Trump Is Willing to Pay for Joint Defense for Hope Hicks, But Not for France

As I laid out last week, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

I keep coming back to this exchange between Dana Bash and Rudy Giuliani over the weekend.

BASH:  But let’s just focus on one of the things that you said…


BASH: … that there is no evidence — you say that the special counsel hasn’t produced evidence.

But they haven’t said that they have no evidence. They have — you say that there have been leaks. They have been remarkably tight-lipped, aside from what they have had to do with indictments and such.

GIULIANI: No, they haven’t. They leaked reports. They leaked reports. They leaked meetings. They’re leaking on Manafort right now. They leaked Cohen before it happened.

BASH: But this is an ongoing investigation. We don’t really know what they have and what they don’t have. That’s fair, right?

GIULIANI: Well, I have a pretty good idea because I have seen all the documents that they have. We have debriefed all their witnesses. And we have pressed them numerous times.

BASH: You have debriefed all of their witnesses?

GIULIANI: Well, I think so, I mean, the ones that were — the ones that were involved in the joint defense agreement, which constitutes all the critical ones.

They have nothing, Dana. They wouldn’t be pressing for this interview if they had anything. [my emphasis]

Rudy asserts that every critical witness is a member of a Joint Defense Agreement involving Trump.

That’s a big Joint Defense Agreement. It also suggests that if Mueller can learn who is in it, he’s got a map of everyone that Trump himself thinks was involved in the conspiracy with Russia.

Some people will be obvious — not least, because they share lawyers. Witnesses with shared lawyers include:

Erik Prince, Sam Clovis, Mark Corallo (represented by Victoria Toensing)

Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Don McGahn (represented by William Burck)

Don Jr, Rhona Graff (represented by Trump Organization lawyer Alan Futerfas)

Almost certainly, it includes the key witnesses who’ve been moved onto various parts of the Reelection campaign, including 2020 convention security head Keith Schiller (represented by Stuart Sears) and Brad Parscale (defense attorney unknown).

Others are obvious because we know they’re centrally involved — people like Jared Kushner (represented by Abbe Lowell) and Hope Hicks (represented by Robert Trout). Indeed, Hicks may also fall into the category of shared lawyers — at least from the same firm — as Trout Cacheris & Janis got paid $451,779 by the RNC in April for representing Hope and two other witnesses.

One implication from this (which would be unbelievable, if true) is that Paul Manafort remains a part of the Joint Defense Agreement. But that is the only way that Trump can assess his vulnerability — as he has in the past, and appears to have shared with the Russians — to go exclusively through Manafort.

There are other implications of claiming that every critical witness is part of the Joint Defense Agreement — including that the Attorney General (represented by Iran-Contra escape artist lawyer Charles Cooper) must be part of it too. So, too, must Stephen Miller (defense attorney unknown).

But here’s the really telling thing. A key part of Trump’s foreign policy — one he’ll be focusing on relentlessly in advance of next week’s NATO summit — is that other members of the United States’ alliances are freeloaders. He’s demanding that NATO members all start paying their own way for our mutual defense.

But Trump is willing to make sure that those protecting him get paid (even if he’s not willing to pay himself). (I stole this observation from an interlocutor on Twitter.)

Which is saying something about what Trump is willing to do when he, himself, is at risk.

24 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is famous for having others pay his bills.  Interesting how many people are involved, because they joined Russia in helping to elect the Don.  They are in potential legal jeopardy because of him.  But someone else is paying their legal bills – not the people personally, and not the Don – which helps keep them quiet.

    Millions of dollars, as it happens. It’s not gift, it’s hush money. It should be classed as income – including to DJT – to those receiving valuable services they are not paying for, I should think.  How does the accounting go, I wonder.

  2. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The Cohen situation is getting very meta. SDNY hasn’t moved to indict, Cohen and Lanny Davises familiar with his thinking are generating headlines saying that he’s going to tell the truth without telling any truths. Very phony war.

    • bmaz says:

      They have had enough to indict Cohen from the get go of (i.e. before) the search warrants. But there is an evidentiary attribution dynamic that makes it smart for them to wait until the public knows they are in possession of the evidence they are in possession of through Kimba Wood and Barbara Jones. There is a little kabuki, but it is an age old one, and makes sense here.

        • bmaz says:

          No, I mean a proper and appropriate counter intelligence investigation.

          And, yeah, there IS a difference. Don’t put words in our mouthes.

        • quake says:

          Sorry if you thought I was trying to put words in your mouth. That wasn’t my intention at all. I just wanted to know what you meant by “there is a little kabuki, but it is an age old one, and makes sense here.”

          And, by the way, what constitutes “a proper and appropriate counter intelligence investigation” in this particular case?

        • SteveB says:

          @ quake
          Re “what constitutes ‘ a propert and appropriate counter intelligence investigation’ in this particular instance”

          Let me have a go at that:-

          One which is
          1 founded on a rational analysis by
          2 vetinary surgeons that
          3 Tumpers are mad dogs
          4 infected by
          A greed
          B lust for power
          C malicious foriegn bodies
          4 requiring humane but terminal intervention

          WTF do you think?

        • quake says:

          Um, I think you might be a troll. In any case, your reply doesn’t move the discussion forward.

  3. bmaz says:

    Re: Trump willingness to pay: Old habits (of stiffing everybody in sight you have relied on) die hard.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No, the Brits are finally paying attention to how weird and incoherent their government is on Brexit, and how much Vlad helped the Brexiteers, cause, you know, what’s good for Vlad is good for everyone.  Not to mention the hard right Tories will do anything with anyone to avoid a real Labor government.

  4. Kick the darkness says:

    Re: “here is an evidentiary attribution dynamic that makes it smart for them to wait until the public knows they are in possession of the evidence they are in possession of through Kimba Wood and Barbara Jones.”

    Sorry reply button not working. And not trolling. Interested in what you mean here, since, from a non-expert perspective, it’s been seemingly crickets from SDNY. And Cohen walking around saying all kinds of stuff interpreted in all kinds of ways. In a general way one senses chess pieces being moved into position. But here in SoCal it’s turning into a long hot summer. BTW, thanks for all the great stuff EW.

      • Kick the darkness says:

        now reply works….   “Crickets from” meaning…enough evidence to do dramatic raid…so looking for something…no indictments yet.  Perhaps “crickets” is unfair; I don’t know how fast one necessarily expects the wheels to turn in this situation.  However, my impression was that bmaz was offering an explanation for why expected indictments have not happened yet, and I was trying to understand what they meant.  Perhaps I’m not the only legally challenged one tuning in an effort to glean where things are and what might lie ahead.

        • Rayne says:

          it’s been seemingly crickets from SDNY.

          There are more than one investigation in progress that although separate may be affected.

          There are both criminal AND counterintelligence investigations — the latter may never be fully disclosed to the public.

          There are/may be crimes and active measures in progress.

          All of these are reasons why we may not see output from Special Counsel or from SDNY on a regular basis.

          In other words, learn to enjoy the song of the crickets, which chirp faster when it’s hot, and slower when it’s not.

        • Kick the darkness says:

          Thanks.  Funny-ran into the crickets/thermometer project at a science fair awhile back.

  5. Chetnolian says:

    Sadly the Brexiteers (just like the Trump base) did not need  to be told by anyone to be the way they are but it sure looks like Russia helped them reach the 52%.

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