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Old 07-31-2017, 07:23 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Ty Cobb's mandate to defend the Office of the Presidency?

Trump appointed lawyer Ty Cobb to be the "White House special counsel". What exactly does that mean?

I thought he was kinda-sorta replacing Kasowitz, who AIUI was defending Trump personally. But Cobb apparently is charged with defending the office of the presidency rather than Trump himself.

Really? I have a hard time picturing Trump making any such attempt to defend anyone or anything but himself and his family.

An article in today's WaPo leads with these two paragraphs:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Garber, WaPo, July 31, 2017:
A new lawyer took the field last week in the Russia investigations: attorney Ty Cobb, appointed by President Trump as White House special counsel. Cobb’s client is different from those of the expanding list of lawyers working on Trump administration investigations issues; indeed, his client is the presidency itself. It is his job not to defend Trump personally, but to make sure the presidency as an office is not harmed. And there are indeed many ways in which the presidency can be harmed, perhaps with long-lasting consequences.

As a lawyer who has spent much of my career representing public officials and agencies — including three governor’s offices in impeachment proceedings — I am constantly reminded that the offices of the public officials are just as endangered by the investigative proceedings as the officeholders themselves. Cobb’s role will be to try to protect the office of the presidency from impediments that arise during the investigation, and to defend its particular privileges and powers from any incursion along the way. However you feel about Trump himself, every American should be rooting for Cobb to succeed.
I'd like to open debate, discussion, or opinion on what this really means. Is his mission really to defend the presidency rather than the president? Even if so, will he really do that (as opposed to defend Trump)? Is it possible (and possibly even within his mandate) that he might decide Trump is damaging the presidency, and that he must be impeached? Hard to imagine that, I think. Will he prove to be a shill who, in fact, defends Trump personally?

(To dispense with the obvious question: No, it's not clear if he's related to the baseball player. There was some vague claim or rumor somewhere that he might be distantly related and named after him, but that's the most I've seen about that.)
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Old 07-31-2017, 07:56 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Not a lawyer, but my expectation would be that the difference is between saying, "This man is innocent!" Or saying, "The Presidency is a role that one inherently cannot fulfill unless immune from prosecution!"

In a sense, I can see why Trump would prefer this to be the brand of lawyer that he has defending him. It keeps him free, regardless of what crimes evidence points to.

On the other hand, it might do less for his children, and he's banking on the Supreme Court agreeing with the above sentiment about the role.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:22 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
In a sense, I can see why Trump would prefer this to be the brand of lawyer that he has defending him. It keeps him free, regardless of what crimes evidence points to.

On the other hand, it might do less for his children, and he's banking on the Supreme Court agreeing with the above sentiment about the role.
My guess is that Trump figures as long as he can stay in office, he can protect his family members from any legal consequences they might face.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:58 AM
asahi asahi is offline
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I doubt Cobb's role will be instrumental to the question of whether Trump and his associates can be prosecuted. Clearly a sitting president is not immune from the legal system itself in terms of civil matters, and there does not appear to be any precedent protecting a president from prosecution after leaving office. The question of whether to remove him from office is also pretty much resolved as a political question, not a legal one.
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:24 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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To be fair, I don't think they'll go for the defense I described. I would assume that they'll say something more like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supposition
While not elected President yet, a person who is on the docket for the role in all 50 states has a reasonable expectation that he will be President one day, and it is reasonable to believe that those who he worked with on his campaign will join him in the White House in official roles.

It is not unreasonable for a Presidential candidate and his campaign staff to begin talks with foreign nations about future policy, while on the campaign trail. The President is the foremost Ambassador and Representative of the people to other nations, and it is not unreasonable for him to seek out an understanding of the sorts of foreign policy decisions he will need to make once elected, so that he can tell the American people what he is thinking before they elect him.

Candidate Trump was at no time anything but clear to those who elected him that he intended to work with Russia on a variety of issues, just as he was open to working with many other nations. It should not be any mystery nor surprise that the candidate and those who worked on the campaign were open to friendly discussions on policy with Russia, just as they were open to such conversation from many other nations. The President campaigned on a pro-Russia platform, and he was elected by the people with the understanding that this was his platform. There may be a vocal minority in the nation who believe that Russia is our enemy, but the voters seem to have spoken and proclaimed otherwise. Indicting the President because he worked forwards in the path he announced in dozens of public speeches on the campaign trail, as though this was all some secret plot is, not to mince words, asinine.

As to the matter of consulting with foreign nations about the possible financial crimes that their opponent may have engaged in, is this not something that the American people would want to know? The people of our country have a right to know if one of their candidates is engaged in criminal activity. If another nation is aware of such activity, it is indeed a fine balancing act to decide whether it is right to accept that information. In this particular case, the Russian government was offering to provide evidence against their own interest that the candidate's opponent, Hillary Clinton, had financial entanglements with the Russian government.

What the candidate himself would have chosen, if presented with this information, we do not know since the matter never reached him. But it does not seem unreasonable for his son to believe that this would be a piece of information that should be shared with his patriotic father, to make a decision on. How reasonable is it for a Presidential candidate to keep secret known collusion between his opponent and a foreign state, simply because the information did not come from an American source? Is it not his job to protect the country from foreign influence?

Last edited by Sage Rat; 08-01-2017 at 04:27 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-01-2017, 04:55 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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I can see the logic of having someone look at the defense of the Executive Office of the President in the context of all these investigations going on. There's sure to be significant overlap between this role and Trump's personal attorneys.

I suppose the test is what we see Cobb doing. If he's behind the scenes, analyzing how to respond to requests for documents held by the EOP, I can't say I'm alarmed by it. But at the same time, that seems like the primary duty of the White House Counsel, so I'm also kind of scratching my head at the significance of this.
  #7  
Old 08-08-2017, 01:34 PM
Bookkeeper Bookkeeper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I can see the logic of having someone look at the defense of the Executive Office of the President in the context of all these investigations going on. There's sure to be significant overlap between this role and Trump's personal attorneys.

I suppose the test is what we see Cobb doing. If he's behind the scenes, analyzing how to respond to requests for documents held by the EOP, I can't say I'm alarmed by it. But at the same time, that seems like the primary duty of the White House Counsel, so I'm also kind of scratching my head at the significance of this.
This may simply be another example of Trump wanting multiple people competing against each other in the same roles.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:28 PM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
But Cobb apparently is charged with defending the office of the presidency rather than Trump himself.
Isn't that the same as all the lawyers in the White House Counsel's office?
  #9  
Old 08-08-2017, 09:28 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Trump appointed lawyer Ty Cobb to be the "White House special counsel". What exactly does that mean?

I thought he was kinda-sorta replacing Kasowitz, who AIUI was defending Trump personally. But Cobb apparently is charged with defending the office of the presidency.
Every time I read this I picture Ty Cobb tricking Trump into going out into the Rose Garden, then changing the locks on the doors to the Oval Office.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 08-08-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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