After just recently sending the President’s “appreciation and greetings” and triggering new allegations of criminal acts, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, is now denouncing Mueller for the pre-dawn raid on the Alexandria home of former campaign manager Paul Manafort. I have commented that the raid seemed intentionally heavy handed and meant to convey a message to Manafort. However, I fail to see why the President’s counsel (rather than Manafort’s counsel) should be making such objections. It, once again, removes any perceived separation between President Trump and obvious targets like Manafort.
In an email sent to the Wall Street Journal, Doud questioned the validity of the search warrant itself, calling it an “extraordinary invasion of privacy.” Dowd noted that the Special Counsel never demanded the materials before the raid and that Manafort was cooperating with congressional investigators. Dowd objected that “These failures by Special Counsel to exhaust less intrusive methods is a fatal flaw in the warrant process and would call for a Motion to Suppress the fruits of the search.” The concern about exhausting less intrusive means is a valid one but that does not make Dowd the appropriate vehicle for such objections. While this may have been sent at the encouragement of the President (who continues to resist advice about separating himself from this investigation), it only undermines the President’s position in the investigation.
Both the President and his counsel need to consider the perils in removing the crush space between him and his former aides as this case moves into the grand jury stage. These cathartic statements may be satisfying in the short term but they could pose serious long-term political and even legal problems. I do not believe that this evidence would be quashed on these facts and the suggestion of an suppression effort at this stage could not be more damaging to the public position of the President.