Trump’s New Legal Defense Crew

Katie R. Ochoa

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

With Phil Rosen.


Trump defense lawyers

Clockwise from top left: Former Rep. Doug Collins; William Consovoy; Jesse Binnall; Alan Futerfas.

Clockwise from top left: Brett Davis/AP Photo; AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta; Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images; Mark Lennihan/AP Photo


1. ALL THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S MEN: Donald Trump has been dealt a string of legal setbacks over the summer. His business is facing criminal charges in New York, and Democratic lawmakers can now see some of his private financial records. Trump’s legal team is no exception to the turnover that often rules his world, but a mix of political allies, attorneys who cut their teeth representing mobsters, and once-unknown lawyers are his best hope.

Here’s a look at some members of the team:

  • Former congressman Doug Collins rose to national prominence during Trump’s first impeachment. He then failed to secure the GOP’s Senate nomination in Georgia. He has now rejoined a law firm in the state. Collins represented Trump when the former president decided not to try and block his former top DOJ officials from testifying to Congress about his efforts to overturn the election.
  • Alan Futerfas made a name for himself as a criminal defense lawyer representing mobsters. More recently, Futerfas represented Donald Trump Jr. during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Now, Futerfas is defending the Trump Organization as it faces tax-fraud charges.
  • Ronald Fischetti once worked with a top prosecutor on Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s staff in the 1980s. Not surprisingly, he’s now involved in helping Trump navigate Vance’s investigation. Along with working with mobsters, Fischetti also has experience working with politicians accused of corruption.

Read the entire list of the new lawyers in Trump’s corner — none of whom are Rudy Giuliani.


2. Biden says the Afghanistan withdrawal might not end on August 31: President Biden remains defiant in his decision to end America’s longest war, but now concedes it may not be on the schedule he previously set. Biden told ABC News that troops will stay until every American who wants to leave is out of the country, though he did not explicitly state whether that would require keeping forces past the current deadline. This would mark some of the first conditions Biden has put on a withdrawal.

A man cries as he watches fellow Afghans get wounded by Taliban fighters

A man cries as he watches fellow Afghans get wounded after Taliban fighters use guns fire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control outside Kabul airport on August 17, 2021.

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images


Other Afghanistan-related headlines:


3. White House pressures nursing homes over vaccines: Biden said he will leverage federal power to get nursing homes to vaccinate their staff, and instructed his education secretary to use whatever authority available to shield school officials who implement mask mandates for students and staff in defiance of statewide bans, The New York Times reports. The administration’s moves follow similar actions by US allies, but it puts Biden on a collision course with some GOP governors.


4. An Alabama doctor is reportedly refusing to treat unvaccinated patients: “If they asked why, I told them COVID is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that,” Dr. Jason Valentine, who works at Northside’s Diagnostic and Medical Clinic in Saraland, Alabama, wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post, AL.com reports. Since he took his stance, he said patients have reached out asking where they can get the vaccine. 


AP21115681777352

Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan, left, a Florida-based consultancy, talks about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican lead Arizona Senate at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as a Cyber Ninjas IT technician demonstrates a ballot scan during a news conference Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Phoenix. The equipment used in the November election won by President Joe Biden and the 2.1 million ballots were moved to the site Thursday so Republicans in the state Senate who have expressed uncertainty that Biden’s victory was legitimate can recount them and audit the results.

Ross D. Franklin/AP


5. County says Arizona election audit means $2.8 million worth of equipment needs to be replaced: Maricopa County’s GOP-led Board of Supervisors decided to serve notice to the Arizona state Senate, saying it may file a lawsuit if the legislature does not come up with $2.8 million to cover the cost of replacing election equipment “compromised” by a partisan, third-party review of the 2020 election. More on the latest fallout from the Cyber Ninja review that once hunted for bamboo ballots.


6. T-Mobile hack exposed 40 million people: The cellphone carrier says hackers stole social security numbers and other personal information from current and prospective customers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Investigators say the information has already been hawked online and could lead to future fraud. This is among the largest thefts of social security numbers.


7. EPA reverses on Trump-era decision, bans pesticide linked to children’s health problems: The Biden administration will ban the use of chlorpyrifos, “a widely used pesticide long targeted by environmentalists on food crops because it poses risks to children and farmworkers,” the Associated Press reports. Studies have linked the pesticide to potential brain damage in children and fetuses that could lead to reduced IQ, memory loss, and attention deficit disorders. More on the news.


8. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign purchased $153,000 in books after his latest came out: Cruz may have used up $153,000 in campaign funds when he was running for senator last year to buy his own book, Forbes reports. The Texas Republican’s campaign spent $153,000 at retailer Books-a-Million, though it’s not clear what books were purchased. It’s not illegal for US senators to buy their own books with campaign funds, but there are limits on what they can do with royalties.

  • Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz failed to properly disclose his book money: Gaetz made $25,000 in royalties on his pro-Trump tome, “Firebrand: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the MAGA Revolution.” The Florida Republican failed to include the information on a yearly form, appearing to violate House rules. His office said it was amending the form. More on Gaetz’s latest trouble.

9. China looks to regulate its wealth gap: President Xi Jinping said he plans to expand the country’s middle class and focus on “common prosperity.” Chinese officials also called for wealthier citizens to give back to society as they take a hardline on unequal wealth distribution. See the numbers behind China’s vision of the future.


rocket body explosions illustration space debris junk esa

An illustration of a rocket-body explosion in space.


ESA



10. Inside the first big space crash in a decade: A Chinese satellite seemed to have collided with a piece of a Russian rocket in March. A Space Force data log recorded the probable crash, which created 37 known bits of debris. Smaller, non-catastrophic collisions in space may become increasingly common, according to one expert — see how we can avoid more of these crashes.


Today’s trivia question: This weekend marks the anniversary of Hawaii becoming the 50th state. What day did the 50th star on the US flag become official? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected]

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