The charlatan who has Trump's ear
Tom Fitton is no lawyer, but Trump listens to him. Why? Because he's saying what Trump wants to hear.
A note from Aaron: Sadly, my dad passed Saturday following a lengthy and courageous battle with leukemia. I put together a Twitter thread paying tribute to him and his life that you can check out here. I appreciate your support during this difficult time. You will be seeing less of my writing in the newsletter the next couple weeks, but thankfully I have lots of good stuff lined up from brilliant contributors like Lisa.
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During his sordid, lengthy legal history, Donald Trump has had some terrible lawyers — Roy Cohn, Rudy Guiliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis. The list goes on. But at least they were lawyers who possessed a passing familiarity with the legal system. In the classified documents case, Trump has had at least nine attorneys, and he probably could have avoided in an indictment altogether if he’d listened to their advice. Instead, Trump is taking the counsel of Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch.
Fitton is not a lawyer, but rather a combative conservative who has carved a path for himself as a nuisance litigant with an insatiable appetite for suing Democrats. Judicial Watch, which he helms now, was originally founded by hard-right attorney Larry Klayman, a full-blown “the Clintons murdered Vince Foster” type. During Hillary Clinton’s presidential run in 2016, Judicial Watch was the plaintiff in over 20 cases related to her. Given Fitton’s obsession with the Clintons, it was probably inevitable Trump would turn to him.
Fitton was also a fixture on conservative television during and after the Mueller investigation, defending Trump while also arguing that Hillary Clinton should be indicted. In 2020, Fitton was one of the architects of the idea that Trump should declare he won on election night and then say any post-election day ballot counting was an improper attempt to throw the election to Biden. This ignores that vote tallying never finishes on election night, and its failure to do so in 2020 was not a nefarious plot.
But Fitton really hit his stride during the Mar-a-Lago indictment case. That’s because Fitton is perhaps even more willing than Trump is to ignore obvious facts and to believe his expertise is far more valuable than it is.
Trump disregarded the advice of a real lawyer who was trying to save him
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