“The First Thing We Do”: The Lawless Campaign To Harass Lawyers Representing The Trump Campaign

Below is my column in The Hill on the successful campaign that has forced firms to drop Donald Trump or the Republican Party as clients in the ongoing litigation over the 2020 election. Notably, this campaign started soon after the election was called for President-Elect Joe Biden.

Here is the column:

Less than a week after the election being called for President-elect Biden, supporters are turning to Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” for their first priority: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” That lawless fantasy of the character “Dick the Butcher” appears to have found acceptance not only among some of the public but some lawyers themselves.

Within 24 hours of the election being called, the media and an array of legal analysts declared no evidence of voter fraud to change the outcome. The problem was that we had not even seen the Trump campaign’s filings or evidence. As Trump lawyers began to file cases, alleging everything from deceased voters to biased authentication, the solution became clear: Get rid of the lawyers. No lawyers, no cases, no Trump.

What is most unsettling is that this effort is led or cheered on by lawyers. Take Washington Post columnist Randall Eliason, who gained notoriety supporting an array of theories on impeachment or criminal claims against Trump, including a bribery interpretation long rejected by the Supreme Court and not adopted even by the impeachment-eager House Judiciary Committee. Eliason wrote a column, “Yes, going after Trump’s law firms is fair game.” (Everything seems fair game if the ultimate target is Trump.) Eliason shrugged off the notion that attacking a person’s lawyers, rather than his positions, is beyond the pale: “Law is a profession, but these mega-law firms are also big businesses. Like any business, they can be held accountable by the public — and by their other customers.”

The law is not like any other business, however. Lawyers speak for others, including some of the least popular among us. I have represented clients ranging from judges, members of Congress and whistleblowers to spies, terrorists and polygamists. Many were hated by the public, who demanded that I be fired from my law school — but I have never seen such a campaign led by lawyers against lawyers.

Our legal system works best when competent lawyers present cases to dispassionate judges. In this case, some 72 million Americans voted for Trump, and many believe changes in the process — particularly the massive increase of mail-in voting — undermined the election’s integrity. That is why these cases are important: Faith in our legal and political systems depends on fair access to and representation in the courts.

As in the past, there is a disturbing symbiosis of the media and activists feeding off each other. When Biden was viewed as the likely winner, theories of voting irregularities instantly became “conspiracy theories.” Groups like the Lincoln Project targeted law firms and launched a campaign to force lawyers to abandon Trump as a client.

This effort resulted in Twitter blocking the Lincoln Project for targeting individual Trump lawyers in a tweet (accompanied by a skull-and-crossbones emoji) that was deemed threatening and abusive. That only seemed to thrill the Lincoln Project. It reportedly joined Democrats in targeting law firms like Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur and threatening its lawyers with professional ruin. It claimed that any firm working for Trump on election litigation was part of a “dangerous attack on our democracy.” Trying to strip people of their counsel, of course, is the real attack on our democracy — and it worked: The firm buckled and withdrew, saying the pressure caused internal struggles and at least one lawyer’s resignation.

Other campaigns have targeted individual lawyers and what used to be called “fellow travelers” during the McCarthy period. After the election, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for liberals to assemble enemies lists of those “complicit” in the Trump administration. (Ironically, the first entry by a Bernie Sanders surrogate were the Republicans who founded the Lincoln Project). Former Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan proudly tweeted: “WH staff are starting to look for jobs. Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values.”

However, the effort to intimidate lawyers representing Trump or his campaign is not about vengeance. It is about insurance. Even though the success of these challenges is small and shrinking, opponents do not want to risk any judicial scrutiny of the vote. Social media campaigns targeted the clients of firms like Jones Day, while the Lincoln Project pledged $500,000 to make the lives of these lawyers a living hell. It is the kind of tactic used by Antifa and other activists to “deplatform” speakers or harass individuals at their homes.

Trump is highly unpopular with many Americans — and virtually all of the media — so it is popular to harass anyone who supports or represents him. It is mob justice targeting the justice system itself. Yet, lawyers like Eliason are applauding the effort.

Eliason justifies such harassment by saying the Trump campaign and Republican groups “have filed lawsuits that appear to contain baseless allegations of fraud and that seek to have lawful votes rejected.” Note the word “appear.” Eliason did not know when he wrote the column because he has not seen the evidence. Neither have I. We only began to see underlying evidence (or the lack thereof) this week as courts held hearings into pending motions. It is the difference between wanting something to be true and knowing something to be true. That is generally what courts determine.

Yet, there is little patience for discussing, let alone litigating, these legal issues. On Friday, I discussed these challenges, including a Michigan district where thousands of Trump votes were initially tallied as Biden votes; the district used the same voting software that has been the subject of much national debate. While I explained that the mistaken tally resulted from human error and nothing “nefarious,” the question remains whether such new systems or software might be vulnerable to human errors. Despite my stating there was no evidence of systemic problems, Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos denounced me as akin to a “Holocaust denier” who should be fired.   I was accused of “both sideism” for discussing the claims of the Trump campaign, even when noting that Biden appears the duly elected president.

Notably, the person most undermined by these efforts is Joe Biden. Rather than call for a transparent review of these cases to affirm his legitimacy as president-elect, his supporters are harassing lawyers and running a hysterical campaign of retaliation. It is an ironic twist: For years, many of us marveled at how guilty Trump looked in his efforts to bully accusers and scuttle the Russia investigation. The best thing for Trump would have been to support a full, open investigation. Likewise, there is no compelling evidence of systemic election fraud now, and the best thing for Biden would be to support a full, open investigation. Threats and biased media coverage only deepen the suspicions of Trump voters.

There is an alternative. We can all agree that every vote should be counted and every voting case be heard. Our political and legal systems both require a leap of faith — and this crisis of faith has now moved from the political to the legal system. Courts are supposed to be where reason transcends the rage that reigns outside the courthouse. However, it still requires lawyers.

400 thoughts on ““The First Thing We Do”: The Lawless Campaign To Harass Lawyers Representing The Trump Campaign”

  1. Fox Meet Henhouse

    What’s worse than the fox guarding the henhouse? The fox building the henhouse.

    Voting machines and software are now the center of attention in this contested election. One of the largest providers of such systems is Smartmatic. Peter Neffenger is the company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is now a member of Joe Biden’s transition team. I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on — that stinks to high heaven.

    The corruptibility of those voting systems is *not* a partisan issue. Countless individuals and organizations have been sounding a warning, long before this election. For example, Senator Ron Wyden (a Democrat) introduced the “PAVE Act” (co-sponsored by democrat luminaries such as Booker, Warren, Sanders). Said Wyden of the Act: “The PAVE Act scraps insecure voting machines that are juicy targets for hackers and replaces them with reliable, secure hand-marked paper ballots.”

    1. Speaking of foxes guarding the henhouse, there’s at least one fox deleting perfectly legit comments to JT’s blog.

      1. Thanks, Olly

        Thanks for the heads up. However, I have no ability to evaluate that report. It is, though, a bit hard to believe that Trump won CA’s EC votes.

        That said, the idea of placing vote-tabulating servers in a foreign country is pure insanity.

        1. However, I have no ability to evaluate that report.

          The CA EC count seemed far-fetched, so I too am skeptical of the authenticity. But given the insanity of off-shoring the storage of our voting system results, nothing would surprise me at this point.

  2. All affected persons, including blog moderators, are encouraged to carefully review the following information in connection with their moderation decisions. They will recognize that it is intended as satire to foster discussion on important issues relating to the role of the government and the media, the rule of law, and free speech.

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    Washington, DC (Authorized for Release through Approved Information Channels) – The Party today announced new guidance for professionals in the legal and accounting sectors. This guidance is intended to promote constructive alignment among sector participants, their clients, and the Public Interest.

    The following guidelines are announced with immediate effect. Where appropriate to prevent future harm from past misconduct, these guidelines may be applied retroactively.

    1. Legal Sector

    Abuse of the legal system for partisan political purposes presents a clear and present danger to the administration of Justice.

    All attorneys serve as public citizens having a special responsibility for the quality of Justice. They are reminded that their duty to represent the interests of their clients is not unlimited. The Rules of Professional Conduct require that all representations be carried out within applicable guidelines. Attorneys should be alert to situations where the representation of certain clients, or the advocacy of legal positions contrary to Party-aligned interests, may place them in conflict with their ethical obligations.

    Attorneys are also reminded of their ethical duty to report other lawyers that have committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer. In those situations, the attorney shall inform the appropriate professional authority. See Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3(a).

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    Auditors, public accountants, and other financial professionals play a critical role in ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial information. They are in a unique position to detect fraud or other financial transactions inimical to Party-aligned interests. Auditors are encouraged to apply heightened efforts to identify and report any such activity as a matter of public responsibility.

    In addition, auditors should exercise special care when reviewing financial information relating to Party-aligned organizations or affecting Party-aligned interests. In those situations, strict adherence to generally applied accepted accounting principles (GAAP) may be inappropriate and even dangerous.

    To ensure adherence the to foregoing principles, the Party will promulgate new rules expanding the authority and responsibilities of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in relation to its oversight authority.

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      1. Ha, ha, ha…. You are unable to make your case so you send people to an article. Then you are unable to extract from the article anything that proves Biden didn’t actually make a Freudian slip and or was showing signs of dementia.

        Go back to the video above.

        1. Bringing up the issue of dementia, noted academic and investigator of media hoaxes, James Fetzer PhD, notes that an identity double impersonated Joe Biden at the televised debates. Since these debates were an official campaign event and citizens who viewed these debates and subsequently made voting decisions based on their impression that this was the real Joe, hasn’t he forfeited the election by fraud?

        1. Ha, ha, ha, maybe you can make the case for the first anonymous. He needs all the help he can get. Or are you in the same boat as he, not knowing much of anything?

            1. Anon @ 9:33 AM, that’s why I didn’t respond to the childish comment from the other Anon @ 8:42 AM. No need for me to write up my own statement about something that’s already debunked in a fact check.

      2. The article you cite, written by some leftist presstitute, contains not an scintilla of evidence that Biden intended, in any way, shape, or form, to refer to some purported anti-fraud measures. So your citation is total rubbish that fools nobody, not even dumb leftists. The fact remains that Biden has NEVER, at any point in his life, been concerned with fraud of ANY kind, let alone voter fraud. Just the opposite. Biden’s entire life has been devoted to lying and fraud. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that Biden meant exactly what he said. He did, indeed have “the most extensive and inclusive VOTER FRAUD ORGANIZATION IN HISTORY.” This is one of those rare moments when Biden has confessed to his countless sins.

  3. Professor Turley, on what basis did you “explain” that the computer software that reassigned 6 k votes in Michigan from Trump to Biden was “human error?” Were you there? Are you a computer expert? Or did you get it from CNN? That is already more evidence of election tampering than the left was able to find in 2 years with 40 million in taxpayer money spent. Furthermore, although I know lawyers don’t deal much in common sense, we are supposed to believe that Joe Biden magically made up an 800k vote lead in PA with legitimate ballots. It doesn’t make sense. Time is the enemy of the truth right now. The Democrats ran down the clock for over a week counting ballots, a task they were expected to perform in one day, and yet now Trump’s side is supposed to respect the timeline. None of it is fair. All of it stinks to high heaven. And what it means is that in future, we might as not even bother to cast our votes because Big Brother has already decided what’s best for us.

    1. You have to excuse JT. He doesn’t get his “news” from reliable sources. He depends solely on presstitutes from the mainstream media. He’s addicted to leftist propaganda.

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