President Donald Trump has new lawyer with old tricks?
Former Ronald Reagan U.S. attorney appointee Joseph diGenova, an outspoken critic of special counsel Robert Mueller and fired FBI director James Comey, will be joining Trump’s legal team, the New York Times reported on Monday — and what a history in the spotlight he has.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to February of 1998, when the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full throat and Fox News host Howard Kurtz was a staff writer at The Washington Post.
In a lengthy piece, Kurtz described diGenova and his wife/legal partner Victoria Toensing as a “classic Washington power couple” who “occupy a strange, symbiotic nexus between the media and the law that boosts their stock in both worlds.”
In this regard, it seems nothing has changed.
DiGenova said back then that he thought his 300 or so media appearances in the month after the Clinton affair broke were “very healthy.”
“We can destroy myths and shoot down misunderstandings,” he said.
What followed was “misunderstandings”:
Perhaps no recent incident has drawn as much interest and speculation as diGenova’s role as an anonymous source for the Dallas Morning News. The melodrama began when Toensing was approached by an intermediary for a Secret Service agent who was said to be willing to testify that he saw Clinton and Lewinsky in a compromising situation. DiGenova passed this on to Morning News reporter David Jackson (“Joe and I exchanged a few words over that,” Toensing says), and the paper published the story in its Internet edition, attributing the account to an unnamed lawyer “familiar with the negotiations.” But by then the intermediary had told Toensing the agent was backing off.
Hours later, the Morning News retracted the report, saying the “longtime Washington lawyer” had said the information was “inaccurate.”
DiGenova was that lawyer and he said the reporter, David Jackson, was warned. He said that the Dallas Morning News was “told not to print and they chose to print.
“I don’t know how much more helpful you can be to a newspaper than to tell them not to print,” he added. Jackson, on the other hand, remembered the conversation “quite different[ly].”
Now, let’s fast forward to more recent times.
Another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, confirmed the diGenova hiring and said he would be a “great asset.”
Why would that be?
DiGenova has made numerous appearances on TV and other statements — presumably to “destroy myths and shoot down misunderstandings” — criticizing the FBI, “dirty cop” Comey and Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Look no further than this Tucker Carlson segment from the end of January:
Was this was the moment Trump bellowed “Hire this man”? Or was it this one from four days ago?
Predating the Fox News slam of the Mueller probe as part of an elaborate and “brazen plot” to “illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton […] to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime” in the event that she lost the election, diGenova predicted that Clinton would face federal music for Benghazi.
In January 2016, he said on The Laura Ingraham Show that Clinton could face a criminal indictment over her emails and unsecured server in 60 days’ time.
As Trump’s new lawyer, diGenova will simply do what he’s already been doing for a long, long time.