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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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George Conway reveals Trump is being shunned by law firms because young lawyers ‘want nothing to do with him’

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Conservative attorney George Conway asserted in a column over the weekend that President Donald Trump's history of mistreating law firms is catching up with him.

In a Sunday op-ed for The Washington Post, Conway explains that Trump is now faced with sparse choices for legal representation in his impeachment trial after years of not paying attorneys and generally being a bad client.

Pointing to Trump's choice of Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, Conway writes:

?The president has consistently encountered difficulty in hiring good lawyers to defend him. In 2017, after Robert S. Mueller III became special counsel, Trump couldn’t find a high-end law firm that would take him as a client. His reputation for nonpayment preceded him: One major Manhattan firm I know had once been forced to eat bills for millions in bond work it once did for Trump. No doubt other members of the legal community knew of other examples.

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Texas GOPer Cornyn blames Trump’s problems on campaign ‘grifters’ — then calls Giuliani ‘not relevant’

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Appearing on CBS's “Face the Nation," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) attempted to blame Donald Trump's impeachment problems on "grifters" who found a way to attach themselves to the now-president when he began to run for president.

Speaking with host Margaret Brennan, Cornyn was asked about allegations made by Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas that have implicated not only the president but Vice President Mike Pence and senior White House officials in an attempt to strongarm the leaders of Ukraine in return for military aid.

"Doesn't it trouble you that [Parnas] was working so closely with Rudy Giuliani, who was acting on the president's behalf and saying he was acting on the president's behalf?" host Brennan asked. "

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‘No sound basis’: Georgetown law professor explains why Alan Dershowitz will crumble under Senate questioning

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Georgetown law professor John Mikhail suggested on Sunday that the portion of President Donald Trump's defense which is being covered by Alan Dershowitz to fail because it has "no sound basis" in history and law.

"There is no sound basis for Alan Dershowitz to claim that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. In addition to being at odds with common sense, this claim is contradicted by a clear and consistent body of historical evidence," Mikhail stated.

The law professor cited the impeachment of Warren Hastings in the 1780s.

"Some of the best evidence comes from the case of Warren Hastings, which informed the drafting Art. II, Sec 4," Mikhail wrote. "The fact that he was not guilty of treason, but still deserved to be impeached, was a major reason 'other high crimes and misdemeanors' was added to the Constitution."

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