In a Washington Post op-ed, George Conway says we should be thankful for Trump’s legal team for holding the former guy back from accomplishing his attempted self-coup.
No matter how many cultists Trump developed, he still needed some serious members of the law on his side.
Now we are learning about how many lawyers stood in his way, and how enraged he became from an upcoming book by ABC News correspondent Jonathon Karl.
Bill Barr at the Justice Department “realized from the beginning it was just bullshit.” And he explained to Trump himself just that as he told him “your people keep on shoveling this s— out.”
Conway makes no excuses for Barr’s previous lapses of judgement in kissing the ring of Trump and the “politicization” of the DOJ, and points out McConnell’s fear of Trump losing the GOP control of the Senate in the election.
But make no mistake: Barr, in Karl’s telling, did the right thing by refusing to treat Trump’s fraud claims as anything other than what he believed them to be: factual and legal manure.
Conway also mentions Barr’s successor, then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, and gives accolades for finding the spine to stand up to Trump’s demands to overturn the election.
Rosen did that despite knowing that the president might replace him with Jeffrey Clark, an official who was apparently eager to do Trump’s bidding. The remaining members of the Justice Department’s senior leadership likewise stood firm. They entered into a bureaucratic suicide pact by which they would all resign if Rosen were fired.
Not attempting to destroy constitutional democracy would seem to be a low standard for members of the bar. And it is. But the importance of these lawyers’ refusals to behave lawlessly in the waning days of Trump’s presidency can’t be overstated.
Conway also credits Trump-appointed justices, who dealt devastating blows to Trump’s charade around the country.
And because there were decent human beings in lawyer suits, Trump was left with the clown show led by Giuliani, who received his just rewards of a suspended license to practice law because he had undermined “the profession’s role as a crucial source of reliable information.”
According to Conway, Americans should be grateful there were more Rosens than Giulianis. And Barr deserves some credit as well.
And for that, in the end, we owe the essential culture of America’s legal profession. As exemplified by the decision suspending Giuliani, that culture, at its best, seeks to vindicate factual truth and the rule of law — values entirely anathematic to Trump. Which is why the lawyers could never really be on his side.