Trump Hires Conspiracy-Theory Lawyer

Joseph E. diGenova has touted the theory that rogue FBI elements have tried to frame Trump in the Russia probe.

Via the NYT:  Trump Hires Lawyer Who Has Pushed Theory That Justice Dept. Framed the President.

President Trump hired the longtime Washington lawyer Joseph E. diGenova on Monday, adding an aggressive voice to his legal team who has pushed the theory on television that the F.B.I. and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump.

Mr. diGenova, a former United States attorney, is not expected to take a lead role. But he will serve as an outspoken player for the president as Mr. Trump has increased his attacks on the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Trump broke over the weekend from the longstanding advice of some of his lawyers that he refrain from directly criticizing Mr. Mueller, a sign of his growing unease with the investigation.

“Former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Joe DiGenova will be joining our legal team later this week,” said Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s personal lawyers. “I have worked with Joe for many years and have full confidence that he will be a great asset in our representation of the President.”

Mr. diGenova has endorsed the notion that a secretive group of F.B.I. agents concocted the Russia investigation as a way to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president. “There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” he said on Fox News in January. He added, “Make no mistake about it: A group of F.B.I. and D.O.J. people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime.”

While I believe that Mr. Trump has every right to a rigorous defense, hiring someone with these types of views is further proof that Trump does not take his office seriously and does not care about American democracy.  All promoting conspiracy theories will do is further undermine trust in basic law enforcement.

Further, I would note, that someone who had the appearance of innocence would not want to promote the notion that they were framed.  The only utility of claiming “I was framed” is if one knows they look guilty.

And yes:  I understand that if someone was framed that they would be entitled to defend themselves on that basis.  However, at this point promoting such a theory looks desperate (and guilty). As the story notes

Little evidence has emerged to support that theory.

And that strikes me as an overly generous evaluation of the evidence.

This hire also fits the pattern that suggest Trump’s understanding of the world is shaped by cable TV.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Of course Trump hired diGenova. DiGenova will tell Trump exactly what Trump wants to hear. And, more importantly, he’ll go on all “the shows” that will have him as a guest and babble endlessly about this conspiracy, which will send Trump into ecstasies.




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  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Mr. diGenova has endorsed the notion that a secretive group of F.B.I. agents concocted the Russia investigation as a way to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president.

    Maybe he is a long lost cousin to that kill-joy Jim Garrison.

    In 1961 he ran for District Attorney of Orleans Parish winning against incumbent Richard Dowling by 6,000 votes in a five-man Democratic primary…Once in office, Garrison cracked down on prostitution and the abuses of Bourbon Street bars and strip joints…Garrison received national attention for a series of vice raids in the French Quarter, staged sometimes on a nightly basis.
    As New Orleans D.A., Garrison began an investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in late 1966,..The end result of Garrison’s investigation was the arrest and trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw in 1969, with Shaw being unanimously acquitted less than one hour after the case went to the jury…Garrison blames the conspiracy to kill the president firmly on the CIA who wanted to continue the Cold War.




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  3. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..which will send Trump into ecstasies.

    That’s not an image I care to ponder.




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  4. MBunge says:

    It’s a little awkward to bring this up because this appears to have declared a taboo subject around here, but do you realize there’s probably more evidence for an FBI/DOJ conspiracy against Trump than there is for Trump colluding with Russia? That’s because very little is a lot more than none. I’m pretty sure diGenova at least could spin a conspiracy theory that included specific people doing specific things in a specific timeline, which is more than anyone can do with “Collusion!” even after over a year of trying.

    Mike




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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: Please remove your tinfoil hat.




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  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    do you realize there’s probably more evidence for an FBI/DOJ conspiracy against Trump than there is for Trump colluding with Russia? That’s because very little is a lot more than none.

    First – Muellers charge to investigate is not just co-called collusion.
    Second – Mueller has already produced something like 5 guilty pleas and 14 or 15 indictments. And he hasn’t even really gotten to the inner circle yet.
    I know you are a sad little Donny Dennison sycophant, but that’s not nothing.




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  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    @MBunge:

    but do you realize there’s probably more evidence for an FBI/DOJ conspiracy against Trump than there is for Trump colluding with Russia? That’s because very little is a lot more than none.

    How about this. You lay out all of the evidence you can think of that shows there is an FBI/DOJ conspiracy. We will then lay out all the evidence we have for Trump colluding with Russia. Let’s just see who has more evidence.

    I know, I know–that would mean you would have to back up one of your claims, instead of scurrying away as soon as you are challenged, as is your modus operandi. But this is a serious offer. Put up or shut up. Show us yours, and we’ll show you ours.




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  8. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Moderator…why did my comment disappear?




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  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Now it’s back…this is just weird…




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  10. Mike in Arlington says:

    @MBunge:
    You can’t have it both ways. If trump is the victim of a vast conspiracy by the FBI and DOJ, then you’re also admitting that he at least looks guilty to you. If he at least looks guilty, then there can’t be “more evidence for an FBI/DOJ conspiracy against Trump”, at least not at this point.

    If you don’t think he’s guilty, then there’s no need to argue that he was framed because you can’t be framed of NOT committing a crime.




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  11. KM says:

    The only utility of claiming “I was framed” is if one knows they look guilty.

    Yep. The innocent can be framed of course but they will loudly keep protesting their innocence overall since it is in fact the truth. “I’m innocent!” only works if people will believe it; once the switch to “framed” happens, you can see the implicit admittance that maybe they aren’t squeaky clean. Furthermore, one must be likely to have committed said crime for a frame-up to work – you can easily frame a mob boss for murder but it’s lot harder to buy it about the local nun. diGenova’s admitting Trump’s the kind of guy who would do this or nobody’d ever believe the frame.

    That Trump and Co are trying to make the FBI the bad guys is them tapping into the deep well of anti-Fed paranoia that runs in alt-right circles. Them black helicopters are coming to get ya, the G-Men are always out to screw the little guy, etc. People like Bunge eat it up because they’re pre-disposed to distrust the FBI as an agent of evil in their worldview rather then a force for good. It’s really easy for them to accept poor widdle Donald being attacked by those faceless Deep State feebs because “he’s like them!!!!” then to recognize he’s playing off their bias.




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  12. Charon says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    How about this. You lay out all of the evidence you can think of that shows there is an FBI/DOJ conspiracy. We will then lay out all the evidence we have for Trump colluding with Russia. Let’s just see who has more evidence.

    It isn’t just Trumps, lots of GOP players are taking Russian money …

    .. .
    .. https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/12/15/putins-proxies-helped-funnel-millions-gop-campaigns ..
    .




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  13. al-Ameda says:

    Joe DiGenova will play extremely well among alt.fact FoxNews Trump base voters (99.9%). Those folks are already all-in on the Deep State bullsh**

    DiGenova’s presence ensures that Trump support will be there even if investigations produce video-audio footage of Trump accepting bribes from Russian officials, and having sex with Julian Assange. Base support will assert that this is a Deep State sting operation.




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  14. restlessness says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know – is it tinfoil hat territory when you have lots of company?

    Referenced in the Washington Post, a Monmouth poll

    “The Monmouth University Poll also finds a large bipartisan majority who feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials.”

    This dovetails with the thing Trump does best – stoking fear. And since the GOP just follows him, where will we end up? Destroying ourselves through fear of ourselves?




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  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @restlessness:

    is it tinfoil hat territory when you have lots of company?

    I saw this. This, I think, is one of the biggest dangers of Fox News and their progeny – President Dennison. The entire Republican party seems to have rejected facts and evidence and science for paranoid emotion. (you cannot reason with people whose opinions are based solely on emotion, eg Bunge) The Russian/Cambridge Analytic propaganda efforts were directed square at peoples emotions.
    How in the world do we survive, as a people or a Republic, if we cannot accept simple facts whenever they go against our tribe? We live in dangerous times…and President Dennison is making it far worse, not better.




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  16. KM says:

    @restlessness :

    This dovetails with the thing Trump does best – stoking fear. And since the GOP just follows him, where will we end up? Destroying ourselves through fear of ourselves?

    To be fair, the GOP’s business model is stoking fear so they are just following someone they’re perceive to be a master of the craft. The alt-right’s believed in a “Deep State” for a very, very long time – this is just new terminology for the same black helicopter, gun-grabbing, Jade Helm pushing One World Order crap with a Trump-specific focus. They’ve always believed the federal government was the devil since that’s how Saint Ronnie was able to con them with his famous BS about “the Nine Most Terrifying Words”.

    All Trump’s really done is step the audacity to 11 and make it all about him. So par for the course, really.




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  17. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Hahahahahahaha…you’ve descended fully into unintentional self-parody.




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  18. restlessness says:

    @KM: Yes, it’s been going on for decades – and Alex Jones et al make a living off of it – but what gave me pause was the commentary in the Washington Post article

    “The numbers are significantly higher than there were a year ago in a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Back then, 48 percent believed there was a “deep state,” while 35 percent dismissed it as a conspiracy theory.”

    (link, but I subscribe so it might be behind a paywall)

    Two different polls, so somewhat apple and oranges, but the implication is that Trump has normalize conspiracy thinking. As @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: asks, how do we, as a nation, dial this back?




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  19. CSK says:

    @restlessness:

    You don’t dial it back, at least not as long as there’s an Internet infested with paranoid conspiracy websites.




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  20. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins are thrilled with diGenova. They are, however, extremely unhappy at reports that Trump may also hire Theodore Olson.




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  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Here’s a shocker…Bunge hasn’t responded to the 5 comments responding to his ridiculous claim. Seems he has all the spine of a Paul Ryan, or a Donny Dennison.




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  22. Mike in Arlington says:

    @CSK: Do you think Olson would accept Trump as a client? It seems like a lot of work and heartburn for a paycheck.




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  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    Trump may also hire Theodore Olson.

    wait…is Ted Olsen working on the Russian collusion defense, or the Stormy Daniels case?




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  24. Mikey says:

    @CSK: @Mike in Arlington: Gibson Dunn partner Ted Boutrous tweeted:

    Ted Boutrous @BoutrousTed

    I can confirm that @gibsondunn and Theodore B. Olson will not be representing @realDonaldTrump

    https://twitter.com/BoutrousTed/status/976142612183662592




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  25. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Mikey: I don’t agree with Ted Olsen much, but I have to say this is probably the right decision. I mean, if his current counsel are disclosing materials to try to avoid having Trump testify about it b/c they’re too afraid of him perjuring himself, then that just sounds like a nightmare of a client. It’s not like he needs the cash.




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  26. CSK says:
  27. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Mikey:
    @CSK:
    Trump:

    “Everybody wants to work in the White House…They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of, it looks great on their resume — it’s just a great place to work.”

    Well…except one of the GOP’s legal superstars.




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  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    McCain on President Dennison congratulating Putin for stuffing the ballot box…

    “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections…and by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”




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  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Here’s a shocker… hasn’t responded to the 5 comments

    You guys are acting like he’s the evil super computer robot from a 1960’s Star Trek knockoff, and all you have to do is present him with his obvious contradictions and then his head starts spinning and smoke comes out of his dome until finally his breaking voice gradually fades away, “That does not compute! That does … not … compute… That … does … not……”. Alas, it’s not so easy.




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  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MarkedMan:
    That’s exactly what happens…then his OS reboots overnight and the idiocy begins anew.




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  31. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, Preet Bahara recently commented that he has talked to well known Republican colleagues who have been approached to join Trump’s team, and they have all turned him down, exactly for the reasons outlined above – he doesn’t follow attorney advice, he makes frequent incriminating statements, etc.




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  32. the Q says:

    So, when will we start hearing from DiGenova, “if the collusion don’t fit, you must acquit”….

    Trump is going the OJ/Cochran route of putting on trial the LAP…er FBI as a bunch of corrupt framers (Mueller/Lange, Vanatter, Fung) out to get him since they all love (Nicole/Hillary) and are going to destroy him (LAPD/FBI) by engaging in a conspiracy to pin the crime on innocent Donny Dipsh!t

    Donald IS OJ, a narcissistic psychotic lunatic.




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  33. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    If this continues, Trump will end up being represented by a crack team of first year students from a twelfth-tier law school.




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  34. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  35. CSK says:

    From the Like Father, Like Son Department:

    Apparently Donnie Junior had an affair in 2011-2012 with someone called Aubrey O’Day, a singer and contestant on Dad’s reality show. According to the San Jose Mercury-News, Junior was “captivated by her intellect.”




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  36. Mister Bluster says:

    “captivated by her intellect.”

    That happened to me a number of times before I got married!




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  37. Mikey says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    it looks great on their resume

    Yeah…about that…

    According to the staffers that have been attempting to leave the Trump Administration for several weeks now, they can’t find jobs anywhere because nobody, including the think tanks and lobbying firms there in Washington, D.C., want to hire Trump staffers.




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