Just being on the campaign trail with Flynn you have to lawyer up. The FBI doing its due diligence has to ask you about the contact and what he said to you.”

Due to the nature of the investigation and the ethics laws surrounding it, there are even rules for the type of outside counsel staffers acquire — if they do get legal help from friends or family, they “must detail that help as a gift on their next financial disclosures forms”.

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Even with help paying for fees, the report continues, getting counsel for such major and potentially lengthy investigations will never be cheap.

“Even at sharply discounted rates, and associates doing the work, it’s prohibitively expensive for a normal human being,” Norm Eisen, former chief ethics lawyer in President Barack Obama’s White House, told POLITICO. “Its financially ruinous. It’s personally devastating.”

Although some believe that Trump should pay for for his subordinates’ legal fees, to do so could constitute a conflict of interest, because, according to the report, “the president would be raising money for a subordinate who’s a witness in a case that could implicate him.”

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“The optics would be terrible,” William Jeffress, a Washington white collar lawyer, told POLITICO. “It appears you’re trying to influence the testimony of employees. It’s just a bad thing to do.”

Read a tweet from CNN reporter Jim Acosta below about a staffer who believes the president should pay for his attorney.

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Arkansas church vows to continue services: ‘Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it’

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An Arkansas church intends to hold church services despite recommendations from state officials to limit gatherings as part of the fight against the coronavirus.

Awaken Church, in Jonesboro, vowed in a Facebook post to continue holding services in defiance of a Health Department directive banning gatherings of 10 or more, and after churches in other parts of the country were the source of community outbreaks, reported Newsweek.

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2020 Election

Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report

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In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.

With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.

"The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago," he wrote before noting the explosion of unemployment claims -- over ten million so far -- that has the country reeling.

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Strong signs that judges will increasingly decide how 2020 elections are run during the coronavirus pandemic

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The jaw-dropping conclusion of a federal court hearing on April 1 about Wisconsin’s statewide elections on April 7 was no April Fools’ joke. U.S. District Judge William Conley said the state’s Democratic governor and Republican-led legislature had failed to put their citizenry’s health first by not postponing the statewide election in a pandemic.

“There’s a hurricane coming!” Conley fumed from the bench, interrupting Douglas M. Poland, a lawyer representing the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and four citizens who sued the state. “You can’t even give me a case where a federal judge stopped a state from stupidly holding an election when most of the voters were not going to go to the polls because there’s a hurricane coming!”

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