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”


    “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”.


    This observer suspects it was Donald Trump’s idea to have Flood attend the meeting. That way Flood could report back to him. And one might speculate that Mr Flood told Donald Trump that such an appearance would undermine integrity. But Trump said, “Aw screw integrity! I want you there to tell me what everyone said”.

  2. Yeah, sure, it is fine for EVERYBODY ELSE to know what is in there, just not the President! Treat him like a mushroom: Keep him in the dark and feed him horse shyte.

    1. Since when did someone who is the subject of a criminal investigation get to see the case being built against him before he is charged? Oh, right. Never. Why would Trump have exceptional treatment in a country that claims that all citizens are equal before the law? Oh, right. Never. Never until he bends the rules. Always.

      You’ll never keep Trump dark. He’ll keep feeding you horse ” shyte”. It’s what he does. What is pathetic is that this much- vaunted ” real lawyer” is prepared to present himself as Trump’s lackey and to attempt to glean information to bolster his defence- as Giuliani, that other clown, has already stated.

      1. Since, uh, never. With the exception of when a defense attorney brings a client/target in for a proffer with the prosecution. In those instances the State/Government will often show evidence that they are not required to in order to show the accused/targeted how generally screwed they are. This isn’t done just to flip people but also to save time and money. The professor is extremely charitable, as always, to continue to describe every move like this as thoughtless and blundering on the part of the Trump administration.

      2. But, but– Hillary got to see the debate questions. So Trump gets a pass on this!!

  3. I was soaking up Turkey spiel over the last few weeks giving outsized credence to it until I watched him (on Fox News) tell us how brilliant Avenatti is because he knows him from the classes he taught him as a student. The luster is dimmed a bit.

    1. If you just found out that Turley knows Avenatti, you should search back a few weeks in this blog to where Turley wrote and inflated resume for Avenatti, singing his praises as a commercial ad for a live appearance Turley was about to do somewhere with Avenatti.

      It’s a remarkable piece — piece of what I won’t say — and the most remarkable thing about it is that it mentioned all sorts of accomplishments of Avenatti’s without mentioning even one of his somewhat questionable activities, such as those mentioned by the Seattle Times:

      There’s not a single exploit of Avenatti’s referenced in that Seattle Times article that made it into Turley’s piece. That was the eye-opener for me. I once had a big bunch of admiration for Turley, but when he unashamedly sung Avenatti’s praises, I knew I’d been wrong about Turley all along.

  4. 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.

    This complaint is incredibly contrived and silly.

    1. Believe it or not, I do agree with you on some points. It was a bad move on the legal team. Then again this is what Trump gets for hiring lawyers from a inside of a matchbook.

      1. Emmet Flood has served Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky crisis. So it’s hilarious that Trump tapped Flood for this job. Never mind that Trump wants to jail Hillary. A Clinton lawyer is fine with Trump.

    2. This complaint is only incredibly contrived and silly if you think that Trump doesn’t need to conform to the rule of law. If you want an authoritarian state with an unaccountable autocrat- like Trump does- then have at it. Kiss democracy and rule of law goodbye and hope you can forget what it was like to be free…

      1. This complaint is only incredibly contrived and silly if you think that Trump doesn’t need to conform to the rule of law.

        He’s not contravening the rule of law by having his attorney or a White House attorney present.

        1. Let’s hope not. If his attorney had intervened or availed himself of classified information to craft Trump’s defence then he’s teetering on the edge of something at best unethical and possibly illegal. Why would these idiots want to show such impropriety and obvious desperation unless Trumpovich was guilty? It’s almost funny if it wasn’t so seriously abject. Trump is in blind panic mode; wonder why that is… Ha!

          1. Why would these idiots want to show such impropriety and obvious desperation unless Trumpovich was guilty?

            Hmmm, I’m going to go with the fact they do not trust the government. after confirming the IC/FBI/DOJ had an informant (spy) inside their campaign. Screw impropriety, this is lawfare and the only rational defense against it is transparency.

            1. So now you know – courtesy of Mitch McConnell and Adam Schiff that the informant was there following the usual practice in light of the suspicions raised. It had nothing to do with Trump being spied upon and everything to do with ensuring that the Russians were not infiltrating his campaign or at least establishing what they were doing. Trump is lying again today about this and insisting that Clapper said he was spied on. It’s insane. He’s gaslighting as his only defence against the increasingly likely outcome. He’s spent his life hoist by public opinion and integrity or truth don’t get a look-in. He’s a snivelling and needy creature and unfit to be president. I hope I’m not being naive in hoping that the truth will set his cult followers free. Meanwhile the majority who have not succumbed to his pathological lying are worried about the subornation of so many and the willful subversion of democracy. If this goes on much longer then it won’t just be a fleecing of the people in plain sight, but a catastrophic blow to democracy; accountability; truth. Those who fail to see this are in for a nasty shock.

              1. ” willful subversion of femocracy”, “catastrophic blow to democracy”.
                And the sky is falling.

  5. Maybe I need more covfefe this morning, but what constitutional crisis has President Trump allegedly done now? Flood and Kelly show up to two congressional briefings by President’s Trumps FBI and DOJ and it was considered inappropriate? By what standard? “That’s just not the way we’ve always done things around here?” That standard? Then lock the effing door and ban them from the meeting. They do have security, right? Oh, they do have the right to be there? Good, then President Trump has once again shown the political class their current standard is BS.

    1. Well I seem to remember the right-wing going crazy when Bill Clinton was seen and talked to the AG on a airport runway. It was inappropriate then as it was yesterday.

      1. I wasn’t aware members of both parties on the House Intel committee were meeting with Lynch on the tarmac and Bill Clinton decided to crash the party.

        1. You know damn well what was meant, What would you think if HRC’s lawyers showed up to speak, or to be there when Trey Gowdy’s party was going on in a closed session? I said it was inappropriate then as now.

          1. I would think the committee either lets them in or tells them to come back when the committee is in an open session. What you don’t do is allow them in, allow them to address the committee and then whine about how inappropriate it was. What’s inappropriate is for congress to pretend they are powerless against the chief executive.

            1. Agree, then again it goes back to what I have said before, this congress will put up as much as they can. Then the answers will be the same as before, as with Dubya, Donald who?

  6. If this meeting got the DOJ and FBI to stop slow-walking documents, I do not care if the lawyer took a dump in the middle of the table. Progress was made. I subscribe to Judicial Watch and watch their weekly report where they bemoan weekly the DOJ and FBI slow-walking their FOIA requests. However, they have gotten more than Congress.

    1. Excerpted from the article linked in Turley’s original post for this thread:

      “We want to see how the briefing went to today and how much we learned from it,” he [Rudy Giuliani] told Politico, referring to how he’s deciding whether or not Trump will sit for an interview with Mueller. “If we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten that whole process considerably.”

      So Giuliani, who is part of Trump’s legal defense team, told Politico that Trump’s legal defense team wants to learn a good deal from the classified briefing that Rosenstein and Wray gave to Congressional leaders about the sources, methods and assets the FBI used to investigate Russia’s cultivation of members of the Trump campaign. Well of course Giuliani wants to learn a good deal about the FBI’s investigation. But would he really say so out loud in public to Politico? Evidently so.

      If the rest of us don’t read about it soon, then Trump’s allegation that a spy was planted in his campaign will have gained no traction from the classified briefing. If we do read about it soon, will Trump demand an investigation of the leaker(s)?

      1. Well, we haven’t read anything leaked from the classified briefing –yet. There’s still tomorrow. And the next day. Something has got to leak from the classified briefing soon. Otherwise, “Spygate” might fizzle out. Trump says “Spygate” has to be the biggest scandal ever. Bigger than Watergate. Where are the leakers when Trump needs them?

    2. You have said it all. You are exactly correct. Sometimes Mr. Turley should keep his mouth closed and his keyboard locked up. All during the nightmare of the Clinton Scandal Mr. Turley mewed from the sidelines and NOTHING went the way he said it should.

      Mr. Turley’s opinions, while they may have a legal insight, have no weight, making him a lightweight.

  7. Oliver Clozoff, you are exactly right! Trump is totally innocent.

      1. Compared with Dershowitz, Turley is an Avenatti.

        Didn’t used to be that way. Just chalk it up to Trump’s ability to cause people to reveal what they actually are.

    1. Until proven guilty. Maybe you have seen all of the relevent evidence? Please share if you have!

      1. They’re giving priority to process crimes and Russian internet trolls. That’s a tell.

  8. I see. So the big problem is Trump’s lawyer saying hi, this is who I am, we are making this happen and will continue to compel disclosure, and then leaving? The problem is not the ongoing and continuous leaking of private, confidential and even classified materials and information which are then published with references to anonymous or unnamed sources? Including the Democrats issuing a statement and statements made by individual Democrats (e.g., Herr Schiff) immediately after the classified meeting?

    We can all presume Turley has to attend a DC cocktail party or something this weekend and is prepping his “I blasted Trump” credentials for the occasion. Self preservation I guess.

    1. I’m sorry, but as a person of German decent, I strongly object to your reference to “Herr Schiff.”

      The correct terminology is Fräulein Schiff — or maybe Frau Schiff.

  9. One presumes that The POTUS cannot assert State Secret privilege regarding any events that transpired before The POTUS swore the Oath of Office.

    1. Wait. If The POTUS does so in his own defense. Otherwise, The POTUS could assert State Secret privilege regarding events that transpired during previous administrations–if the privilege is not assert for the defense of the current occupant of the office.

  10. The last I heard, Emmett Flood specializes in assertions of privilege–especially executive privilege. Flood’s presence at a classified briefing about the sources and methods of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s cultivation of members of the Trump campaign suggests that Trump might be preparing to assert State Secret privilege in a highly selective manner. For Flood will have to know which State Secrets serve the cause of defending Trump and which State Secrets need to be suppressed by means of asserting State Secret privilege. Should that eventually come to pass, it will precipitate the much dreaded Constitutional crisis. Can The POTUS assert State Secret privilege in his own defense at either or both Impeachment hearings in The House and an Impeachment trial in The Senate?

    (No, I have not been drinking. Mind your own bee’s wax)

    1. No takers? Okay fine. The human intelligence that Stefan Halper gathered was used to leverage George Papadopoulos into a guilty plea. Halper’s HUMINT on Papadopoulos is the property of the United States government. At least some of Halper’s HUMINT on Papadopoulos was stipulated to in Papadopoulos’ plea agreement. Those stipulations have been a public record widely reported in the press for some time now. In theory, The POTUS, Trump, could assert State Secret privilege to suppress the evidence to which Papadopoulos stipulated in his plea agreement with Mueller; even though that evidence has been publicly reported and is still available as a public record.

      Of course, such an assertion of State Secret privilege would precipitate a Constitutional crisis between the Executive branch and the United States Court in which Mueller filed his plea agreement with Papadopoulos. For that reason, Trump might not do it, unless and until the alternatives are no longer available to Trump. And that may very well be why Trump, his legal team and even Congressional Republicans want to learn as much as they can, as soon as they can, about whatever case Mueller might be building against the attendees at the Trump Tower meeting. For, if Mueller is building a conspiracy to defraud the United States case against Donald Trump JR., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, then asserting State Secret privilege to suppress the Papadopoulos evidence would stymie that case; even though that evidence is already a public record widely reported in the press.

      P. S. If such a monstrous thing does come to pass, then L4D will start drinking–heavily. And who knows what might happen after that?

      1. Breaking News: In 2006, Judge T. S. Ellis upheld the invocation of state secret privilege to dismiss the civil suit known as El Masri v. Tenet. It was not an indictment brought by a grand jury. The ACLU was suing Tenet for the extraordinary rendition and torture of El Masri. The reason it is noteworthy is that there was plenty of publically available information reported in the press about the extraordinary rendition and torture of El Masri. And yet, Judge Ellis ruled that the civil suit against Tenet could not proceed without harming national security. Uh-oh! Spaghetti-Os!

        1. And then there’s this from The ACLU (the year is correct):

          In her August 17, 2006 ruling in ACLU v. NSA, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor recognized that the government had publicly acknowledged that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to wiretap Americans without warrants, and thus it could not claim that discussing the program in court would harm national security.

          1. L4D – the first job of every country is to protect its citizen, National Security. Didn’t you take Civics?

            1. the first job of every country is to protect its citizen, National Security.

              As we’ve seen from Annie/Inga/L4D first is that she doesn’t believe in natural rights. If that’s her foundation, then she would not believe the self-evident truths int he Declaration of Independence are valid. That would mean she may agree with your statement, but with a disclaimer adding that depends on who is in government and what citizens the government determines deserves to be secure in their rights.

              1. The purpose of the state secrets privilege is to prevent courts from revealing state secrets in the course of civil litigation (in criminal cases, the Classified Information Procedures Act serves the same purpose).

                Olly said, “. . . [L4D] doesn’t believe in natural rights. If that’s her foundation, then she would not believe the self-evident truths int he Declaration of Independence are valid.”

                Neither Life, Liberty, nor Property (a.k.a. The Pursuit of Happiness) are implicated in assertions of state secret privilege. As for natural rights, the lives, liberties and properties of The Signers of The Declaration were all placed in grave peril because King George III had accused The Signers of The Declaration of being “terrorists.” That just so happens to be why George Tenet ordered the extraordinary rendition and torture of Khaled El Masri, who was, not a US citizen, but a German national mistakenly arrested in Macedonia and turned over to the CIA in 2003.

                1. The purpose of the state secrets privilege is to prevent courts from revealing state secrets in the course of civil litigation (in criminal cases, the Classified Information Procedures Act serves the same purpose).

                  Who’s questioning purpose? Damn, at some point in your analysis you need to look beyond the purpose and get to the actual use.

                  In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley revealed that the FBI had redacted the cost of the table from a document he and his fellow members of the committee requested to see. Grassley said many of the redactions within the documents made no sense, nor were they made to protect national security secrets.

            2. From the Wikipedia article on The Totten Rule:

              Totten v. United States, 92 U.S. 105 (1876), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the court ruled on judicial jurisdiction in espionage cases. The court deemed an oral contract between a deceased spy and President Lincoln was unenforceable because courts cannot hear cases in disputes involving spying contracts, because it might do harm to make public the details of the enterprise and embarrass the government.

              This case was later referenced by the court in a similar context in the 2005 case of Tenet v. Doe.

              1. More from Wikipedia on State Secret Privilege:

                On January 4, 2007, District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain ordered the dismissal of Jane Doe et al. v. CIA, 05 Civ. 7939 based on the state secrets privilege. Jane Doe and her children sued the CIA for money damages after her husband’s covert employment with the CIA was “terminated immediately for unspecified reasons”.

        2. L4D – they invoked National Security. Do you drink with breakfast?

          1. From the Wikipedia article linked below:

            The state secrets privilege is an evidentiary rule created by United States legal precedent. Application of the privilege results in exclusion of evidence from a legal case based solely on affidavits submitted by the government stating that court proceedings might disclose sensitive information which might endanger national security.

            Following a claim of “state secrets privilege”, the court rarely conducts an in camera examination of the evidence to evaluate whether there is sufficient cause to support the use of this doctrine. This results in court rulings in which even the judge has not verified the veracity of the assertion. The privileged material is completely removed from the litigation, and the court must determine how the unavailability of the privileged information affects the case.

            1. L4D – if you read the article, it is a National Security issue and they used to give deference to the Executive. Now judges are actually asking to see the documents, i.e., Sullivan.

      2. L4D – I have never heard of State Secret privilege used in the US. You spent too much time watching the Royal Wedding.

        1. State secret privilege was first recognized by a US Court in the 1953 civil suit United States v. Reynolds. It was partially limited in the 2006 case ACLU v. NSA. Then greatly expanded in the 2011 case El Masri v. Tenet. The Bush administration reportedly asserted state secret privilege more times than anyone could shake a stick at, because the courts don’t publicly report assertions of state secret privilege unless and until those courts overrule the privilege or dismiss entire lawsuits. Then, and only then, is there a public record of the assertion of state secret privilege.

          1. L4D – it is still a National Security issue, even if it isn’t.

  11. It must be bad if even Turley couldn’t find a way to be an apologist for Trump’s actions. Trump is becoming increasingly desperate as shown by demanding information no subject of an investigation is entitled to and intentionally branding the informant as a spy with political intent, that somehow forgot to use any information politically. Of course, it’s all Clinton’s or Obama’s fault.

    1. They say that Trump’s trying to find a way to minimize the political cost of firing Rosenstein and Mueller. If he’s going to do that, then he has to get Congressional Republicans to come along for the ride. In turn, Trump might have to do it before the midterm Congressional elections. OTOH, why bring Flood to the briefing if Trump intends to fire Rosenstein and Mueller? Just in case? Maybe.

      1. Minimizing political cost from firing Rosenstein and Mueller? The political and social costs will be stupendous if Herr Drumpfenfuhrer fires these two people.

        1. Yes, Wally, I agree. Nevertheless, it looks like that’s what Trump is angling for.

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  13. LOL — title should be “Turley gets his panties in a wad — again.”

    One must assume that Turley believes that statements in the link he provide are accurate, and that the Daily Beast article (LOL) is correct when it refers to Flood as “the new lawyer for the White House.” LOL LOL

    There would be nothing wrong with the White House counsel attending the meeting. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with the President’s personal attorney attending either, for the purposes stated in the Daily Beast Article — just to deliver a message — but there’s certainly nothing wrong with a legal representative of the White House showing up.

    This is Turley playing Limbo — how low can he go?

    I’m remembering the beginning of an article Turley wrote a few weeks ago (the beginning is all I read), where Turley mentioned that he helped his kid with his homework — something about law — and the kid got a C+. LOL — If Turley hadn’t helped him, the kid would have probably gotten at least a B.

    Of course most parents don’t do their kids homework for them. An honest teacher would consider that unethical. It’s the kid who’s suppose to do the work, and the work is supposed to represent what the kid knows, not what the parent knows.

    Total absence of ethics, ignorance of the subject matter, snarky attitude — Turley’s got it all.

  14. Trump has a great gut instinct that serves him well but not always and especially with lawyers One example is Rudy Giuliani,a legendary Prosecutor and a legendary mayor who on 911 became the symbol of the grit of New York City. His energy. determination and bravery was truly inspiring as he earned the title America’s Mayor, that was then and this is now and Rudy’s older a lot older and it shows. Jeff Sessions is another example. Sessions hastily approved the appointment of a Special Counsel and then inexplicably left the whole affair in the hands of the wholly incompetent or wholly corrupt or both assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Sessions has been rarely seen or heard since, but he’s still AG.
    I believe You or Mr Dershowitz wouldn’t take the job if offered but he needs someone like you two. if you know of someone please let Mr Trump Know.I think all an all he’s been a very good President in his first year and a half but he could use a helping hand once in awhile.

  15. Controversy “erupted” when Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office and lied to the entire world, including HIlls. There’s a whole lotta controversiatin’ goin’ on around hea! There are a whole lot of tempests in teapots too.

  16. OMG, impeach him! The POTUS allowed his defense attorney to have knowledge of the goings on with the DOJ, over which the Constitution assigns Trump and Congress oversight responsibility. /sarc off

    1. Yep. Turley conveniently forgets to mention that one of the main issues of the meeting was whether to declassify a bunch of information that’s been wrongfully concealed — such as the DOJ or FBI redacting the price of a table for Andrew McCabe — $70,000 (some people’s houses aren’t worth $70,000) — information that was redacted from Strzok/Page text messages under the LYING pretense that it is national security information — that revealing the information would be a risk to national security and/or put the lives of agents and assets at risk, etc.

      The President has the ultimate authority to declassify information, and he also has ultimate authority over the DOJ and FBI and is responsible for their LYING, CHEATING, CRIMINAL conduct that is currently being concealed.

      And Turley thinks that the President should be prohibited from having a legal representative in attendance at a meeting related to the President’s legal responsibilities and the ongoing cover-up of DOJ crimes.

      Trump Derangement Syndrome is setting in deeply with Turley. Very sad to see him become a victim of this insidious mental disease.

  17. “…the lawyers preparing the President’s defense.”

    Defense of what, nonexistent “Russian collusion” or obstruction of justice in the case of a crime that never happened?

    Is “defense” possible in a witch hunt?

  18. In general I’ve been highly supportive of Trump’s Policies even though I have no trust at all of East Coast American hating Azzholes, but consider the alternative there was No other choice.

    That said, Trump appears to me to be the dumbest SOB at hiring a legal team!

    So bad it is I consider contacting him & saying please, take my Oklahoma team, as I’m sick of your legal team, that must be Never Trumpers that hate America making you look a fool.

    One thing Trump has going for him is that most other’s lawyers seem far dumber. lol:)

  19. Unhuh, you call it an unforced error. I call it further evidence of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

    1. No, no, no! You have it all wrong. Clinton is guilty because she was never charged with a crime. Trump is innocent because they are not supposed to investigate him and he is incapable of committing a crime. The criminal convictions obtained to date by Mueller are just “process crimes,” you know, like “processed meat,” not digestible and carcinogenic. And EVERYTHING that goes wrong is Obama’s fault. Even the typos in Turley’s blog posts.

      1. Oliver C…
        -As with Hillary, some connected with the Trump campaign may have exhibited “extreme carelessness” in their financial dealings (Manafort), in communication with shady, mysterious characters ( Papadopolous), or in lying to the FBI.
        It would save time and lessen the burden on the criminal justice system to shame these people for their “extreme carelessness”, to conclude that no “reasonable prosecutor” would pursue criminal charges, and let it go at that.
        You mention the oft-stated fact that Hillary was never charged with a crime.
        Nearly two years into the investigation of the Trump campaign, what crime has Trump been charged with?

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