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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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2020 Election

‘Trump surrenders to the virus’: White House ripped for new ‘learn to live with it’ message on COVID-19

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President Donald Trump's administration was harshly criticized on Friday after a new report from NBC News.

"After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it," reported Carol Lee, Kristen Welker and Monica Alba.

"Administration officials are planning to intensify what they hope is a sharper, and less conflicting, message of the pandemic next week, according to senior administration officials, after struggling to offer clear directives amid a crippling surge in cases across the country. On Thursday, the United States reported more than 55,000 new cases of coronavirus and infection rates were hitting new records in multiple states," NBC News reported.

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Will Michael Cohen be sent back to prison after being photographed at fancy NYC restaurant?

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Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who is currently furloughed from his prison sentence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was reportedly photographed at a fancy restaurant in Manhattan.

"Michael Cohen could soon be back to chowing down in a prison cafeteria," the NY Post reported Friday. "The recently sprung jailbird was caught by The Post dining out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — and the meal may cost him his freedom, legal experts said Friday."

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Alan Dershowitz trends nationwide with harsh criticism for ‘defending Ghislaine Maxwell’

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Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz was roasted on Friday after writing a column the day after the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell.

The article, published by the right-wing website Spectator USA, was titled, "The Ghislaine Maxwell I know."

The Daily Beast characterized the column as "an impassioned defense of the British socialite that seemed to suggest he’s rooting for her."

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