Controversy Erupts With The Intervention Of The President’s Counsel Before Two Highly Classified Briefings

350px-US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svgEmmet Flood, the latest lawyer added to the White House as part of its defense to the Russian investigation, was meant to bring experience and order to the chaotic legal team around President Donald Trump.  However, his first public move can only be described as a blunder of the first order.  Flood went to yesterday’s much discussed briefing to speak with members of Congress. Two highly classified briefings were scheduled to discuss the use of informants by the FBI in its investigation of Trump campaign associates.  It was precisely the type of thoughtless act that has baffled many of us for months.  Little would be achieved by Flood briefly addressing the members but, in appearing, Flood undermined the integrity and stated purpose of the meeting.  He created the impression that the briefing was first and foremost about the defense of the President personally.  In doing so, he undermined the entire exercise with virtually nothing to gain from his attending the meeting.  None of this was criminal or unethical. The concern is that it shows a continued failure to mind critical lines of separation as well as a dumbfounding lack of judgment.

The first meeting included Rep. Trey Gowdy, Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Devin Nunes, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Rod Rosenstein, and Chris Wray.  The second briefing involved the Congressional “Gang of Eight,” the leaders of both parties from both chambers, as well as the heads of the intelligence committees.

When Flood appeared, there were reportedly heated objections that his attendance was entirely inappropriate.  Indeed, it was. It was also another unforced error that should have been avoided.  After correctly calling for greater transparency and an investigation, the White House then stepped on its own message by arranging for a gratuitous appearance of one of the lawyers preparing the President’s defense.

The President was right to call for greater transparency and these briefings are a key step.  However, these critical missteps have got to end if the Administration hopes to bring this controversy to a successful end.


176 thoughts on “Controversy Erupts With The Intervention Of The President’s Counsel Before Two Highly Classified Briefings”

    1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. David, you know the deal. You are not allowed to ask for evidence or citations or question the veracity of anyone’s comments until I get my citation.

        1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. I believe you do not have the right to question anyone until I get my citation. I do believe in freedom of speech, however, I do believe in retribution.

          1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. Still afraid to play in my sandbox?

            1. In reality, no one here owes you anything but a periodic poke with a stick through your little self-imposed cage. You’re welcome.

              this is to “but I can prove I’m a smarty-pants!” paulie

              1. Marky Mark Mark – you do not owe me anything, however, David Benson owes me a citation from the OED…

                  1. David Benson still owes me a citation from the OED. You are not getting out of this. BTW, don’t forget to take your school ID, you are going to need it to log into the OED at the WSU library.

        1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. I only wear my tinfoil cap when doing pop psychology and that is because I have had it so long. The newer ones are covered in aluminum foil and I am too cheap to buy one. Right now I am just the boss of you until I get my citation. Once I get that I can return to being a benevolent autocrat.

            1. David Benson still owes me a citation from the OED. There is a personal cost to me to try to be semi-nice to you until you fulfill your duties. That has been very trying and has taken its toll. However, I am willing to pay that price to get you to fulfill your obligation to me and the blog.

    1. The “error” may not have been an error at all. If this was pre-planned (it pretty much had to be) they had to known that this cameo appearance would be used to dilute the public narrative coming out of the meeting. Trump and his team lives 24/7 with a hostile media dedicated to producing negative narratives against POTUS. They all know this. Well, why not use these known predispositions to get what you want? (Legally and ethically of course.) Now, why would Trump want the meeting message diluted or obscured? Or maybe a “misstep” is inserted to bait the MSM into more coverage of the meeting? More drama = more conflict = more coverage. I think it is all part of the roll-out of much greater things to come. To quote our MAGA POTUS, “We’ll see what happens.”

  1. I dunno.
    Seems like much ado about nothing.
    Flood and Kelly were there only at the onset of the meeting for a few minutes, then they left.
    And the meeting went on as it would otherwise.
    Mountains out of molehills.

    1. Judge T. S. Ellis refused to grant Manafort’s lawyer, Downing’s, request for Rosenstein’s notes, known as Urgent Reports, memorializing Rosenstein’s interactions with Mueller between May 17th, 2017, and August 2nd, 2017, which would have been the time period during which Mueller and Rosenstein were deliberating with one another over expanding the scope of the special counsel’s investigation to include the previous US Attorney for Virginia’s investigation of Manafort. Presumably, Judge Ellis refused Downing’s request because it would have greatly encroached upon prosecutorial discretion.

      P. S. Have either Calabresi or McCarthy read the unredacted version of Rosenstein’s August 2nd, 2017, memo expanding the scope of the special counsel’s investigation? One further presumes that Judge Ellis has read the unredacted memo by now. And yet, there’s been no ruling on Manafort’s motion to dismiss yet–only a postponement of the trial date due to an unspecified medical issue involving a close family member of Judge Ellis.

  2. Darren, if this does not violate the Civility Rule, nothing does.

    Banned for life.

  3. Can no longer keep track of Muler/Russia investigations and all the tenacles, twists, turns, and drama. It is like a bad TV show good for hate watching – like Khardashians – that has gotten so ridiculous and silly that not even possible to hate watch anymore. The end of Khardashians watch-ability for me came when Bruce turned himself into a woman. Stormy Daniel’s NDA was beginning of end of my interest in this trash and all of this baloney is not going to survive past Memorial Day weekend going into summer. No way American public has that much staying power to give a crap and try to follow all the propaganda. After this weekend the lefty loons will be singing about this amongst themselves and rest of country will have moved on.

    1. Bill, you’re partly right. Most Americans would like to move on from Trump’s presidency. Everyone is sick of it!

      1. Peter, Dorothy’s response was better than yours but it looks like the monitor of this blog deleted her response. “Everyone is sick of it!”. Yes I think everyone is sick of the lefty loony tune attacks (even Dems gotta wonder if party leaders got any real game). But rising poll numbers for Trump and 2018 midterms for R’s seem to indicate that a Trump second term is gonna happen.

        1. Bill, I’ve never under-estimated the ability of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I’ve seen it many times.

          But in all fairness to Democrats voter turnout is a less favorable environment. Democrats live in bigger cities where the physical task of voting can be a hassle to many. Especially riders of public transportation and people in physically taxing jobs.

          Poll sites in bigger cities often lack parking spaces for cars. And riders of public transportation could be looking at an extra mile walk. That’s unappealing to people working on their feet all day.

          In small towns and outer suburbs, voting can be as simple as a 50 foot stroll from your car. You might enjoy getting out to see friends and relatives. You might be voting in the gym of the high school you attended. Or the school your kids attend.

          Voting is more pleasant in familiar old settings. Especially when parking is easy to find. But if you’re a hotel maid, riding Metrolink from East Los Angeles to Beverly Hills, voting after work is just an extra hassle. That’s the sad reality Democrats face in almost every election.

          1. True story: I rode my bike to polling station to vote in 2016 presidential election on nice Fall day. You might have a point about transportation in big cities being an obstacle. However, Dems own the coasts i.e. CA and NY as well as IL – so those electoral votes locked down. No competitive transportation advantage in key states like WI, MI, and PA for Trump in 2016. He simply outworked HRC there. Complacency and lack of game on the part of Dem candidates probably a bigger obstacle for Dem party than big city transportation.

            1. I beg to differ, Bill. Detroit Michigan is one of the nation’s worst cities for urban transportation. While Milwaukee Wisconsin has become a smaller version of Detroit. And voter I.D. laws, passed by Republicans, may have discouraged just enough Milwaukee Blacks. Democratic turnout was indeed an issue there.

              1. Bigger issue was HRC turnout. She could not be bothered to show up in those states as she was busy picking table settings at her glass house victory celebration venue in NYC. Dem voters overcame your purported transportation/other voting obstacles in prior elections. It can be deduced that blame lies with poor Dem candidate and Dem party officials who fixed nomination process and had zero game.

        2. “Peter, Dorothy’s response was better than yours but it looks like the monitor of this blog deleted her response”

          JT uses several aliases in the comments section to keep the conversation going…then he deletes comments as he sees fit….notice how it is always the same 5-10 profile names that comprise the bulk of dialogue on the forums like an incestuous dynamic

          JT is like a crack addict on the internet much like Tucker Carlson accused Bill Kristol of being a twitter prestitute

          fake legal blog….

          fake news

          JT right here

          1. OFCOLA! Jonathan Turley couldn’t alter one jot nor tittle of his writing style even if his life depended upon it. (Don’t read that the wrong way, Ralph Adamo). There’s precious little evidence that Turley even reads Res Ipsa Loquitur, let alone string it along with five to ten aliases posting comments. Turley does not have Multiple Personality Disorder. Wait. Jose was being sarcastic. No? Never mind.

          2. Jose – to the best of my knowledge, JT does not participate in the blog other than to delete some comments and, of course, offer us our daily discussion threads. However, you can always ask JT if he participates as a sock puppet. I await your response.

    2. It’s like a soap opera — too many characters and a meandering plot that basically goes nowhere by going everywhere — one minute heading in one direction, the next minute heading in the opposite direction — then suddenly a new character is introduced and the plot goes off in a different directions — lots of movement but never arriving at any destination.

      Someone needs to fire the writers and hire someone that can stick a climax into the story so that it can eventually head toward The End and not just off in another direction in order to go on and on and on forever.

    3. The American public is not the relevant body. Rather, it’s the federal grand jury. I suggest that the grand jury does in fact have more “staying power” than you give it credit for. So sorry for your loss.

      this is to “but, but hannity said it was all fake!” billie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – the staying power of a federal grand jury is usually a maximum of 18 months and they meet one day a week. Still getting that overflow work from the federal courts I see.

  4. This is a very good article regarding Halper’s role:

    While we’re only at the initial stages of the information cycle on the Halper imbroglio, it’s already clear that both sides are digging in and preparing for battle. “He wasn’t spying on the Trump campaign, he was saving them from themselves” will become the default talking point across the media and left-wing political spectrum, and the Right will respond by quoting the definition of “spy.” None of it will be helpful.

    Arguing the semantics of “spy” versus “Confidential Human Source” is a colossal waste of time and energy, and misses the point entirely, designedly so. At this point, as with much else in this year-long exposition of ideological combat disguised as “news,” the appropriate response to the “not a spy” talking point is also the only way any of these issues will ever be resolved: “Prove it.”

    1. Olly, the Justice Department policy prohibits public disclosure of an investigation involving candidates for public office during an election campaign. The Justice Department policy does not prohibit conducting an investigation into candidates for public office during an election campaign. The FBI did not publicly disclose its investigation of Russia’s efforts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign during Trump’s campaign for President. The FBI did not violate the Justice Department’s policy against public disclosure during an election campaign.

  5. What has the Trump administration ever done (or not done) that The Daily Beast, Carrie Cordero, Mark Warner, and Adam Schiff did not find “disquieting”, “bad optics”, “inappropriate”, “destructive of our core democratic institutions”, etc. etc. ? How are these criticisms even taken seriously ?

    1. Perhaps you might take your blinders off and objectively evaluate the obscenity that is the day glo bozo and his cabal of malevolenty-incompetent henchmen. When so many objective journalists are able to publish factually-accurate stories setting forth in detail the transgressions of the sitting president, resorting to the talking points of your man-crush hannity is not the recommended course of action.

      this is to “I have a ‘hannity was here’ tattoo across my lower back” tommie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – you are aware that anyone who calls the President of the United States the dayglo bozo is showing a bias. And since you are that biased we cannot rely on your opinion to neutrally select news articles.

          1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

            In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Graham said that he doesn’t think that the informant, identified in media reports as American academic Stefan Halper, is a spy.

            Asked by Hewitt if Trump should be referring to the matter as “spygate,” Graham demurred.

            “I don’t know. Probably not, but I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t go to the meeting. I don’t think it’s — I don’t think he’s a spy. And I don’t know who this person was.”

            Remember, Caviler: It’s not Graham’s neutrality that you are doubting, but rather The Hill’s neutrality as a source of news.

            1. L4D – he is pretty iffy there. Did you read what you cut-and-pasted?

  6. the disquieting optics is mostly just the government investigating a valid election effort and attempting after the fact to invalidate it based on the phony and needless investigation. the only optics that will suffice to square this away will be a lot uglier than the president’s lawyer showing up at some hearing.


    1) “Even if Flood wasn’t there for any operative parts of the meeting, the optics are disquieting,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “Rather than being sensitive to the clear potential conflict this creates, the president is driving a truck through the middle of it. Historically, a president would be very careful to avoid the appearance of a conflict, as opposed to relishing in it.”

    2) Mr. Nunes, a loyal ally of Mr. Trump who advised his presidential transition, has been quiet about what exactly he hoped to learn about the informant, saying only that his late-April request was part of an oversight investigation into potential political bias and abuse of power within the Justice Department as it relates to the Russia investigation.

    Edited from: “Trump’s Lawyer And Chief Of Staff Appears At Briefings on FBI’s Russia Informant”
    The New York Times, 5/24/18


    Passage # 1 Here we have another law professor agreeing with Professor Turley that Flood’s presence at the meeting was entirely inappropriate.

    Passage # 2 One should note that Congressman Devin Nunes refrained from any public comments after said meeting. This is uncharacteristic of Nunes who in the past has been unusually vocal in his defense of Donald Trump. This leads us to wonder if revelations from the meeting fell short of Nunes’ expectations.

      1. Oky1, what does this have to do with today’s column? Are liberals supposed to recoil in horror at the sight of Weinstein under arrest? Or do you ‘just imagine’ liberals recoiling in horror..??

        I”m sure that right-wing media conveys the impression that Weinstein is a ‘huge embarrassment to the left’. Yet it was ‘not’ a conservative movement that exposed Weinstein’s issues. To the contrary, conservatives rallied to Trump’s defense after the “Access Hollywood” video.

        1. Trump had a vulgar conversation with Billy Bush surreptitiously recorded. NBC sat on it until they thought it would do maximum damage. As we speak, there is evidence that Weinstein is a prolific sex offender.

          1. Surreptitiously recorded..????? They were on the set of a TV show!!!!!

            Yes, that bus was a ‘set’! Bush and Trump were being taped aboard the bus as it ‘arrived’ at NBC’s Burbank lot. I suspect, however, that the bus was already on the lot when they boarded. It’s what’s called a “Pick-Up Shot”; a little extra coverage to round out the scene. As a TV pro, Trump should have known there would be live microphones about. It’s possible Trump was even wearing a microphone. It was dumb, dumb dumb on his part to pop off like that.

            1. Hey Special Snow Flake,

              After all this this time You still didn’t happen to notice that Billy Bush/Trump Video/Audio Was Edited! A Ph’in Fake Altered Vid! LOL;)

              That came out within a few weeks of the video airing exposed by multiple real news sources, but Team Trump made nothing of it as they knew there’s no lacking of Stupid people that couldn’t understand that type of political attack by the Demos/Neo-Con Repub Traitors.

              1. So that wasn’t Trump’s voice? Funny, it sounded exactly like him. However it was edited, I”m sure that moment wasn’t in the script. And ironically Bush was fired over that episode!

            2. The conversation was about 3 minutes long. It included Billy Bush, Trump, and others not identified. Trump was one of several people making vulgar remarks in the course of it. The ‘you can grab their pussy’ remark was a sentence fragment and in context you can see its hyperbole and not to be taken literally.

              You do realize, Peter, that the people making an issue of this are (almost to a [wo]man) perfectly happy with the complete collapse of standards of conduct in matters of sex and family life. The exceptions would be a menu of things (large and small) that offend humorless middle-aged women. Trump chattering about trying to seduce a married woman is a small thing. Billy Bush’s career was destroyed (11 years after the fact) for bantering with Trump rather than doing a bad imitation of Nancy Kulp. Personally, I’d like a code of conduct which buttressed personal virtue and family life, not which played to the feelz of middle-aged women. There’s nothing special about middle-aged women

            3. Transparent deflection, Peter. You need to have more integrity

              1. Peter Hill May 25, 2018 at 4:55 PM

                Oky1, what does this [Weinstein’s perp walk] have to do with today’s column?

                Nutchacha is insufferable May 25, 2018 at 7:11 PM

                Transparent deflection, Peter. You need to have more integrity.


        2. What it has to do with things today is you America Hating, Pedo supporting, Commie/Nazi Authoritarian type Demo/Repub Neo-Cons are now completely exposed.

          There was no Russian Collusion, Collusion is not a crime anyway. It’s out & out Treason against the USA by some higher ups in the DOJ, FBI, CIA, etc., etc.. … Hell maybe all of US intel using the cover story, the Foreign Spies like GCHQ Red Coat Troy Brits & 5 eyes Against the US people & our choice Donald J Trump!

          But you people, maybe even Prof Turley , are exposed as the modern day Benedict Arnold Traitors you’ve always been.

          Hell look at Turley… LOL:) Using the Commie/Nazi type rag the Daily Beast as a creditable source.

          He might better get his azz down to Austin Tx for a interview on the Alex Jones Show to cover his backside.

          U people best pick the correct Side right now as those that pick wrong will be the Losers.

          1. Oky1, your comment here is so wildly over-the-top it speaks for itself.

            You’re a Bircher, in the 1959, who’s able to comment on this thread through a line of communication sometimes known as The Twilight Zone.

            1. So once again you’re confused by facts, you/your freinds have no creditable rebuttal so you fantasize there’s still a debate going on about the ttruth of the facts, no there is no., you Pedo Supporting, American Hating Commie/Nazi Authoritarian Trash have lost again Big Time.

              Mean Time Song Bird Weinstein tonight is Singing a song about you American hating Sheeets & your freinds. LOL;)

              1. Never mind all that; what’s the status on ill-informed, ignorant hillbillies who get drunk and post incoherent prattle on websites? Thanks, I’ll hang up and listen.

                this is to “all my friends hate the Constitution, too” okie

                1. Marky Mark Mark – I know it is self-effacing, but you have got to stop knocking yourself like that. It shows a poor self-image.

        3. It was the Nee York Times that blew the whistle on Weinstein, and Trump’s favorite rag, the National Enquirer, that spiked it as it did for Trump’s bimbo eruptions over the years.

          1. Ronan Farrow’s article appeared in The New Yorker.

        4. They’re so silly with their Pravda Faux News talking points. I didn’t even recognize the perp, and had never heard of the guy until recently when the girls started telling. Maybe this guy has been a feature on Pravda for awhile? Who knew?

          1. Marky Mark Mark – anyone who follows entertainment news knows who Harvey Weinstein is, he has been mentioned at the Oscars several times. BTW, now Morgan Freeman is in trouble. Eight women have come forward to say he harassed them and from the reports, he really did. This is not going to jail stuff, but enough to put a crimp in his career for a while.

            Read Page Six of the NY Post if you want to keep up. 😉

      2. That’s a fun photo, but it would be a whole lot funner if Eric Schneiderman’s face were photoshopped over Sweinstein’s face. I’ve not heard even a word breathed about Schneiderman looking at the other end of the justice system, and his “role playing” (LOL) involving his “brown slave” (LOL) and others included using his police powers to threaten his victims with being followed, having their phones tapped, and having them killed.

        I state those as facts, not allegations, in keeping with the insistence of the #MeToo Movement which Schneiderman championed that the alleged victims should be believed. Under that theory of due process, we can skip the indictment and trial and proceed right to the sentencing phase for Schneiderman — clearing the court’s docket for Tom Browkaw, Matt Lauer, et al.

  8. I guess they don’t want to tell the President’s lawyers all the ways they were spying on his campaign, transition team, and administration. The Deep State – “We have proof of Trump collusion and Russian manipulation but we can’t show it to you or tell you how we got it because we classified it so lets just proceed to impeachment and sentencing and skip discovery and building a case.”

    Yeah I can understand why they might not want Trump’s lawyers in the room but since they never had any intention of turning over documents or showing any evidence it is sort of a moot point.

      1. Actually, it was a term contrived by academic students of Turkish politics. So, go contact Heath Lowry and tell him you fancy he’s got an empty mind.

        It’s gained currency in recent years on account of the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin.

        1. In Turkish politics it is appropriate. Applied to American politics it is an absurdity that gains no credence when repeated by the erstwhile King of the Birthers.

        2. Haha. Rich. So who filled you in on the original source? I you were honest, you’d admit that you thought it came from Hannity’s mouth itself….

          this is to “But I’m really not” the nutty sufferer

          1. Marky Mark Mark – admit it, most people on here think you are a thoughtless twit.

              1. L4D – I did say most. There is no accounting for bad taste.

    1. Peter Berg said, “I guess they don’t want to tell the President’s lawyers all the ways they were spying on his campaign, transition team, and administration.”

      There’s no law against the CIA spying on Russia’s efforts to recruit Americans on foreign soil. The CIA shared Halper’s human intelligence with The National Security Division of The Justice Department–not the FBI. Had Page and Papadopoulos been on American soil when Halper gathered human intelligence from them, then the CIA would have been violation of the law. Neither the FBI nor the DOJ publicly disclosed the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s efforts at cultivating members of the Trump campaign during Trump’s campaign for President. Whence neither the FBI nor the DOJ were in violation of the Justice Department policy against publicly disclosing investigations involving candidates for public office during an election campaign.

      Trump’s “Spygate” claim is a complete and total “nothingburger.”

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