WaPo has an overdue profile of Mike Roman, the guy who threatens blow up the Fani Willis prosecution by exposing a romantic relationship between her and prosecutor Nate Wade.
It describes how the guy who recruited a bunch of the most prominent Republicans in swing states across the country to sign onto fraudulent certificates claiming Trump won had previously served as — basically — a spy, first for the Kochs and then for Trump.
As Mike Roman spoke to a gathering of fellow conservative activists in March 2022, he offered a glimpse of the intelligence-gathering skills he had honed over the previous decade working as an opposition researcher for Donald Trump and Republican megadonors.
“I show my wife this all the time when we go to a hotel,” Roman told the crowd in Harrisburg, Pa., according to an audio recording reviewed by The Washington Post. “She logs on to the Hilton WiFi, and I go on and I ‘tap, tap, tap,’ and I show her everybody else that’s on there and how we could get into their computer.”
But it fails to make a few key points clear. Consider what it means, for example, that this is the guy that the Koch brothers would use to pick Republican candidates to back.
Roman’s unit compiled a “Weekly Intelligence Briefing,” with information about political races and recommendations about where the network’s donors should contribute, according to a person who worked there with Roman and spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the organization’s internal operations.
Or consider the real implications that Roman served in Trump’s White House in the guise of “vetting” candidates.
Roman was made a special assistant to the president and White House director of special projects and research, reporting to then-White House counsel Donald McGahn and earning $115,000 per year. Roman was a private investigator of sorts for McGahn’s office, responsible for vetting potentially controversial nominations, according to a former senior administration official.
“It would be like, ‘We’ve heard an appointee might have a shady business deal,’ or ‘Counsel is hearing something about a presidential nominee that could cause a huge problem for us. Can you figure it out?’” the former official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive White House work.
Trump in no way eschewed “appointees [with] a shady business deal.” His Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce had fairly astounding shady business deals, as did Trump’s son-in-law (though he was never going to be subject to vetting). The culmination of Don McGahn’s tenure as White House Counsel was installing Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and the rape allegations against Kavanaugh obscured further problematic allegations still further.
If Mike Roman was in charge of vetting, he let a lot of epically corrupt people through his “vetting” process.
So yeah, as I noted the moment the Fani Willis scandal broke and this story confirms, it was no surprise that any vulnerabilities Fani Willis had were discovered by Mike Roman.
Going on the offense against the prosecutor was a trademark Roman tactic, according to the former senior official on Trump’s 2020 campaign. “This is a classic Mike Roman move,” the former official said. “When I saw the filing, I said, ‘That’s Mike.’ It’s a good one.”
But once you understand that Roman’s focus has traditionally been trained on Republicans at least as much as Democrats, a lot else begins to make sense.
Update: As someone noted to me on Twitter, Roman had actually gone to RNC by the time Kavanaugh was nominated.
Update: Here’s Fani Willis’ response to Roman’s allegations. She doesn’t deny a personal relationship but says it post-dates when she hired Nate Wade. I’m not going to wade [sic] through it, but will link credible analysis when I see it.