Trump’s Lawyer Is Legitimately Terrible at His Job

Given the mounting legal problems Donald Trump is facing and his frequent refrain that he only “hire[s] the best people,” you’d think the president’s legal representation would be top notch. Instead, he has John Dowd.

In the span of the past few days, Dowd has demonstrated himself to be some combination of incompetent, dishonest and/or ineffective. His performance as Trump’s personal attorney might as well be a metaphor for the entire White House at this point.

It all started on Saturday when Trump tweeted an inadvertently incriminating message: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

Although Trump was clearly attempting to cover his own butt after Flynn admitted he had contacted Russia at the urging of the Trump transition team, his tweet only did more damage. Political analysts were quick to point out that in saying he knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI and subsequently pressured FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation anyway, the evidence that Trump committed obstruction of justice is now overwhelming.

It looked like one of Trump’s tweets would finally sink him after all. Considering that no one seems to have control over Trump’s behavior on Twitter, the immediate assumption was that there was no way Trump’s lawyers would have approved that tweet.

Enter Dowd. According to the lawyer, he not only approved the tweet, he was the one who wrote it and had it sent from Trump’s account. Essentially, he’s claiming that he incriminated his own client. “I’m out of the tweeting business,” Dowd laughed. “I did not mean to break news.”

It’s no laughing matter, though. Richard Painter, who served as the top ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, said that representing a client that poorly is grounds for disbarment. Separately, Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “If John Dowd truly wants to take responsibility, he has to resign from the president’s legal team.”

Certainly, a mistake that major would warrant Dowd stepping down, or at least being fired by Trump for making him appear more culpable. That’s why so many people outside of the administration assume that Dowd is lying to deflect blame off of Trump.

For starters, you’d have to be the lousiest attorney ever to want your client to tweet about sensitive legal matters. Almost any lawyer worth his salt would urge their client to stay silent to avoid further ramifications.

The biggest smoking gun, however, is that pretty much any lawyer, especially one as veteran as Dowd, would know that the past tense of plea is “pleaded” not “pled,” as was written in the Tweet. It’s almost implausible that Dowd could have drafted that message with that error.

If Dowd is covering, going out of his way to look incompetent has already been rendered pointless. A second White House lawyer, Donald McGahn, now says he and Sally Yates had warned the president that Flynn had lied to the FBI well in advance of Trump actually firing him.

That revelation makes the case for obstruction of justice even stronger, of course, but have no fear, Dowd has a new argument for avoiding such charges: the president can’t obstruct justice!

“The president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer… and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd told Axios.

To be clear, the argument is essentially that the president is above the law. Fortunately legal scholars pretty uniformly reject Dowd’s interpretation of the law, which is probably yet another reason Trump could use a new attorney.

In a defamation case against the president, Trump’s legal team is trying to hide behind the Supremacy Clause to argue that a sitting president cannot be sued. If claiming immunity from the law is Trump’s best defense, then he not only looks incredibly guilty, but also more and more like a dictator.

So take your pick – Dowd could be ignorant to the law, an incompetent lawyer, an unethical liar or some unfortunate combination of all of those characteristics. Regardless, it’s looking like the president’s legal defense is as messy as the treasonous crimes committed by the administration itself. They’re almost making this too easy for Robert Mueller.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald4 months ago

T Rumps Midas touch. Everything, everything he touches fragments and falls apart, including All the Presidents Men around him sliding backward into stupidity.

Elaine W
Elaine W4 months ago

One of t rumps "Best People"

Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang4 months ago

Trump deserves an incompetent lawyer since he nominates so many unqualified people to serve as leaders in various bureaus and agencies.

Amanda M
Amanda M4 months ago

Karin Hanson, that's why I firmly think that GOP stands for Greedy Outdated Prats!

Amanda M
Amanda M4 months ago

Neither Twitler nor his followers could count to 21 without taking off their shoes AND dropping their pants. Talk about the blind leading the stupid!

Winn A
Winn A4 months ago

Morons both.

Debbi Wood
Debbi W4 months ago

John Dowd isn't as brash as trump's last lawyer, but he no brighter. trump likes gutter fights, none especially bright, in fact most probably barely passed the Bar Exam. Why would he want a lawyer smarter than he is?

Shelley W. seems to be a typical trump follower -- brainwashed and deaf to anything resembling facts or the truth.

Karin Hanson
Karin Hanson4 months ago

DumbDonald's entire administration is filled with the most ignorant, opportunistic. bumbling billionaires and litigators. Totally unbelievable that the Greedy Old Party still stands behind this moron.... oh, right, that's where the greedy applies!!

sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner4 months ago

Middle class people: All Politicians are dirty!

sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner4 months ago

These people are all dirty scammers! He's probably really good at buying Judges though!