Moments after it was reported that President Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz is going to file a complaint against former FBI Director James Comey, Norm Eisen of CREW announced, “This is an abuse of process and we will be filing a defense of Comey.”
The co-founder CREW and former Obama ethics czar further alerted the DC bumbling Kasowitz, “Beware: there are serious consequences for abuse of process.”
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) June 9, 2017
It’s about those memos. Trump thinks that Comey shouldn’t be allowed to share his own memos with the press.
“The complaint will focus on Comey’s testimony that he gave a friend the content of memos about his conversations with Trump and asked the friend to then give that information to a reporter. Comey said Friday that he gave the friend — later identified as Daniel Richman, a longtime Comey confidante and Columbia University professor — the information after Trump tweeted that he may have tapes of his conversations with the fired FBI director,” CNN reported.
But many legal experts have pointed out that there is no violation of DOJ rules in Comey’s sharing of his memos and there was no attorney-client privilege, “No violation of DOJ rules in him sharing convo, & Comey wasn’t acting as an attorney, so no atty-client privilege,” MSNBC justice and security expert Matthew Miller wrote.
Frivolous distraction. No violation of DOJ rules in him sharing convo, & Comey wasn't acting as an attorney, so no atty-client privilege. https://t.co/RLZbFwYpLv
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) June 9, 2017
Eisen waved the caution flag:
.@marckasowitz be v careful in using scorched earth litigating style of private law practice (I did it 2 at times, proudly), dangerous here
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) June 9, 2017
Another problem with Trump’s suit is that Comey is a private citizen now, thanks to… Trump’s temper and bad judgment.
Comey can share his memos with whomever he pleases. They do not include classified information and Trump has denied that the conversations took place, so how can he claim they were privileged. But even if that’s his stance, he didn’t exert executive privilege, and Trump himself forced Comey to share his memos after Trump “defamed” Comey in public.
Trump can’t bring things up on Twitter, accusing people of lying or other nefarious deeds, and then demand that they be silent about the same issue. The President is not a King.
“Knives are already out for Kasowitz,” Glenn Thrush wrote above an article he and Maggie Haberman published in the New York Times, “For their part, many of Mr. Trump’s aides were less than impressed by the public performance of Mr. Kasowitz, a lawyer based in New York who has earned the president’s respect and, for the moment, his situational obedience. A hastily drafted initial statement to the news media contained typos — ‘president’ was misspelled — and he delivered it in a harried monotone, staring down at his text, to reporters gathered at the National Press Club.”
Also from that piece, we got the reminder that this President is just not right, “The idea: Keep Mr. Trump occupied, even-keeled and away from Twitter.”
Kasowitz is out of his element; his statement was full of typos and worse than that, it was based a huge accusation on an incorrect understanding of the facts. Julie Davis, who covers the White House for the New York Times, corrected Kasowitz, “Kasowitz is mistaken re NYT stories on Comey memos. We never quoted memos prior to Trump’s 5/12 tweet re tapes; 1st story doing so was 5/16.”
This means that it was the President himself who introduced the topic, and thus he can’t expect Comey’s silence. Trump had also fired Comey, so Comey was a private citizen when he shared his memos.
As we pointed out yesterday in the Politicus Podcast, Kasowitz denied Comey’s damning allegations, claiming Trump never asked for loyalty. See that big pothole? Yeah, Trump just tripped and fell into it:
This is the kind of mistake people like Trump make in DC. Trump isn’t stupid; he’s inept in DC because his mob style of “winning” through threats, bullying, force, money and arrogance alone doesn’t work in DC. A person has to at least understand the world before they can conquer it.
But what has Trump done with this lawsuit? He’s officially declared war on the FBI. Like an idiot who still thinks he’s in control and still thinks the real problem is he’s not leaning on people hard enough.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.