Trump Contacts With Bannon Could Send Them Both To Jail, Ethics Lawyers Warn
President Donald Trump’s contacts with former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon could violate the law, according to three former White House ethics lawyers.
Former White House ethics attorneys Richard Painter, Norman Eisen, and Virginia Canter warns that Trump’s contacts with Bannon, if they touched on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, could raise potential obstruction of justice. And you can almost be certain that that’s exactly what they did.
“We are deeply troubled by the news reports that Bannon, with the evident support of his cohort at Brietbart News, is urging the president to take action against Robert Mueller,” the three attorneys write, according to The Hill.
“Bannon may be taking on a representation role that would place him in conflict with his post-employment restrictions,” they add.
Former White House officials are barred from “contacting any part of the executive branch, including the president, with the intent to influence official decisions in any particular party matter in which the former official participated personally,” according to the attorneys. That would include the Russia investigation, which Bannon had a hand in coordinating the administration’s response towards before he was ousted by Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly.
“If Bannon urged Trump to hamper Mueller in order to prevent him from indicting misconduct by those involved in the Trump campaign, including Trump himself, that would present a possible obstruction issue,” they write.
The group concludes by calling for greater scrutiny of Bannon and his contacts with Trump since leaving the White House.
“We do not know whether any of this has occurred—but the contacts do raise multiple eyebrows and merit closer scrutiny,” the three attorneys write.
“If Bannon is continuing to direct White House responses to Mueller’s team, he could be in violation of the law,” they warn. “Another possibility is that Bannon could be attempting to ‘hamper’ Mueller’s probe by delaying the White House’s responses.” In either case, this illegal activity “could send them both to jail.”