Thursday, May 25, 2017

The White House’s Aversion to Ethical Scrutiny; New York Times, May 25, 2017

Editorial Board, New York Times; 

The White House’s Aversion to Ethical Scrutiny

"Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department disagreed, saying on Tuesday that its ethics experts “determined that Mr. Mueller’s participation in the matters assigned to him is appropriate.” Mr. Mueller did not represent Mr. Kushner nor Mr. Manafort while at WilmerHale, a firm that employs 300 lawyers in Washington and 1,200 globally. Nor was Mr. Mueller privy to any confidential information about their cases, a state of affairs that satisfies both District of Columbia and federal rules.

Why would White House lawyers pursue such a baseless line of attack? “They’re trying to use the ethics rules to fire a special prosecutor,” Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House, said. “That’s insane.” If the Bush administration had told him to concoct legal justifications for evading ethics rules and legal inquiries in this way, Mr. Painter said, “I’d have quit.”"

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