Donald Trump's dwindling roster of attorneys willing to talk to him may have led to a situation that requires AG nominee Bill Barr recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
December 9, 2018

The only revolving door busier than the one in the White House is in the law offices representing Donald Trump personally. It's hard to keep attorneys when you constantly act in bad faith, lie to everyone (including your lawyers) repeatedly and invariably give more fodder to the Special Counsel's Office via rage tweets.

The number of attorneys willing to meet with Donald Trump is a fairly small one to begin with. And as his administration gets dragged down by more and more scandals and potential criminality, that list gets ever smaller. It means that the stable genius has little choice than to rely on this kind of legal acumen.

That tweet isn't going to age well.

So faced with mounting legal troubles, it's really not a surprise that the whole way Trump became acquainted with former Bush AG Bill Barr was when he offered him a position on his personal legal team after Barr published a couple of articles defending the expansive powers of the presidency.

Barr declined the position at the time. But it's not a far stretch to imagine that Trump discussed possible legal defenses with him against the Mueller investigation.

And therein lies the problem. Does Barr's foreknowledge of Trump's defense and attitude towards the Mueller investigation constitute a conflict that necessitates his recusal from overseeing Mueller?

Journalist Michael Isikoff seems to think it may, based on his new podcast, "Skullduggery":

The talk among Trump and his top advisers about hiring Barr as chief defense lawyer did not stop there. It arose again this year after the departure of John Dowd, Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation, and continued until the summer, when the president found another candidate far more eager for the job: Rudy Giuliani. But now in a twist few could have anticipated, Trump has tapped Barr for an even more important position: attorney general, a post that, if he is confirmed, would put him in charge of the Mueller investigation.

The decision to nominate Barr has won applause by many of his former colleagues, who praise him as a savvy Washington veteran with expansive, hard-edged views about executive power, but who at the same time is steeped in the culture of the Justice Department and its tradition of fiercely resisting improper influences on pending prosecutions.

But Barr’s nomination has also raised potentially thorny political questions about how independent he would be in overseeing the Russia probe and whether his previously expressed views defending the president — and criticizing some aspects of the Mueller investigation — could potentially compromise his leadership.

Others are suggesting that the proper thing for Barr to do is to recuse as well.

One calculus Barr should be making right now is whether the amount of Twitter abuse he'll be subjected to by Trump if forced to recuse is worth it. My money is on Barr finding some way to rationalize not recusing and Mueller coming out with his findings before Barr can pass his confirmation hearings.

You can hear the entire episode of Skullduggery here.

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