The pattern of “shockingly bad lawyering” by President Donald Trump’s team of attorneys has left the administration “in a world of legal hurt,” Lawfare editor-in-chief Ben Wittes explained to MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Monday.
The anchor noted that public claims by Trump’s attorney’s “seem to be in direct conflict” by the president’s actions towards special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations.
Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, highlighted two big problems for the administration that were revealed through the conflicting motivations.
“I think the first problem is that, you know, people like you do not take him at his word when he tweets ‘no collusion and witch hunt.’ He finds that very frustrating,” Wittes observed.
“And the second problem is that, you know, when he tries to cooperate because he thinks he has nothing to hide, what happens is that the people around him tell the prosecutors about his behavior, which isn’t necessarily exculpatory talk, he continued. “And when when he gets upset and tries to sort of thrash back, he ends up exacerbating that with public conduct and private conduct that those people are then witnesses to.”
“And so he gets angry at Mueller and he tries to fire Mueller, who does the instruction go to? It goes to Don McGahn, who is then cooperating with Mueller himself,” Wittes explained.
“Look, the basic problem is that he’s in a world of legal hurt,” he concluded. “He is surrounded by lawyers who are not competent.”
“If you look at the broader pattern that led to McGahn’s disclosure to Mueller that The New York Times reported over the weekend, it’s shockingly bad lawyering over a long period of time,” he added.