Thursday, June 8, 2017

Marc Kasowitz Goes To Washington

I don't know much about Marc Kasowitz except that he's been one of Trumps thuggish lawyers.  I had read someone describe him as a "mafia divorce lawyer" but I don't know anything about that.   He looks the part, that much I do know.

Now that I've seen and heard him today, spinning Comey's testimony and now that I'm reading people who know more than I do pointing out how stupid what he's saying is,  I have a feeling he's going to be more like Baghdad Bob than the kind of presidential lawyer we've become used to seeing.

But Kasowitz made a significant error in describing the sequence of events prior to the memo’s disclosure. He claims the public record “reveals that The New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to be entirely retaliatory.” In fact, Trump posted his tweet about “tapes” of their conversations on May 12. The first Times article about the memos wasn’t published until four days later on May 16. While the Times did publish an article on May 11 describing the January 27 dinner in which Trump purportedly asked Comey for his loyalty, the Times cited officials who recalled Comey’s descriptions of the evening to them, not the memos themselves.

Kasowitz also described Comey’s drafted recollections as “privileged communications, one of which was classified.” Comey never described the memos as classified in his written testimony or in his answers to senators’ questions on Thursday. At one point in his written statement, he explicitly said he “immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn.” He also did not correct senators who referred to the memos as unclassified multiple times throughout the hearing, despite taking pains to avoid discussing potentially classified matters at other times.

It’s not clear why Kasowitz referred to the memos as “privileged communications.” Because Comey was not Trump’s lawyer, priest, or spouse, his conversations with the president would not be covered by the typical legal privileges. From the available context, it’s possible Kasowitz meant to refer to the memos as falling under executive privilege, which shields some communications between presidents and their subordinates from judicial and legislative scrutiny. But the White House explicitly said Monday it would not invoke that privilege to block any of Comey’s testimony. Even if the memos did fall under its scope—and it’s unclear if they would—his discussion of them on Thursday would therefore not be illicit. Executive privilege does not apply to disclosing documents to the public or the press.

And, of course the invaluable Charles Pierce has his take on it.

This is really not the way to go here, lad. You see, this argument implies that Comey's memos are accurate, which is Not Good for your fractious client. (And, hey, how about that Preet Bharara, the defenestrated US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and conspicuous antagonist of the current president*, sitting right there behind James Comey like Banquo's ghost? That was cool.) Nevertheless, Kasowitz kept digging.

You can read the excerpts from what Kasowitz said at Pierce's blog.  He ended his post on this thus.

Flat denials also are not the way to do it, not with Comey's memory and gift for crafting the critical memo. Remember when defending the president was any Beltway lawyer's golden ticket? Yeah, those were the days. If Kasowitz stays with his current gig, I expect to see him in a commercial on my TV late at night, asking if I have had an accident on the job or a problem with an arterial stent. Operators are standing by.

In that case, one expects he'll be shilling on FOX along with the catheter commercials and gold swindle comeons.


  1. "Even if the memos did fall under its scope—and it’s unclear if they would—his discussion of them on Thursday would therefore not be illicit. Executive privilege does not apply to disclosing documents to the public or the press."

    Even then, Trump would have to have asserted a privilege before the documents were released, and tried to enforce it against someone who is no longer in government employ.

    Which would put a few dings in the concept, no doubt.

    1. I think Dershowitz is angling for a role in the Trump defense. I think he should stick to getting off celebrity wife poisoners and slashers and leave this kind of stuff to people who know what they're talking about. That wouldn't be M. K.

      Of course, Dersh could just be looking to get on TV, I think if he lives long enough he'll follow his fellow attorney Geraldo Rivera in his career path.