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Never mind the party photos — Trump’s own lawyer proved the link to Giuliani’s pals

[Attorney John Dowd]

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

After Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested in October, they somehow managed to secure John Dowd as their lawyer. But Dowd was also the president’s lawyer. Because Parnas and Fruman could conceivably be in conflict with Trump, Trump would need to waive the conflict so that Dowd could represent them all (the waiver is for Dowd’s protection).

In what must have seemed like a good idea at the time, Trump waived the conflict.

Knowing what we now know, it was not a good idea at all.

The idea appeared to be that by lumping everyone in proximity to this burgeoning scandal into a tacit joint-defense agreement, the scandal could be controlled by starving the media and Congress for information. Add in Giuliani, Toensing and diGenova, all lawyers but also very much players, together with Dimitri Firtash, and “journalist” John Solomon, and nothing damaging gets out, yet the parties all enjoy attorney-client privilege running every which way.

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That is, the same parties that needed things from each other as part of the matter for which Trump is presently being impeached (Trump wanted Biden dirt, Firtash wanted charges dropped, Giuliani and Parnas wanted the US ambassador removed) were all sharing the same gang of lawyers.

But Parnas eventually came to see that his interests weren’t aligned with Trump’s (which is why it was an ethical lapse for Dowd to represent Parnas at all — Trump’s and Parnas’ interests were always in conflict), which brings us to today.

What I’m describing, though, is precisely why it’s preposterous for Trump to now feign amnesia about Parnas. Forget the myriad party photos of Trump and Parnas grinning together, it was Trump’s own attorney, Dowd, who said to a court in October:

“Be advised that Messrs. Parnas and Fruman assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump.”

Parnas literally worked for Trump according to Trump’s own personal attorney. And in order for Trump to have waived that conflict for Dowd’s benefit, Trump would have to have been advised by Dowd on the nature of their shared relationship.

(See also Marcy Wheeler discussing some of the same stuff in more granular detail.)

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