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Member since: Tue Apr 21, 2020, 02:48 AM
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What Will Happen to the Lawyers Who Aided and Abetted Donald Trump?

The legal profession is supposed to have standards.


Even before the 2020 election is decided, there has been an almost unnatural amount of attention dedicated to what comes next. Specifically, what comes next for Donald Trump and the potential criminal liability he may face in the coming years. Jonathan Chait has written about the moral imperative to hold Trump liable for his illegal conduct in areas ranging from white-collar crime to abuse of the pardon power to violations of the Hatch Act, as a means of restoring the norms and values of the law. Sam Tanenhaus has observed that perhaps the nation would be better served by a blue-ribbon commission, modeled on the Church Committee, to probe Trump’s wrongdoing. Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith differ only as to the wisdom of undertaking a criminal prosecution. But all of these inquiries elide a question that is almost more central to any kind of reckoning about what happened to the rule of law under Donald Trump: What is to be done with his enablers?

If Mary Trump is correct, and I believe she is, the ethical problem isn’t limited to Donald Trump. The problem is also the many powerful people who—under the guise of “minimizing the damage” or behaving as “adults in the room”—sanctioned, effectuated, and enabled rampant lawlessness ranging from family separations to attempting to bribe Ukraine into interfering with the 2020 election. Let’s just say it outright: Donald Trump managed to do what he did with the help of dozens of lawyers—lawyers who have either slid out of the public debate and into big law firms or continue to aid and abet.

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