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Former White House lawyer warns Trump is ‘laying the groundwork for an attack on the institution of the Supreme Court’

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The former top trial lawyer during the Obama administration unveiled an intriguing — and alarming — theory about President Donald Trump’s latest attacks on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Former acting Solicitor General of the United States Neal Katyal unveiled this theory during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s “11th Hour” with Brian Williams.

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The host played a clip of Trump calling the 9th Circuit “a disgrace” and Chief Justice of the United States snapping back.

Williams put the squabble in the context of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s campaign and administration.

“This back and forth between the titular heads of two of our branches of government comes as the Mueller investigation into this administration is entering, as we like to say, a critical phase,” he noted. “More indictments are expected and there is the possibility that Mueller could subpoena Trump to answer questions related to obstruction.”

“That could spark a giant legal battle that could very well end up, see how this works, before John Roberts and the other eight justices of the Supreme Court,” he added.

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Katyal, a professor of national security law at Georgetown University Law Center, then laid out his theory.

“What I fear is going on, unfortunately, is this is not actually about the 9th Circuit,” Katyal suggested.

Katyal read a 2012 tweet from Trump, noting that “Trump has criticized John Roberts and criticized other judges all the time.”

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“We don’t have a history of a president attacking the motivations of judges, that’s something new and different,” he explained. “And I think what’s going on here is it’s not about the 9th Circuit, it’s really about this president’s modus operandi, which is to criticize any check and balance on him.”

Katyal said, “what I think President Trump is doing right now is laying the groundwork for an attack on the institution of the Supreme Court — an attack on the institution of an independent judiciary.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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