Happy New Year everyone! As our regular readers already know, it's that time of year again when we honor some of the worst (and in this case best) people we've covered this past year at C&L.
On our list of good guys this year, Former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter, who has been relentless with his criticism of the Trump administration and his enablers in the Congress.
A regular on MSNBC, Painter recently took the members of Congress helping Trump obstruct justice to task in the video above.
He was equally harsh on Manafort earlier this month: Ethics Expert Weighs In On Manafort's Dealings With Russian Intel: 'Send Him Back To The Slammer!'
Painter didn't mince words while discussing Trump toadie Alan Dershowitz and his race baiting remarks about the grand jury in D.C.
Painter was spot on with his criticism of the Trump clan and their emoluments clause violations during another segment on Joy Reid's show back in June: Ethics Lawyer: We Have To Find Out About Trump's Foreign Money:
"I do think it's premature to say Jared Kushner is guilty of a crime and belongs in jail," he cautioned.
"But it's absolutely critical to find out the facts as to what's going on with respect to foreign government money and other foreign money that's going into the Trump business empire and into the Kushner business empire.
"The Department of Justice is just flat-out wrong in the argument; emoluments (clause) does not permit receiving payments of foreign governments. I'm on the other side of that case with some good lawyers, a great team. We feel very strongly that emoluments clause specifically prohibits any person holding a position of trust with the United States from receiving profits or benefits and dealings," he said. "We need to get to the facts here in this investigation."
Let's hope Mueller is doing exactly that.
Painter was just as blunt during an interview in May, discussing Trump's conduct and the firing of James Comey: Former Bush Ethics Lawyer: 'This Is Treason':
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Richard Painter, former White House ethics counsel, responded to Reid that he would never have authorized a president to usher the attorney general out of the room so the president could have a private conversation with the FBI director investigating his campaign.
"Absolutely not," he said. "This is clear evidence of obstruction of justice."
"Now we hear that administration officials in the transition team were trying to establish secret communication, encrypted communications with the Russians. All I can say is, if President Obama's transition team tried that, President Bush's team would have made sure they got locked up, would have told the president-elect 'pick up your men in Guantanamo on January 20.
"This is treason," he said bluntly.
"It's a violation of federal law for people to be communicating encrypted messages, negotiating with the Russian government before the president takes office. I am amazed anyone on Capitol Hill is tolerating a combination of obstruction of justice, Russian espionage, collaboration with Russian espionage, now violations of the Logan Act. Very serious situation for this administration."
Before Trump was sworn in, Painter was sounding the alarm bells about his emoluments clause violations, and almost a year later, sadly, his enablers in the Congress have done nothing: Chief Ethics Lawyers: Trump Will Be In Violation Of Constitution When He Takes Oath Of Office.
If you don't already follow Painter on Twitter, I'd highly recommend doing so. Here are a few of his latest tweets: