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News and Gossip in the Trumpian World

Vivia Chen

August 16, 2018

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I swore that I would avoid news associated with our Dear Leader for the rest of the summer. Alas, that was not to be. Here's a quick look at things Trumpian:

Former Foley Lardner associate is the latest darling of the far right. Who says Big Law spawns only unrepenting liberals? Behold Corey Stewart (on left), the Republican Senate nominee from Virginia, who's garnered the enthusiastic support of President Trump.

The New York Times describes Stewart as someone who "has styled himself as a champion of the Confederacy and its statues, and, as he puts it, “taking back our heritage." Though he hails from Minnesota—like his Democratic opponent Tim Kaine (remember him?)—Stewart has become quite the apologist for the alt-right movement. 

Not only has Stewart embraced Trump’s statement that there were "very fine people on both sides" at the Charlottesville protest last year, but he also "contended that that the term 'white supremacist' was a concoction of the left." 

While at Foley (he was senior counsel there from 2005 - 2009; before that, he was an associate at Gardner Carton & Douglas) in Washington, D.C, Stewart was elected chairman of the Prince William County Board in 2006 and started to take an anti-immigration stance. Under his tenure, "Prince William County began questioning arrestees about their immigration status, then turning them over to federal agents," reports The Times. 

So how did the firm react to his extracurricular activities? Not well. "Some of the partners at the firm didn’t like that very much," Stewart told The Times about his anti-immigration measures, adding, "it became uncomfortable." So uncomfortable, it seems, that he he left the firm in 2009 and practiced international trade law solo. 

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that Foley Lardner is not pouring money into his senate run.

White House employees are like mistresses. As every middle schooler knows by now, NDAs (non-disclosure agreements, for those of you blissfully out of the loop) are the must-haves for rich men who want to keep their paramours quiet after the lust has faded. But why limit NDAs to mistresses?

President Trump has expanded the practice to cover White House staff members as well! According to Kellyanne Conway, reports Politico, everyone who works in the West Wing signs NDAs. 

Pressed about former White House communications director Omarosa Manigault Newman's claim that she was offered $15,000 a month to keep silent about her tenure, Conway said on ABC's "This Week" that it's "typical, and you know it, to sign an NDA … in any place of work." She added: "I’d be shocked if you didn’t have one at ABC." She also noted that Newman had sign an NDA on "The Apprentice," implying that it's just standard procedure. "We’ve all signed them in the West Wing. And why wouldn’t we?"

Hey, if it's good enough for mistresses and reality TV stars, why not government employees? My only question: Where was that $15,000 a month payment coming from? It's hard to imagine that Trump would dip into his own pockets to pay anyone off. Oh, dear, does that mean it's part of the White House budget?

And speaking about your tax dollars: Ex-Big Law partners spearhead DOJ's "Religious Liberty Task Force." You might not realize this, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions says there's a "dangerous movement" afoot to erode religious freedom. To counter that, reports Law.com, he's appointed former Foley & Lardner partner Jesse Panuccio, the acting associate attorney general, and former Kirkland & Ellis partner Beth Williams, head of the DOJ’s legal policy office, to oversee faith-focused measures.

According to Sessions, the danger to religious liberty has “gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a 'hate group' on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs."

Indeed, there's a brutal war against Christmas, and we must protect our right to say Merry Christmas at all cost.

Must read. Very powerful piece in Politico: "Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I'm His Uncle." Yes, he's as endearing as he looks.

 

vchen@alm.com

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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