LEGAL TEAM DEPARTURES



PREET BHARARA  - NEW YORK

SIGNIFICANT ATTORNEY GENERAL 

Former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was known as one of Wall Street’s fiercest watchdogs and a widely respected prosecutor.  He first refused to resign along with 46 US attorneys across the country. Although it is common for incoming administrations to replace district attorneys when transitioning to power, Trump had previously assured Bharara that he'd keep his job.  Bharara felt blindsided by the request. He was fired after refusing to comply.


MARK CORALLO 

Spokesman - TRUMP Legal Team

The chief spokesman for President Trump’s personal legal team, Mark Corallo, has resigned.  Corallo confirmed his resignation in an email to The Hill.  Politico reported Thursday that his resignation was due to growing frustration with operation and warring factions, as well as concerns over whether he was being told the truth.

Corallo, a veteran GOP operative, was working on the White House defense against special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  According to reports, Corallo had never met Trump or Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, before taking the job defending the president.

Last month, The New York Times reported that Corallo had previously used Twitter to criticize the president and his administration.  “Hey Mr. President, where's all the ‘winning?’” Corallo tweeted last month, appearing to reference former President Bill Clinton.  

He also used Twitter to criticize Trump’s reliance on son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, calling Kushner part of the “swamp” Trump promised to drain.  Corallo’s message also split from that of many other Trump allies, who were critical of Mueller.  Days before he accepted the role as Kasowitz's spokesman, he praised Mueller for his integrity and honor.

Corallo, a veteran GOP operative, was working on the White House defense against special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  According to reports, Corallo had never met Trump or Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, before taking the job defending the president.

Last month, The New York Times reported that Corallo had previously used Twitter to criticize the president and his administration.  “Hey Mr. President, where's all the ‘winning?’” Corallo tweeted last month, appearing to reference former President Bill Clinton.  He also used Twitter to criticize Trump’s reliance on son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, calling Kushner part of the “swamp” Trump promised to drain.  Corallo’s message also split from that of many other Trump allies, who were critical of Mueller.  Days before he accepted the role as Kasowitz’s spokesman, he praised Mueller for his integrity and honor.


WALTER SHAUB JR

US Ethics Chief,

Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. is turning in his resignation on Thursday.  The move follows months of clashes with the White House over issues such as President Trump’s refusal to divest his businesses and the administration's delay in disclosing ethics waivers for appointees.  Shaub, an attorney, has accepted a job with the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization of election-law experts.  

Thursday morning, Shaub told NPR that “the current situation has made it clear that the ethics program needs to be stronger than it is. At the Campaign Legal Center, I'll have more freedom to push for reform. I’ll also be broadening my focus to include ethics issues at all levels of government.He did not elaborate on what is so wrong with the “ Current situation," but Shaub has been sharply critical of Trump's approach to ethics compliance since the election.  The battle began in late November when the ethics office began issuing a series of tweets that mimicked Trump's style, exclaiming: "Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!”

The tweets were clearly intended as pointed satire, given that Trump had not promised total divestiture.
 And then on Jan. 11, shortly before Inauguration Day, Shaub spoke out at the Brookings Institution, causing a stir when he said Trump's plan for avoiding conflicts of interest "doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met."
Trump's plan involved moving his business interests into a trust run by his two oldest sons and a longtime business associate. Trump is the sole beneficiary of the trust.  Since the 1970s, presidents have moved their assets into blind trusts run by third parties.
 

Trump's trust is "not even halfway blind," Shaub said at Brookings. "His sons are still running the businesses, and, of course, he knows what he owns."
Since Trump began naming appointees following the November election, the ethics office has been racing to keep up with the workload. That involves reviewing appointees’ financial information to identify conflicts of interest and then negotiating with them to resolve or at least diminish any problems. 

For example, OGE might suggest a White House staffer sell off a business interest or move an asset into a blind trust.
But the small agency, with about 70 employees, can only advise on ethics — not enforce rules.
Many Americans have been calling the once-obscure office to report on, or demand action on, ethical issues involving the administration. That has caused a spike in OGE's workload, without an increase in staff.
The agency reports that during the six months between October 2008 and March 2009, as the Obama presidency was taking shape, it got 733 public contacts, such as calls, letters and emails. During the October 2016 to March 2017 period in the Trump era, it was swamped with 39,105 contacts — an increase of 5,235 percent.

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