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Pence Hires Private Lawyer for Russia Investigation

Laura Conway

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Pence Hires Private Lawyer for Russia Investigation

 

Vice President Mike Pence has hired a private lawyer to represent him in the special counsel’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the vice president’s office confirmed Thursday.

Pence has retained Richard Cullen of the law firm McGuireWoods to “assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel,” according to a statement from Pence’s communications director, Jarrod Agen.

“The Vice President is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the President agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter,” Agen said.

On Friday, when asked by reporters, Pence said the hiring of a private attorney was “very routine. Very routine.”

A source close to Pence said he had been interviewing lawyers for weeks to represent him. The source added that the vice president will not be spending taxpayer dollars to pay for his legal advice and representation.

Cullen’s hiring was first reported by the Washington Post.

Cullen is a seasoned federal criminal attorney with experience relevant to the assignment — he has handled politically sensitive casework as special counsel to former Sen. Paul Trible (R-VA) during the Iran-Contra investigation, he is a former U.S. Attorney, and he served on the House staff for Rep. Caldwell Butler (R-VA) during the Watergate investigation.

Cullen referred all requests for comment to Pence’s office.

President Donald Trump has already retained his private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, to represent him in the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russians.

NBC News has confirmed that Trump is facing a criminal investigation for possible obstruction of justice in the FBI investigation.

Trump has denied that and on Thursday he attacked the probe on twitter as a “WITCH HUNT” and said the charges of collusion between his campaign and Moscow as well as obstruction of justice were “phony.”

Via: NBCNews

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State-Sanctioned Murder: North Korea Killed Otto Warmbier

Riot Housewives

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State-Sanctioned Murder: North Korea Killed Otto Warmbier

The Kim regime likely released the American student so he wouldn’t die on North Korean soil. Now they need to pay for killing an American—and be convinced they can’t kill more.

North Korea killed Otto Warmbier, and that must affect U.S. policy toward both the Kim regime and its enablers, most notably China.

The 22-year-old American student, who arrived in Cincinnati on a medevac flight June 13 after being held captive in North Korea since January 2016, died Monday afternoon. He had been in a coma for 15 months.

The North Koreans claimed they released Warmbier on “humanitarian grounds.” That, like most everything they have said on the matter, was deceptive. They let him go, in all probability, because they did not want him to die on North Korean soil.

It’s unlikely their last-minute maneuver will make much difference, however. The student’s death, so soon after his release, is bound to affect American policy toward the Kim regime, just as the beheading of James Foley by ISIS in August 2014 affected the Obama administration’s Middle East policy.

At the moment, President Trump’s attempts to disarm North Korea seem to be in abeyance, as the White House waits for Beijing to help. Whatever one thinks of that approach, Warmbier’s death will add pressure on the president to act now.

Trump immediately issued a statement expressing condolences to the Warmbier family and condemning North Korea’s brutality.

 

Those sentiments, however, are not enough. Unless the American people are willing to accept tragedies like this on a regular basis, costs need to be imposed on the Kim regime.

American diplomats had been trying for months to obtain Warmbier’s release and that of three other American citizens held by Pyongyang.

The student had been prevented from leaving the North in early January 2016 after attempting to take down a propaganda poster. For the prank, he was charged with “hostile acts” and given a sentence of 15 years hard labor. His show trial took place the following March.

Pyongyang says he fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill soon after. The North’s officials also said Warmbier had contracted botulism.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center found no traces of botulism but did find dead brain tissue. They described his condition as “unresponsive wakefulness.”

In all probability, the coma was the result of severe trauma that prevented blood flow to the brain.

In any event, North Korean officials had tried to hide Warmbier’s condition until June 6, when Pyongyang’s U.N. ambassador disclosed the coma to Joseph Yun, the State Department’s special envoy for North Korea. Yun then secured Warmbier’s release after traveling to the North.

The consequences for the Kim regime now have to be far in excess of turning the State Department’s travel advisory into a travel ban, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Wednesday in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The costs have to be so severe that no regime, North Korean or otherwise, will think of harming Americans.

Washington, of course, tries to obtain the release of detained Americans, and to do so it always seeks to avoid offending regimes like North Korea’s. That usually works to free a particular individual, but the process creates incentives for future seizures of Americans. Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il, his predecessor and father, apparently thought taking Americans resulted in an endless stream of bargaining chips.

At some point—like now—Washington must switch its approach from rescuing individual Americans to preventing seizures in the first place.

What can be done? North Korea should once more take its place on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. No bank, including Chinese ones, involved in North Korea’s various criminal activities should be allowed access to its dollar accounts in New York. The U.S. should seize all dollar accounts of enterprises proliferating ballistic missile or nuclear weapons tech, equipment, or components to the North. The U.S., using authority flowing from Pyongyang’s various renunciations of the Korean War armistice, should interdict and then inspect all North Korean shipping for weapons or contraband.

Kim Jong Un continues in power because regime elements believe they are safer with him than on their own. The United States, which says it is not seeking regime change, needs to convince them they have no future if they support any regime killing Americans.

Washington, for decades, has always worried about the consequences of action on North Korea and therefore has done little. While it has done little, the Kim family has, among other things, counterfeit American currency, built nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and cyberattacked American businesses and institutions. And now it has felt secure enough to kill an American.

North Koreans thought it was safe to brutalize Otto Warmbier. Now is the time to make sure they never harm another American again.

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Trump’s Personal Lawyer Was Just Slapped With Multiple Bar Complaints

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Trump’s Personal Lawyer Was Just Slapped With Multiple Bar Complaints

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Mark Kasowitz just got hit with a pair of serious ethics complaints (embedded below) by lawyers in his home state of New York and in Washington, D.C. where he is practicing law today.

Kasowitz has become famous for issuing a typo-filled, but factless defense of Donald Trump as news emerged that President Trump himself is under investigation by Special Prosecutor Mueller.

However, he isn’t a member of the DC bar and seems to be advising government officials on Trump’s White House staff, who themselves could become witnesses or defendants in a future criminal prosecution of the President. The New York Law Journal reports:

Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit government watchdog group formed in 2015, filed its ethics complaint with the Washington, D.C., Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Board on Professional Responsibility on Thursday.

Separately, Neal Goldfarb, senior attorney and litigator at corporate law firm Butzel Long, lodged a complaint Tuesday with the Appellate Division, First Department, disciplinary committee in New York.

The more serious of the two complaints is with the DC bar since Trump’s lawyer isn’t a member, but is still practicing in the White House anyways. Lawyers can practice outside of their home states by filing what’s called an application for

Lawyers can sometimes practice outside of their home states by filing what’s called an application for pro hac vice admission, which lets them practice under the supervision of a member of the local bar.

But they have to make an application and declare this to the local Bar, and Kasowitz has not released any such documents publicly. The Campaign for Accountability explains that issue, and why Kasowitz’s advice to White House officials not to hire counsel yet, likely violated ethics rules:

District of Columbia Professional Rule of Conduct 5.5(a) provides “a lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.”  Rule 4.3 prohibits lawyers from offering any unrepresented party who has a potential conflict of interest with the lawyer’s own client with any advice other than that they retain counsel.

Mr. Kasowitz does not appear to be a member of the District of Columbia Bar.  As a result, by meeting with White House staff within the White House complex and offering the legal opinion that those staffers need not hire counsel, he may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.  In addition, by advising White House staff members, who are not represented by counsel and who have a reasonable possibility of having interests that conflict with those of  Mr. Kasowitz’s client, President Trump, Mr. Kasowitz appears to have violated Rule 4.3.

The New York complaint follows a similar legal reasoning about failing to encourage people to get their own lawyers if they’re concerned about criminal charges related to their employment under Donald Trump. It adds a separate allegation that Kasowitz improperly communicated with people in the White House are represented by other lawyers.

 Attorney Neil Goldfarb’s complaint includes a separate allegation that Kasowitz improperly communicated with people in the White House are represented by other lawyers, violating another New York bar rule.
 
Now, he’s brought a civil litigation lawyer from New York to DC that CNN calls a “fish out of water” to fight a massive FBI criminal investigation without a license.

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U.S. Office of Government Ethics: Trump Owes $315 Million in Liabilities to Lenders

Riot Housewives

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U.S. Office of Government Ethics: Trump Owes $315 Million in Liabilities to Lenders

A late Friday document dump by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics revealed that President Donald Trump owes at least $315 million in personal liabilities to several U.S. and foreign lenders, according to a federal financial disclosure.

The 98-page disclosure shows that Trump has at least $130 million in liabilities to the German lender Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as well as $110 million to Ladder Capital, a commercial real estate lender in the U.S.

The disclosure also shows that Trump reported an income of $594 million in 2016 and had $1.4 billion in assets as of early 2017. And before becoming president, he held officer positions in 565 corporations and entities, many of which had ended before he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

The White House issued a statement, saying, “President Trump welcomed the opportunity to voluntarily file his personal financial disclosure form,” which was “certified by the Office of Government Ethics pursuant to its normal procedures.”

 

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