Jeff Sessions Lawyers Up

Julia Ainsley at Reuters: U.S. Attorney General Sessions Hires Private Attorney. "U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has become the latest senior Trump administration official to hire a private attorney, a Justice Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Sessions has retained Washington-based lawyer Charles Cooper, whom spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores described as a long-time friend of the former senator."

They're bigot besties, reports RawStory's Bob Brigham: "Chuck Cooper has been criticized for condoning discrimination during his long legal career, from support for Bob Jones' University's ban on interracial dating to supporting job discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Most recently, Cooper had a prominent role pushing legal discrimination against the LGBTQ community during the legal battles over Proposition 8 and marriage equality."

What a cool lawyer with such a cool client.


Sessions is now the fifth high-level member of the Trump administration to secure private counsel for the ongoing Russia probe.

And, despite Donald Trump's caterwauling about "witch hunts" and "fake news," every day continues to yield another story about some peculiar ties to Russian officials, concealed contacts, or perplexing indifference to security against a foreign adversary.

To wit: The latest from Matt Apuzzo, Matthew Rosenberg, and Adam Goldman at the New York Times: Despite Concerns About Blackmail, Flynn Heard C.I.A. Secrets.
Senior officials across the government became convinced in January that the incoming national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had become vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

At the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — agencies responsible for keeping American secrets safe from foreign spies — career officials agreed that Mr. Flynn represented an urgent problem.

Yet nearly every day for three weeks, the new C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, sat in the Oval Office and briefed [Donald] Trump on the nation's most sensitive intelligence — with Mr. Flynn listening. Mr. Pompeo has not said whether C.I.A. officials left him in the dark about their views of Mr. Flynn, but one administration official said Mr. Pompeo did not share any concerns about Mr. Flynn with the president.

The episode highlights a remarkable aspect of Mr. Flynn's tumultuous, 25-day tenure in the White House: He sat atop a national security apparatus that churned ahead despite its own conclusion that he was at risk of being compromised by a hostile foreign power.
Sounds like Mike Pompeo might want to consider being next on the list to lawyer up.

Bob Mueller's got a long list of people and incidents to investigate. I desperately hope that he is taking this investigation seriously and intends to move as swiftly as possible without leaving any stone unturned.

With Congressional Republicans using their investigations to run interference for Trump, and Congressional Democrats — Maude help us! — starting to sound like Trump by calling Russia a "distraction" (et tu, Chris Murphy?!), Mueller's investigation is truly our only hope of getting to bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Which itself is only one part of a vast and complex strategy to destabilize the country.

The election investigation should merely be the starting point. Instead, I fear with each passing day that it will be the endpoint of investigating Russian meddling on many fronts. And then we'll find out in the worst possible way how not a "distraction" defending this nation against a foreign adversary hellbent on chaos is. Or was.

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