In what appears to be an incredible abuse of power, Trump's personal lawyer Emmet Flood reportedly attended Thursday's classified briefing, where the DOJ presented evidence from its investigation into Trump.
Trump's personal lawyer Emmet Flood was reportedly present for at least part of a classified briefing Thursday during which the Justice Department presented evidence from its investigation into Trump.
Multiple sources reported that Flood attended the classified briefing alongside lawmakers and officials from the DOJ and intelligence agencies.
John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, was reportedly also present at the briefing, which was convened at the behest of Trump and his Republican allies, as part of their ongoing attempt to undermine the Russia probe.
"Emmet Flood, the top White House lawyer for the Russia investigation, was present for classified DOJ briefing for lawmakers about a confidential informant used to contact members of the Trump campaign in the early stages of the investigation," Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus wrote.
Flood was reportedly seen leaving the Department of Justice alongside Trump's congressional allies Reps. Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, and Paul Ryan, as well as Kelly.
A short time later, he was spotted arriving for the second briefing with the Gang of Eight, which was slated to start at 2 p.m..
@tedbarrettcnn spots Flood entering the Senate for the Gang of Eight meeting. The WH attorney dealing with Russia probe attended both briefings today for at least part of the time, despite the WH saying this week no WH official would attend pic.twitter.com/4RUbGg7E6r
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 24, 2018
CNN reporter Elizabeth Sanders said she asked John Kelly why Flood was at the briefings, but got no response.
Regardless of why he was there, his presence is "highly inappropriate," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
As he pointed out, the White House originally said the briefing was convened in response to "congressional requests to the [Justice Department]." However, having Trump's lawyer there suggests that congressional lawmakers weren't the only ones interested in accessing the classified intelligence that was presented at the briefing.
Essentially, Trump's lawyer got a backstage pass to a briefing in which the DOJ presented evidence it has collected on his client.
"Trump is using this briefing as a way to find out what goods the DOJ/Mueller have on him," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) wrote in a tweet.
The alarm over Flood's presence wasn't limited to Democrats. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told "Newshour" reporter Lisa Desjardins that "if the president's lawyer is there, I'd like to know why."
Flood joined Trump's legal team earlier this month, replacing Ty Cobb as the lead counsel representing Trump in the Russia investigation.
At the time, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Flood was "joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt."
She forgot to mention that he would also be joining the White House in its assault on our institutions and the rule of law.