Facing true oversight for the first time since he became president, Trump is lacking lawyers to serve him before investigations begin.
Trump has spent nearly two years in the presidency without any serious congressional oversight, thanks to Republican control of the legislative branch.
Now it looks like Trump is left without enough competent lawyers to represent him and his underlings as they face Democratic control of the House and a government that plans to do its job again.
Politico reports the White House counsel’s office has shrunk to merely 25 lawyers on staff, and is without a permanent leader since attorney Don McGahn left the administration in October.
A former White House official told the outlet, “I don’t think anyone who is paying attention thinks they are prepared for a Democratic takeover.”
Politico notes that some believe the Trump administration needs a staff of 40 to deal with the multiple Democratic investigations set to be launched.
Democrats intend to investigate issues including Russian election interference, corrupt Cabinet officials, and Trump’s intermingling of the presidency with his private business, among other matters.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told the New York Times, “They have turned the government of the United States into a moneymaking operation for the president and his family and close friends. That is the exact opposite of our constitutional design.”
Republicans let these multiple issues fester while they were in control, preferring to prop up Trump’s unpopular presidency in exchange for getting right-wing judges appointed and passing the tax scam.
Even when the party was warned that top officials like Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were conducting government business over private email — a potential violation of the law — they did nothing.
Instead of working for the country, GOP members of Congress played interference on behalf of Trump.
The free flow of business between the Trump presidency and the Trump organization, caused because Trump refused to sell the business or put it into a blind trust, is likely to be investigated.
These investigations could involve his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are currently in charge of the Trump family business even as they campaign for Republican candidates.
In the past, Trump relied on his personal lawyers, like Michael Cohen, to work as a fixer for him so he could avoid trouble (Cohen arranged the hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels).
But Cohen is now just one of many in Trump’s inner circle who have pleaded guilty to crimes and are providing evidence for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations.
Trump’s White House needs legal help, quickly. The entire crisis reveals just how much Republicans gave Trump a pass, and how things are going to change when the new Congress is sworn in.
Published with permission of The American Independent.