All the President’s Lawyers

Jul 05, 2017 · 262 comments
Flag (NYC)
Trump uses lawsuits to intimidate. Merits don't matter. It's simply playground bullying. Kasowitz is perfect for the part. He's a bully, but no better tactically than his client. Punch him in the nose and he falls to the ground just like any bully. Just look at his failed trial defense of the Port Authority in the lawsuits arising out of the 1993 garage bombings. With all his bravado, his defense yielded a complete plaintiff's victory. Same for his cartoonish (and failed) representation of Trump against Timothy O'Brien and farcical (and failed) appellate loss in the Trump University case. Punch him in the nose and he'll fall down.
Ceece (Chicago, IL)
From the beginning I've felt like he's the leader of a bunch of small-time grifters from the big city. His people (including his family) have never had to undergo any kind of sustained scrutiny and now they are under the biggest magnifying glass in the world--the international press. These folks are too stupid to realize how over their heads they are. They honestly think that fact-based stories that show them in an unflattering light are 1) unfair and 2) going to stop if they just lob enough insults. Neither is true.
Concerned Citizen (California)
I was born and raised in NYC. Lived in the Washington D.C. area for 13 years. In NYC, you know (or you should) when something is coming. You are always on the defense for the next (fill in the blank . . . con, hustle, anything). D.C. is on another level. It is full of Type A people that are there to "take" and move on. You are asked "what do you do?" before your name. You are sized up based on your education, zip code and connections in seconds.

In D.C., what is coming isn't obvious, and by the time it is visible to you . . . it is too late.

His NYC real estate lawyers are not prepared for Washington D.C.
Stuart (Boston)
I don't hate Trump, the way that NYTimes readers hate Trump. I actually see him getting stuff done, because he is using Executive Orders while the Congress sits in stalemate. The difference between Trump EOs and Obama EOs is that Trump's people understand the economy and how you move the economic growth higher and get people employed. Obama, for all of his many virtues, had a very different agenda. The obsession with being the World's friend and changing the temperature of Earth is ridiculous. Earth's temperature will change from two things. One, population (euthanasia!?). Two, an economical alternative to oil. Period.

The fuss over Trump's business is silly and invoking the emoluments issue is a dead-end. Does Trump really care that he is making, somewhere in the bowel of his company, a few thousand bucks? Please... Does this influence his decision-making...this antagonist intent on breaking what most Americans believe is a system worth breaking? Can an owner of extensive privately-held assets really place them in a "blind trust"? No, he can't. Stop talking about it.

The Liberal objections, the Russian collusion "story", and all the protests are truly juvenile. Nobody cares.

Judge the jerk on his record. He is not a "rock star" like our attractive "First Black POTUS". He has orange hair. He is not quite the misogynist of the creepy 42nd POTUS (a sexual assault expert). And if the Democrats have a better strategy, win the mid-terms and the POTUS in 2020.

Please grow up.
Larry (<br/>)
I have 2 words for any lawyer thinking to work for the prez: Escrow account.
David Binko (Chelsea)
just watch who Trump pardons.
Fintan (Orange County, CA)
Sycophants, all. It is amazing what vague praise and a few bucks can buy.
tramalchioinwestegg (Havana)
If he had a modicum of humility and wasn't so enraptured of himself (like his client) he would have burned the letter instead of brandishing it. His "boy" has dangerous pharaonic like plans for all of us.
Frank (Sydney)
Trump chose a killer lawyer who had successfully defended high profile criminals ?

Makes sense.
John (Kauai)
While it is fairly obvious that Trump is a crook and a leader in the mafia families, I have to wonder about all the comments here that predict Trump's downfall. We've heard that story dozens if not hundreds of times and still Trump prevails. There are way too many denizens of crime, in both parties, who would be exposed if Trump gets exposed.

We might want to look to the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine and recognize the chaos and civil war that followed. Yanukovych, the President, fled to Russia. Without a strong Ukraine government, Putin annexed Crimea and has effectively sliced off the Eastern quarter of the country using questionable referendums that claimed the "people" voted for secession.

America is ruled by an Oligarchy that will have no problem initiating a "war" between the "crime families". One might think the Military will protect us, then then you should recall General Flynn, General Powell, General Petraeus, Lt. Col North, Admiral Poindexter, and a never ending list of men who seek power just for power's sake who exhibit a phony patriotism used to fool the legions of stupid.

The list of persons in government I trust is very, very short.

Then too, if Mueller et. al. get too close, Trump can always "push the button". A contingency that every President since Reagan has built on, convincing America that we must be "afraid, very, very afraid" of the hordes of boogymen in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, ISIS. They "hate us for our freedom". Ha!
Millie (New York)
The majority of seasoned, high ranking NYC court reporters have sworn Donald Trump in, sat next to him in his penthouse conference room, carefully listened, reported and transcribed his every syllable at at least one of his thousands of depositions he has been ordered to testify in in his over 4,000 lawsuits.
When we reporters occasionally get together a standard question nowadays comes with a chuckle: How many times have you worked one of Donald Trump's depositions?
Then the often comical, memorable, often mind-boggling, nonsubstanative stories ensue.
What our country is (not) buying tickets for now is the Theatre of Trump & Trump Lawyers that reporters in the SDNY have been attending for decades.
Preet Bharara has been a frequent theater-goer of Trump Productions as well; unfortunately, the production company has banned him from future attendance.
A sort of "club" exists in the legal community that only those intimately involved can comprehend when one listens to sworn testimony live, which includes not only words (truths or untruths), but body language, tone of voice, vibe in the room, personalities, etc.
Though the reviews may be mixed, this production is guaranteed to have a long run.
edward violante (glendale,az)
Donald Trump says he hates lawyers thgat disagree with him.Actually he seems to hate anyone who disagrees with him.His narcissism causes him to call all news in this vein :fake news.There is now some evidence that peaceful protest may be curtailed .This goes against our laws.Government is beginning to act like King George and people are responding with their own versions of the Boston Tea Party.Trump claims his inauguration crowds were huge.Aerial photography says otherwise.In fact,protests were and still are much larger.Then,there is his awful attitude towards women and their rights!Next,he may wish to rescind their right to vote He continually defaces his job in office to everyone.It is time for congress to retire him to put it politely.
Marlene Autio (Canada)
I am curious how the spin of these lawyers will challenge the detective work of Mueller's team. These shysters are willing to skirt the law for a win. that's all this is , a win. Not a battle of right or wrong, a win.That number 4,095. Has there ever been a president with a history of criminal activity this deep in America?
Deirdre Diamint (New Jersey)
Hopefully this crowd of deplorables will be prosecuted for money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering
Red Aries (USA)
This President and these so-called lawyers are the worst example of what a President and lawyer should be that you can find no comparison in history. All are cult of personality types, rising on the backs of the ignorant sycophants who support them. Enough of this reality TV show America, its time to change the channel!
Andrew G. Bjelland, Sr. (Salt Lake City, Utah)
For Trump the legal system and a stable of lawyers willing to play the system for all it is "worth" are basic to financial survival and material success.

Legal intimidation and manipulation are but specialized hammers hanging from this bully's tool belt.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
All these lawyers look like TV evangelists -- hawking something not quite edifying. Surely state bar ethics committees have something to say about Trump Law practitioners.
P Yaeger (Vienna)
This article started off promisingly but quickly degraded into paragraph upon paragraph of sweeping generalizations about "Trump Lawyers" and "Trump Law". Seems like more of an overgrown editorial than a Magazine feature.
Dennis D. (New York City)
When are those fools who love Trump going to fathom nothing he says should be taken seriously? Are we who despise Trump along with his admirers, Trump will say or do whatever is convenient at the time with no sense of conviction. Should you become an irritant to Trump he will drop you like a bad habit. Trump's hateful spoiled child rants hold equal credence with his overflowing compliments. Neither hold water. Trump does nothing for anyone unless he has something to gain from it.

N. Eichler (CA)
I would like to know who will be responsible for these legal fees? Will it be Donald Trump personally, or will these huge fees be paid by the government?
Robert Cadigan (Norwich, VT)
I keep on expecting Saul Goodman to show up.
Jack Sonville (Florida)
A Trump Lawyer has to be like a Trump Communications Person, or a Trump Financial Guy, or a Trump Wife, or a Trump Child: Trump is always right and never wrong and the Other Guy (lender, contractor, author, journalist, harassment accuser) is a horrible human being and scheming liar. So the Trump Lawyer is no different, other than having a law degree, than any of his other minions. Same toad, different pond.
M. Werner Henry (Smithwick, TX)
Who ever said... "crime doesn't pay" ??? Baloney !
Larry D Thompson (Florida)
Donald Trump is exactly where he should be, and in a position of his own choosing. Dead center of a circle of jerks. When this mess all comes together it will be obvious to all he has made a mess!
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
Amazing...the president's "lawyers" are the proverbial mouthpieces. It's shameful and it's wrong.
Perspective (Bangkok)
The country now needs courageous judges, and investigators and prosecutors who do NOT let the case(s) against Mr Trump play out anywhere but in the courts. The "president" is a criminal. He has long been a criminal, but his criminal behavior has continued since he entered the White House. Everyone is entitled to legal representation, but, as this article makes clear, these "attorneys" are PR flaks, not lawyers. (Why they are even granted attorney-client privilege is a mystery, in fact.) There is more at stake here than punishing Mr Trump for his continuing crimes. Our judicial system is a stake.
Wiley Cousins (Finland)
They are the means in how Trump justifies his ends.
Lee Rosenthall (Philadelphia)
Don't miss yesterday's episode of "The Daily" podcast for Michael Barbaro's riveting interviews with the author and attorney Goldberg. You'll get an even better sense of Trump's long history of filing frivolous lawsuits (something I thought conservatives loathed) and what a genuine mob lawyer sounds like in real life.

Positively chilling.
Nick (LA)
I still haven't seen any solid evidence anywhere -not here at NYT, nor at any other credible media outlet- of what crime it is exactly that Donald Trump is said to have committed.
Eleanor (Augusta, Maine)
Investigations take time. And Mr. Trump may not personally be "a crook"- although it is possible- but his hangers-on are a different kettle of fish.
Elana (Seattle)
Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Pete (Sydney)
Why don't sharks attack lawyers?

Professional courtesy.
Conor (New York)
A more interesting profile would be on the teams of lawyers that descended upon our airports to help defend refugees and others affected by the travel ban. There are great lawyers around the country that do fundamental work for society's most vulnerable populations. Lawyers (often as volunteers) help families stay in theirs homes, defend the wrongly accused, fight for each citizens right to vote and seek asylum for victims of domestic abuse.

Trump's lawyers represent the worst of our profession and shouldn't be given the attention that they (and Trump) crave.
njglea (Seattle)
Navigate Washington? No. It takes criminal lawyers to defend mafia figures and I hope The Con Don and his International Mafia buddies will be prosecuted and jailed under RICO - The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

NOW is the time - before they can destroy the world.
David Rosen (New Haven)
This has to be the same Jay Goldberg who sprang Norman Mailer after the arrest Mailer describes in "The Steps of the Pentagon" and about whom Mailer wrote, "after all is said and done, there's no lawyer like a smart Jewish lawyer." Those words inspired me when I was in law school.
David Rosen (New Haven)
oops, make that "The Armies of the Night."
Swannie (Honolulu, HI)
One of the first precepts of lawyer training is the fine art of choking on tiny gnats and swallowing camels.
Rocky Vermont (VT-14)
Trump learned at the knee of Roy Cohn who didn't care what the law was, just cared who the judge was.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
‘‘He’s trying to break in a new pair of shoes, and they won’t let him.’’ A more accurate description is that Trump is an elephant trying to break in a pair of high heels.
Elniconickcbr (Nyc)
This is a classic case study in how to "game" the system. A shady character who hides behind the veil of legitimacy and his mercenaries. The old adage is true "nice guys finish last".
Luke (Healdsburg, CA)
My pet name for Trump's legal team: The Swamp
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia PA)
Mr Trump's still solid approval ratings tell me more about us than him.

Coupled with his TV persona, swaggering pirate manner, fundamental disdain for anyone excluded from average and he is Joe the Plumber wearing a long tie.

His style of attorney can be found in any location where people are swayed by words and fear, which is to say a large swath of our nation.

We are indoctrinated from birth to live in a certain way and questioning that way, even innocently, can be costly in ways we don't imagine until the evening news reports another person killed while driving black.

Our President didn't spring on the scene sometime in the last couple of years. He laid the groundwork well before this goal was accomplished. His suits, however many thousand, have earned him more than they cost and defined a style that should not escape any of us.

He is American as the pie we claim to be our national dessert.
D.A.Oh (Middle America)
Still solid? He's mired below 40% in the USA, and half that worldwide.

He never had a mandate considering how few votes he received, and he keeps turning people away, playing his divide and conquer strategy to the ultimate.

He can't keep his charades up much longer.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
Ian is likely not a Trump supporter.

But your clinging to the Beltway notion that Trump is an "illegitimate President" and despised by the majority of America is the gross error in any of your calculations.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
A presidential election and four special elections later and you are still obsessed with polling data that is wrong?

Now I know he is getting re-elected in 2020.

Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
I'm genuinely concerned when we need to reference "The Godfather" more than once when discussing our President's legal team. Of course, we should be concerned when the President requires a legal team. We're not talking counsel here either. A full on media blitz, trial busting, legal wrecking crew. Maybe Trump really does intend to shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it. Shoes that won't break in? I hope Trump's legal difficulties treat him like concrete blocks dipped in molten steel and mounted to a pair of Triple E anchors buried somewhere near the bottom of the Mariana Trench. That might begin to restore my faith in the rule of law.
John Smith (Cherry Hill NJ)
TRUMP LOST In the 70s in his appeal of the government's case against him and his father for violations of the Fair Housing Act. Trump counter sued the government for $100 million. The suit was dismissed and Trump chose to sign a consent decree. I'm not expecting Trump to be able to wriggle his way out of the gaggle of troubles he's in. Not after he just demanded that all the governors send him ILLEGAL information about all registered voters nationwide. What could be more clearly in impeachment territory? Then Trump again engaged in inciting violence once again with a Tweet showing him wrestling someone to the floor whose face was covered with the letters CNN. Judge David Hale found Trump guilty of inciting violence when he told attackers to "get rid of" protesters at a rally, leading to injured protesters and their lawsuit. Face the facts: Trump is not only a huge failure as a businessman, he's a huge failure legally, morally and ethically. His attorneys may be crying all the way to the bank. But I expect that Trump is going to be tweeting all the way out of the Orange House to Trump Tower NYC and Mar a Lego.
fast/furious (the new world)
In 2012, Donald Trump sued beauty pageant contestant and former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin after she criticized the Miss USA pageant as rigged on her private FACEBOOK page. Somehow Trump learned of this, mocked and criticized Moonin on television - thus luring her out to defend herself in public so he could then sue her for defamation. Trump spent 3 years suing her and getting a multimillion $ default judgement against a 27 year old woman who was paying off student loan debt she owed to an online university.

Trump's lawyer in that disgraceful mess, Michael Cohen, went after a reporter at The Daily Beast last year, trying to intimidate the reporter: "Do you want to destroy your life? It's going to be my privilege to serve it to you on a silver platter like I did that idiot from Pennsylvania in Miss USA."

America, this is your president.
Carol Mello (California)
A vicious cretin. The kind of person no one wants for a neighbor because he threatens his neighbors with his team of lawyers.
JonathanG (Stoneham, MA)
I wonder how the number of Trump lawyers hired compares to the number of Trump appointees approved by the Senate...
WPCoghlan (Hereford,AZ)
Imagine all the taxpayer money spent on lawsuits by the vaporous occupant soiling the Oval Office.
morGan (NYC)
Yes, in the millions for sure.
4095 lawsuits in forty years of non-stop litigations.
That's over a 100/year.
I googled up trying to find if anybody in the history of mankind can even match his record?
But try telling this to his deplorable worshipers.
PJ (<br/>)
You should've looked harder. Just as an example, Your favorite company Apple is involved in more lawsuits per year on average.
Antonio Calabria, Ph.D. (San Antonio, TX)
Deplorable and demented...
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
It's really amazing that Donald is NOT a lawyer. I guess that Bar Exam is tougher than I thought. Or, it's really difficult to successfully pay a stand-in, and NOT get caught. Right, Donald?????
Carol Mello (California)
- the bar exam (as we have discovered, this president does not understand laws except defamation of character);
- the law school entrance exam (which tests the ability to think logically);
- that lawyers, as much as they earn, do not make the kind of money he has made, with the help of the best lawyers who were willing to work for him.
Jackie (Missouri)
Trump lawyers are not improving the reputations of lawyers in the United States. Kind of reminds me of the punchline of a lawyer joke: There are some things that even rats won't do."
Slow fuse (oakland calif)
Consulting the dust motes circulating around the studio. I predict the Kushner/Trump family will be found guilty of conspiring to,and engaging in money laundering in their real estate dealings Not limited to Russia
ROK (Minneapolis)
This bunch represents the very worst in the profession. The best of our profession - the lawyers who rushed to provide representation to the victims of Trump's travel ban.
William Menke (Swarthmore, PA)
A fanatic is someone, who, having lost his way, redoubles his efforts. A fair description of our president since assuming office. No wonder top lawyers are hesitant to sign on.
Carl (<br/>)
trump thinks his lawyers can clear him of anything. He has won in the past because of his enormous wealth and dedicated lawsuit and real estate lawyer staff. Fighting the Federal Government, however, is totally different. The US Government has unlimited resources, expert attorneys, The FBI, the CIA, and the LAW on their side. The US Government will not be intimidated by trump's bought and paid for shills...
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
39 bills signed, new Supreme Court justice confirmed, illegal immigration down, Veterans Administration reform that Obama never had time for is now a reality and Democrats are in a tailspin promising their base things that will never, ever happen.

Trump is doing fine and the majority of America loves the job he is doing.

Before you go citing polls and approval numbers, I'd just say winning elections is the best poll number, and Trump is doing fine there too - much better than Obama did losing over 1000 federal and state races for Democrats with his horrible policies.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
@Senate 27: 36 Bills? And just what are they? About thirteen are nothing more than *Disapprovals* of Obama legislation:

May 12, 2017: S. 496 - "An Act to repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled 'Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform'"

Another eight are under the heading :Ceremonial and initiative-creating legislation:

June 6, 2017: H.R. 375 - "An Act to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, as the 'Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and United States Courthouse'"

Another five- under the heading: Legislation that amends or expands upon existing laws:
June 14, 2017: H.R. 657 - "Follow the Rules Act"
This law protects federal employees from retaliation for refusing to violate a federal rule or regulation. It expands upon the protections of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1987, which shields employees from backlash for refusing an order to violate federal law.

And another five under the heading: Legislation related to funding or government operations:

May 5, 2017: H.R. 244 - "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017"
This omnibus bill provides $1.1 trillion to fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 2017).

The Proverbial *Devil* is in the details.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
Yet, he hasn't passed healthcare reform or tax reform. He undercuts his own party calling the bill "mean' then supports repeal and replace later at an unknown date. If the 'majority' you mean the base of the GOP then you are accurate. 60-65% of Americans disapproves of what he does. Our eyes are open and we don't mistake his lies to be the gospel as you do. Signing an executive order which isn't the same as legislation. But again don't let facts ruin a good story.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
63 million voted for him.

That number will go up by 2 million if the Establishment keeps trying to do "their thing" to Middle America that elects presidents.

See you right back here in 2020 to talk about it more.
RMS (Southern California)
In other words, Trump's requirement for his lawyers is that they be as unethical as he is.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
To be an effective Trump Lawyer: Sell your soul if you still got one, check. Be cold blooded as a great white shark, check. Lie on behalf of your client, check. Of course you need these qualities just to be a Cabinet level pick or be a press secretary in Trump's Adminstration.
PJ (<br/>)
If you read a little more, a unethical lawyer is one who does not provide best representation for this client.
One who does not subscribe to your view of morality is not unethical.
Drill Baby Drill Drill Team (Mohave)
Trump spends more per year on lawyer fees and retainers
THAN 95% of Americans make in income.
And since becoming President Trump, expect that to become more than 99.99% of Americans.
HighPlainsScribe (Cheyenne WY)
"When you don't know what you're talking about, just keep shouting and pounding the table!" Mueller and company will strip away the distractions and bare the skin of a man with no talent beyond lying, bullying, blustering, trash-talking, stealing, and the like. No knowledge, no compassion, incapable of character. There was never any plan but becoming the richest, most powerful, most covered man on the planet. At some point Trump will be at the end of the plank, watching half the rats swim away while the other half point their claws accusingly at him. Can't wait to see the look on his face.
Steve M (New Mexico)
The two most important words for lawyers representing Trump have to be "up front." Without a substantial retainer the chances of being paid for services rendered are slim to none.
Davide (Pittsburgh)
Thanks for that historically informed observation.
me (AZ unfortunately)
Most lawyers would not want to be mentioned let alone compared to Roy Cohn in the same sentence. But not Trump's lawyers. That says it all about them and Trump.
marymary (washington, dc)
All counsel who preceded Trump's counsel were good. Counsel to Trump are bad. Got it.
D.A.Oh (Middle America)
O'Brien's example is one of many. You write there are over 4,000 lawsuits, but another 4,000 were likely avoided by threats of financial pain or ruin.

Here's an example about how he strong-armed investors, from "Trump Went Broke, But Stayed on Top" (Hilzenrath and Singletary, Washington Post, November 29, 1992):
"Trump's lenders could have forced him into personal bankruptcy and stripped him of almost everything. . .

Instead, the bankers and investors to whom Trump owed money made a series of deals that left him wealthy. . .

They didn't do it out of charity. Rather, the lenders were reluctant to confront Trump in bankruptcy court, where they would face years of delay and massive legal expenses. In the end, lenders said, they feared they would recover less money in bankruptcy than they could get by striking compromises with Trump."

And how he strong-armed an ex-wife:
In 1999, Marla Maples told the London Telegraph, "If he is really serious about being president and runs in the general election next year, I will not be silent. I will feel it is my duty as an American citizen to tell the people what he is really like."
Attorney Goldberg went to the press to discredit Maples and withheld an alimony payment to "send a message." Maples went silent and cancelled a tell-all book deal.

Trump is a disgusting pig and it is reflected in his despicable lawyers who help him abuse a flawed court system that allows the wealthy to get away with anything.
gene (fl)
The reason Washington DC got so many lawyers and New Jersey got all the chemical dumps. Jersey got first pick.
Barbara (Stl)
Yes I'm sure Trump's lawyers practice 'Trump Law' but Robert Mueller, thankfully, practices Real Law.
Ivan Light (Inverness CA)
4095 lawsuits in 30 years averages to 11 lawsuits a month for 30 years. That's 4 a week or roughly one every other day. Trump retains and has retained a huge staff of attorneys whom he uses to intimidate and bully opponents, journalists, and authors. The lawyers don't have to win; they only have to harass and intimidate. It's disgraceful and unethical, but it's completely legal.
Pete Hanson (Wisconsin)
This article explains how Trump used the legal system to create his wealth. Using the cost of litigation to intimidate people and force unjust settlements. Using litigators to convince juries that black is white. The legal system has nothing to do with justice (civil or criminal); it is only a game created by lawyers to be played by lawyers and to enrich lawyers.
So the best 9 year old president we've ever had surrounds himself with lawyers, not surprising when you realize that he was a terrible business man and had to have them in order to survive. However running a country is not and never will be like running a business. So we elected a lawyer when we needed a diplomat, go figure. I just hope all those lawyers can insulate him when the bombs start dropping because the rest of us don't have that luxury.
cbindc (dc)
Trumps lawyers are capable only of threats for settlements. The problem is that Sessions is part of the ongoing Trump-Putin collaboration.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
The most telling sentence in this article: " Reality-­bending litigators who favor bold claims over careful persuasion,.." A perfect match for a man who's entire life has been one of Bending Reality to everyone else's demise-- except for himself, his family and various leeches who've benefited greatly. We've seen it in his business dealings; what he's done and those who've indulged the behavior: Lawyers, Municipalities; Courts- now Voters and Congress. This behavior will always be a win-win for Donald Trump even if he is impeached or resigns: The *publicity*of becoming President will never go away; the adoration from from his base- will never go away. The money made off the Presidency-- will not be undone. Donald J. Trump has accomplished what he wanted; The Biggest title of all; U.S. President.
Alison (NJ)
What is it with Trump and Valentine's Day?
PaulB (Cincinnati, Ohio)
This article makes a passing reference to Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy's belligerent chief counsel during the great Red Scare in the 1950s. The more I read about Trump, the more I see Cohn's influence on the man in terms of demeanor, slanderous accusations and power-driven relationships.

Cohn was McCarthy's hatchet man, destested and loathed on Capitol Hill, but a person who clearly enjoyed being the social pariah. As the article states, he mentored Trump during his early days as a fledgling real estate developer, and the student obviously inculcated Cohn's bravado and law-as-theater attitudes.

All of this was known as Trump rose to prominence and then launched his Presidential bid. You could reasonably conclude that Trump, channeling Cohn, blustered his way into the White House through bald-faced lies and unhinged assertions. Facts never seemed to have much appeal for Cohn; it was always about the headlines, the spotlight, the accusations, the trumped-up allegations against innocent men and women.

Trump's latest platoon of attorneys all share Cohn's legacy. As the Russian investigation unfolds, we are sure of one thing: Trump and his mouthpieces will attack anyone and everyone with demonic intensity. It's all they know.
northlander (michigan)
One nation, under Trump, with platiff 's attorneys for all.
john (22485)
A pair of sexist shoes that enjoy violating the Constitution, federal law, rules, morals, and human rights. Germany use to make shoes like that, and Italy. North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and Romania still do.
Nick (San Francisco)
We better not be giving them free lunch
Nina (H)
Hopefully that new pair of shoes causes foot pain and more (maybe resignation).
D.A.Oh (Middle America)
When we think of the Art of the Con,
Swindlers get what they want then are gone.
But Trump's media minions
Pressure public opinions,
No longer The Donald, he's The Don
John Plotz (<br/>)
Since when does the NY Times publish cartoons on its front page?
Nev Gill (Dayton OH)
Do grown up men shop for negliges' for their wives? I thought teenagers did that. Pretty much says it all, his self-adulation and adoration is sickening!
B. (Brooklyn)
"[The magazine left on the table for me to see] included a feature on a sumptuous Bridgehampton home he [Jay Goldberg] now owns, where an enormous interior brick chimney had been painted gold."

Well, that's Donald Trump and those who look after his interests all over. Pure violently flagrant vulgarity smeared over what had had integrity.

All those casinos, high rises, even some golf courses -- over-the-top in gaudiness, and poorly made. And not because the contractors couldn't have built things well, but because they followed the developer's -- Donald Trump's -- dictates. And yet he still wouldn't pay them.
Tommy (Stamford)
So sick of what can be done vs what should be done. Celebrating a "winner" who lies, cheats, and litigates his way to victory is wrong, in my view. Some may say "whatever works", but I say that not how I want this country to operate. I want the US to be a shining beacon, not shiny trash.
Majortrout (Montreal)
With the mind and actions of a child, we should be
using children's rhymes and expressions:

Humpty Trumpy sat on a wall,
Humpty Trumpy had a a great fall,
All the president's lawyers, and all the president's men,
Couldn't put poor Trumpy together again.
Sorka (Atlanta GA)
I have often read that Trump does not like to pay the bills for the services of the Trump Lawyers. I hope they get cash up front!
broz (boynton beach fl)
Maybe it's better that they do not get paid and have to sue #45 for services rendered...
Mickey (New York, NY)
Emoluments, fake universities, stealing from charities, telling Russia to tamper in our elections, hate policies aimed at Muslims, hate aimed at journalists and celebrities, people on the payroll registering as foreign agents... I'd say the lawyers have a lot of work on their hands.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
The illustration captures Donald Trump-- in all his Essence:

He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to

He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don't worry
Take your time, don't hurry
Leave it all till somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la
(My sincerest apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
me (AZ unfortunately)
You left out John Lennon's line "Isn't he a bit like you and me?" (The credits might be Lennon and McCartney, but the song is Lennon's.)
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
@me: I utilized the words that were/are applicable to the topic- Donald Trump. Frankly I care less who wrote the song; it fits the usage I intended.
Civic Samurai (USA)
Trump embodies everything that is wrong with the USA today.

Greed, incivility, celebrity obsession, vulgarity, belligerent ignorance, and unrepentant prejudice, these are the traits Trump revels in to the delight of his followers.

That somewhere near a third of Americans find this man a role model puts our national unity on very shaky ground.
Logan Hebner (Rockville, Utah)
Can anyone name any of Obama's personal lawyers?
Carl (<br/>)
And not ONE scandal during 8 years out of the Obama White House.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
Loretta Lynch

Eric Holder
RMS (Southern California)
Neither Lynch nor Holder were Obama's personal lawyers. Good grief.
dairubo (MN &amp; Taiwan)
Trump's lawyers, his dinner forks!, had better get their money up front. Unless it is only publicity they want and believe that any publicity is a good thing.
TeriLyn Brown (Friday Harbor, WA)
The picture header for this article is comic strip style. Interesting statement.... I hope the super-hero arrives soon. I KNEW this was all fiction!! LOLOL.
Steve (Manhattan)
If you have 1/2 a head on your shoulder, you'd realize that in this litigious world.....especially in large urban Real Estate companies, lawyers are par for the course. Can his lawyers handle Washington? Just hire DC based ones if needed. Lawyers today are part of life......especially if your in business.
Bluebyyou (Tucson)
Dc lawyers won't work for him. He's a loser.
Scott Fordin (New Hampshire)
Sure, have lawyers on hand. Run contracts through lawyers. Perhaps deal with the rare lawsuit. That's normal. But 4,095 lawsuits? That is definitely *not* normal, and is indicative of someone with no interest in playing things honestly, decently, or fairly.
Amazonias (London, UK)
Well said...Never ceases to amaze me how some attempt to split hairs & claim black is white & white is black for the out-right charlatan that is Trump. They demean themselves by doing so.
Tom (Darien CT)
Absolutely unbelievable! There used to be a story about the difference between the United States and Russia. Russia was a place where EVERYTHING was against the law and the United States was a place where NOTHING was against the law. Trump is about to prove this to be true. He will get away with breaking our "laws".
HT (New York City)
When do we get to see his taxes?
Bluebyyou (Tucson)
When the Dems take over the House in 2018 they can demand the taxes, no? Until then, no courage resides there.
Adriana (Atlanta)
Hopefully Mueller's team is going through them with a fine toothed comb!
GiGi (Tahoe City)
It may take time, but ultimately, The Rule of Law will trump 'Trump Law'.
Who among us didn't know every word of this already? If lawyering can prevail over law in this case, it probably will.
Russ Huebel (Kingsville, Tx.)
The history of minor league baseball is littered with the names of men who hit a level of play that demanded adjustments that they would not or could not make. Trump is playing (badly) at a higher level than he has ever experienced. He will fail. The question for Americans is: what (specifically) will happen to the country in the time period when Trump fails?
Steve hunter (Seattle)
Trump surrounds himself with people of a like mind including attorneys. They will just bluff and bully their way through.
Oceanviewer (Orange County, CA)
Trump has been involved in 4,095 lawsuits; and this points to one painfully obvious fact, the man has poor judgment and poor impulse control. That's a disastrous combination.

It really is a shame that someone as mentally unfit as he, is allowed to remain in office without any real fear of impeachment.

Congress should wakeup because we deserve better. Protect our democracy while also freeing Trump to spend his time playmaking “deals.”
mk (philly pa)
How many lawsuits has Trump actually won at trial? How many has he settled in which he'd have to pay the other party? How many lawyers has he not paid?
Rose Ettastone (Philadelphia suburbs)
A president who pays platoons of personal lawyers yet never pays any personal income taxes? How do we explain this to our children?
David Hurwitz (Calabasas CA)
Very interesting article. While Trump's lawyers have served him well in the past, the take no prisoners approach doesn't mesh well with the nuances of federal law and an army of civil servants, most of whose jobs and future careers are not in jeopardy.
TK (Windermere, Fla.)
"Trump Law," as the well-written article calls it, sometimes worked in what was a comparatively much smaller arena. It was mostly a NY media thing, with only occasional attention up from the national media.

This is vastly different, and the stakes are exponentially higher.

Ultimately, Trump Law won't work this time. The Trump presidency will prematurely end in implosion or impeachment. Of this, I'm certain.
Jackie (Missouri)
From your mouth to God's ears.
Kaare (Kaare)
Ok, let's do the math. rounding as we go to keep things simple. 4095 lawsuits in 40 years, that's about 100 lawsuits/year. There are about 260 working days per year, but with holidays and a Trump lifestyle, hard to imagine he's in the office more than 200 days per year. So that works out to a fresh newly minted lawsuit every other day, maintaining that pace for 40 years. Truly impressive.
treabeton (new hartford, ny)
The "Trump Law" strategy will prove to be yet another bad decision by the president. The "theatre, the "showmanship" of Trump's lawyers will prove ineffective when matched against the elite, high-powered Washington lawyers assembled by Robert Mueller. Mueller's legal team will not be intimidated by lawyers who "fight....mostly on TV." Moreover, there are hundreds of highly trained F.B.I. agents who are part and parcel of the overall investigation. This will be like a novice entering the ring and fighting Muhammad Ali. No contest.
Carol Mello (California)
Once again, Donald Trump doesn't know what he doesn't know.

My understanding of FBI agents is that they must have academic training equivalent to being an accountant or a lawyer. Which is why the FBI is more successful than police departments in investigations.

Then there is Mueller and his team of Washington lawyers.

Donald likes to call Washington,DC the Swamp but he is mistaken. Legally, Donald has been playing T ball in a swamp (his suit against a college student beauty queen was petty). Now Donald and his team of lawyers, who are experienced in real estate, defamation suits, and divorce suits are pitching and batting against trained Washington lawyers in the equivalent of the World Series of law.

Roy Cohn taught Trump how to be sleazy. Now Trump is going to learn (finally) about how non-sleazy lawyers work.

BTW, since Trump prefers lawyers who check their principles at the door, what kind of lawyer does that make Gorsuch? Is he a typical Trump type lawyer?
Leo Gold (Berkeley, CA)
As I began reading this article it became clear that Trump's lawyers are a perfect match for him; Jay Goldberg pointing to his magazine articles on the wall, etc. They may be big fish in the pond where they currently practice but swaggering and deal making won't work against the team of attorneys now being assembled by Robert Muller. Trump's lawyers will be playing an "away" game against the toughest team in the league.
Andy (Toronto)
When I read articles like this, I always recall the episode from "Thank You For Smoking" where Nick Naylor teaches his son how to argue about which ice cream flavour is the best. The key takeaway was that "You are not talking to me (the other side in the argument), you are talking to them (the third party observers)". A number of people on Trump's team seem to fit this very mold: even if you lose in the courtroom, it is beneficial to win in the court of public opinion. Besides, it looks like in a very high number of Trump's litigation cases the downsides of losing outright outweigh the benefits of publicity: I don't believe that Trump really really wants his travel ban that much - but a loss in court can outright allow him to score some points with some of his supporters.

This being said, I believe that Trump can be very disciplined when lawsuits get serious; his behaviour in Comey's case at some point became very different from everything else.
Joe Ryan (Bloomington, Indiana)
This should be easy work for Pres. Trump's attorneys, now that they can make use of the pardon power and the support of the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.
Bluebyyou (Tucson)
Aren't the courts separate powers from House & Senate? You know part of the 'checks and balances' of US democracy? Granted the GOP has a lot of power right now but once their own jobs are threatened? Watch the Republicans run for cover under the "rule of law" (and I don't mean Trump's law).
and...You get pardoned after you're convicted of a crime.
RMS (Southern California)
Nixon was never convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, the president can pardon someone who has not been convicted.
Carol Mello (California)
Getting pardoned by the president for political shenanigans is not all as wonderful as you seem to think.

Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon. Nixon did not go to jail but most of the country believed him guilty. The pardoning of Nixon did not work out well for Gerald Ford either. He did not win an election after it.
Brad (California)
Forty years ago my law classes in an MBA program partly focused on the economics of compliance with law. There was a formula: calculate the benefit from breaking a law and subtract the probability of being successfully prosecuted for breaking the law times the assessed penalty for breaking the law. If the result was positive, then there was a legal obligation to stockholders to break the law,

That mindset has influenced lawyers and businessmen for decades. Trump and his lawyers are an uncouth bunch of hyper-aggressive practitioners of that formula. Unfortunately, after Trump has left Washington, the culture of that formula will remain.
Barbara Marmor (Riverside)
Thank you for this candid explanation for behavior I had found bewildering. I guess I was naive, had no idea that lawlessness was actually taught to students as the "right" long as it penciled out favorably economically. So disheartening g. But explains a lot of what has happened these last decades.
RMS (Southern California)
I recall discussions in my first year Contracts class the costs of breaking a contract versus the cost of not doing so. It drove a friend of mine (in the same class) to propose that the death penalty should be used to punish breach of contract.
GMooG (LA)
Yes, that makes perfect sense.
Sid (CA)
Richard Nixon also surrounded himself with lawyers seemingly unwilling (or unable) to "keep the boss out of trouble". Trump's contempt for the rule of law and the institutions that made this country great will eventually lead to his downfall. To what extent he and his family will line their pockets before he leaves office remains to be seen. The GOP majorities won't protect him forever.

With luck, there won't be a war this N. Korea in the interim, precipitated by Trump as yet another diversion from his questionable activities.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
Can you list which "activities" you are referring to and for which you have even a shred evidence?

Remember, special counsels are only appointed when there is actual evidence.

As of yet, there is none. Which makes Mueller's appointment very shaky.
Bluebyyou (Tucson)
Wishful thinking.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
Mueller is already toast.

The media and leaks is all he had.

Justice Dept. won't do squat to the President and neither will Congress.

But if it helps you get through the next 7.5 years of Trump's presidency, we understand.
Robert (Boston)
Unfortunately for all of us, Trump was "mentored" by Roy Cohn, the former counsel to Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee. After persecuting many innocent Americans for spurious ties to the Communist Party, Cohn turned his attention to the destruction of other innocents by scorched-earth litigation tactics.

Trump's famous "I'll hit back ten times harder" are actually the words and actions taught to him by Cohn. Win at any cost - it doesn't matter if you are at fault - never admit it and destroy whomever dares to speak truth to your power.

So, the president's lawyers are *not* ready for Washington where litigators without Washington connections are as useful as first-year medical students asked to perform neurosurgery.

Trump does not care though, as this is what he has always done and he, categorically, does *not* learn new tricks. He is not interested in right or wrong, morality or the lack thereof, just in ameliorating anyone who dares to challenge him. He's going to find that such tactics within Washington will not serve him well, if at all.
Glenn Strachan (Washington, DC)
For me, the most interesting fact I have heard in the past week is that Trump doesn't even fall within the top-20 NYC developers of Real Estate yet he has to contend with over 4,000 lawsuits. Why would an HONEST man require so many lawyers and have to contend with so many lawsuits? There is an axiom known as Occam's Razor wherein the truth is usually found in the simplest answer. This would, and does suggest to me that Trump is not honest and as such, gets sued so often because he feels that he is above the law.

Unfortunately for the USA, he feels the same way as President and he has the Republican Party suggesting the same - he is above the law and the people knew what they were getting when they voted for him.

As PT Barnum once said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time."
TheraP (Midwest)
"It's up to them to prevent his fall."

Well, they can try. But he's doing everything to bring these lawyers, and their machinations, to a crashing halt.

He's overstepped every rule and boundary and even the Constitution.

This is a Reality Show, whose end we already know.
Julio (Jenkintown, PA)
The title of of the story was right on target "All the President's Lawyers" It reminded me of the title of the Nixon Watergate Scandal Movie. "All the President's Men".
Tampa Bay Reader (Tampa)
And Trump voters think Trump is "draining the swamp" rather than the reality that he is bringing onboard more fearsome and vicious swamp dwellers. So this is just another example of Trump and his team convincing John Q. Public that "black is white." Unbelievable.
SLBvt (Vt)
Trump is using these lawyers to aid and abet his dirty dealings--and now Trump's lawyers need lawyers.

It's people like these who give lawyers a bad name.
TheraP (Midwest)
And those lawyers who have flocked to Mueller - those are the ones who ennoble the practice of law.
DB (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Didn't know lawyers had a "good" name.
D.A.Oh (Middle America)
I've been begging the NYT to write a piece like this for some time. But focusing on Goldberg isn't enough, especially when you gloss over Goldberg's ambition to make a name for himself and get rich by defending the worst elements of our society.

Trump has used dozens if not hundreds of lawyers over the past 4 decades.

There must be some who are willing to spill some beans about Trump and his legal teams' absolute disdain for the law and other humans alike.

Because Trump Lawyers don't just fight when there's a lawsuit, they threaten and bully and coerce all opposition to clam up and just walk away.

Take the O'Brien example. Kasowitz personally stalked O'Brien at a book signing to demand he stop publication of his expose of Trump's con-man methods and deceit, or "we're going to get you." And when they failed to win their ridiculous suit (for $5 Billion! in damages), they exposed their purpose -- to punish O'Brien with legal fees.

For every O'Brien, how many poor saps have been wronged and/or silenced by Trump because they were threatened by him with financial ruin?

He's done it to contractors, investors and his ex-wives.

But there have to be some lawyers out there who have an idea of the full scope.

Can we hear from them, instead of Trump's hit-men?
David Hurwitz (Calabasas CA)
Attorney client privilege and the intimidation you mention would keep lawyers from speaking their minds. Anyway, what is it we don't know about ethics ethics? Only more specifics not likely different from what we know.
RMS (Southern California)
No matter how awful your client is, the attorney-client privilege precludes you from speaking. There is a "crime-fraud" exception which, in this context, might prove to be interesting.
Ranjith Desilva (Cincinnati, OH)
Trump ran as a "law and order" candidate. Now it is time for the established laws and orders of this nation to rein in the presidency, and the President, that is running amok.
John Grillo (Edgewater,MD)
Thank you, Mr. Mahler, for this description of the backgrounds and the unifying practice characteristics of the "Trump Lawyers". Reading the column actually provided an additional measure of hopefulness and encouragement that the Mueller investigation will be successful in its dogged pursuit of the facts. The mismatch between the two legal "teams" cannot be more glaring, and perilous to Trump's interests. On the one side is subject matter inexperience, a p.r. dominated mentality, bombast and blather, an impossible client. On the other, a high-powered collection of prosecutorial experts guided by a peerless leader, vast investigatory powers, a wide berth of inquiry, a calm and steady lawyer-like process.

Their client's signature penchant for chaos, in all of its harmful manifestations, will infect his legal representation in this conclusive matter, as it already has his young presidency. He simply cannot help or restrain himself, and they will not be able to help him. They are symbiotically doomed.
Iver Thompson (Pasadena, Ca)
Since we've all come to know the kind of person Trump really is, watching how his lawyers can legally sanctify him right before our very eyes ought to be considered miraculous. Turning water into wine or walking on water will look like child's play compared to this feat.
Leo Kretzner (San Dimas, CA)
Just what I didn't need: Confirmation that DISGUST is the only appropriate feeling for Trump AND for his lawyers - all a bunch of overpaid, overrated criminals.
Mr. Grieves (Blips and Chitz!)
The illustration is beautiful. (Well, inasmuch as anything with Donald Trump as the subject can be.)
TimesChat (NC)
The Times' front page sub-headline for this article asks "do the attorneys who guided [Trump] know how to navigate Washington?"

My answer, for the nation's sake, is: I hope not.

And the vast array of lawsuits in which the litigious and bullying Trump has been involved over the years is the best argument I know of to impose a (low) limit on the number of times any person can use the legal system over the course of an entire lifetime.
Glen (Texas)
48 years ago I declined a drunken uncle's offer to pay for law school. I declined his generosity. (He possessed neither pot nor window, as far as I knew.) Dad informed me Ned would have kept his word, drunk or no.

But I didn't, and I sleep well. I doubt I could had I followed my uncles wishes and joined the legal trade to become or to deal with men of the type described here. It is common knowledge that Trump's sleep is minimal at best. Why do you suppose that is?
RAIN (Vancouver, BC)
If Trump's career has been defined by legal cases, he will surely not see his current situation, as a President being investigated, as much, if at all different. Clearly, Trump is carrying on as usual--'negotiating' behind the scenes, intimidating, playing the media game (Comey), and shouting his version of the 'facts'. This is frightening and we should not expect it to change. Prepare accordingly.
gandy (California)
As an atheist I pray for Melania's cyber bullying campaign. I hope she can find someone around her who's a good example of the type of person who would mercilessly inflict harm on others. Then call them out for it.

And we know shame doesn't work on this type. She should deploy pity. Pity the bully.

"I pity the fool who messes with Mrs. T!"
Brunella (Brooklyn)
One can only hope Trump’s lifetime of egregious behavior, both personal and professional, will result in a day of reckoning. Privileged, trust-fund Donald has never atoned for anything and behaves as if laws don’t apply to him. Our GOP Congress enables him, eager to pass their severely punitive agenda, ignoring his mangrove swamp of business entanglements in violation of our Constitution. Trump degrades the office of the presidency on a daily basis. Our highest public servant serves only himself. The sooner we can rid ourselves of his toxic administration, the better.
Hugh Gordon McIsaac (Santa Cruz, California)
Well said!!!
morGan (NYC)
"One can only hope Trump’s lifetime of egregious behavior, both personal and professional, will result in a day of reckoning."
I prefer a debilitating, terminal, slow death affliction.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
Thankfully, The United States does not operate under "Trump Law". While Trump's sleazy, attack dog, mob boss view of legality may have served him well during his real estate and casino days, that kind of behavior will not fly as President. At a certain point, Trump will run out of his hardcase lawyers and run smack into the immutable reality of the law.

Showmanship, threats, and bravado do not negate reality. The Emoluments Clause still exists. Obstruction of Justice is still a crime. Collusion with a hostile foreign power to disrupt our election is criminal on a scope we have never seen in our politics.

The fires surrounding Trump continue to pour out black smoke.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
ALB (Maryland)
Shakespeare had it right: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". (Henry VI, Part2, Act IV, Scene 2.)

Lawyers have enabled Trump's worst instincts pretty much his entire life. Let's hope we can look forward to the following scoreboard when the Mueller investigation brings its charges: Trump and his 10,000 lawyers: 0. We the People: 1.
ALA (Trinidad, CA)
Bob Mueller and most of the fine group of people investigating Trump -- they are all lawyers.
marymary (washington, dc)
Had you insight, as opposed to a desire to appear knowledgeable, you would understand that the quotation is not to be taken at face value.
bsh1707 (Highland, NY)
And they all are highly regarded in their fields of specific law. Like fraud, 'flipping' those charged to give up others, ethics, accounting and tracking money laundering, Constitutional law, forensics expertise, obstruction of justice, criminal law, and so forth.
All worked for the government at one time and honed theie expertise in that arena.
They are also loyal and unrelenting.
Mueller is highly respected and a leader and will take no prisoners.
This "A" team will face Trump's 3-ring circus of personal attack lawyers .
My money and faith is on the Special Council .
This will be Trump's 'Waterloo' !!
Don A (Worcester)
For Trump, a man without dignity or decency, it's all about power, money and winning. Everyone is a sucker or a mark in the con, or a tool like these lawyers. They're just expensive tools.
Trump's 2020 campaign is already in full swing, allowing him to raise money (surprise!) If he's driven from office, those millions will be under his or his family's control, adding to the family wealth.
The tweets are one of the shells he moves around the tabletop, the one without the pea underneath, to keep us distracted while he wins, undermining American progress with a shockingly poisonous agenda.
His allegiances and identification are not American, they are with other billionaire thugs across the world who have manipulated their particular legal, military, police and political systems to enrich themselves and accumulate power. This is why trump adores Putin and Duterte; he would love to be them, if only....
Jhc (Wynnewood, pa)
Robert Mueller has hired a group of experienced lawyers who have successfully prosecuted a variety of crimes, including money laundering, fraud, and obstruction of justice. I think we the people are well represented to take on Trump and however many "Trump lawyers" the president may have hired; my bet is on Robert Mueller and the rule of law.
Senate27 (Washington, DC)
Mueller has been rendered impotent before issuing even a press release.

The Justice Dept will not indict a sitting president, and the House won't do anything either.

All Mueller had was the media, and Trump has now taken that away too.

Allison (Minnesota)
Does the image for this article accurately portray each of Trump's lawyers? Because if it does not, it only portrays male lawyers thereby perpetuating the idea that lawyering is a man's job.

Then again, perhaps a female lawyer would have many reasons not to work with or in proximity to Trump.
Suburbs (NY)
If Trump has a female lawyer in his orbit, I have yet to see or hear about her.

By the way, have you noticed the gender composition of Trump's cabinet?
mk (philly pa)
He has a woman as his lawyer at Morgan Lewis & Bockius who told us that Trump's continuing interest in his businesses is not a conflict of interest nor a violation of law. Gender has no part in lawyering.
Sherry Dillon is a woman.
Jcaz (Arizona)
Trump has had over 4,000 lawsuits. I'm wondering how many lawyers got full payment? And what amount has Donald Trump paid for these legal services?
bsh1707 (Highland, NY)
Would love to see a column next to each suit showing whether he lost or won. And how many he "settled" via large payments to litigants.
Remember "he never settles" - another of his big lies.
Julio (Jenkintown, PA)
Two things kept coming to mind as I read the story.
1. Trump law seems to mean a disregard of the law that places Trump above the law.
2. Every lawyer character in this story seems to have a seedy past and a direct or tangential connection to criminal and characters reminiscent of The Godfather movies.

Two conclusions come to mind.
1. You are confirming what those of us aware of Trump since his Studio54 days have suspected for a long time. Trump will eventually be exposed as an underworld figure and the Russian investigation will reveal all his connections to the Russian underworld.
2. If the Trump lawyers succeed in defending him, the institution of the USA presidency will be seriously damaged. And, we will become a country where problems are solved through a "shakedown" rather than in a court of law.
There is no "Trump Law". There is only US state and federal law. Trump is not above that. Choosing to take Trump on as a client, and more importantly, how one carries out that function, speaks very strongly to one's sense of ethics and moral standards. I wonder about these "Trump Lawyers": I guess there are always those who will sell their soul for the right amount of money.
Molly Wheat (Madison, Wisconsin)
Let's just hope his kind of lawyers and his "alternative facts" don't seep into our judicial system and into the Supreme Court.
Usok (Houston)
Great article. I want to read it again.
Vesuviano (Altadena, CA)
This whole article reminds me of that old joke, "What's the difference between a career criminal and a lawyer?" The punch line is, "There are some things a career criminal just won't do."
Tom J (Berwyn, IL)
That's a good cartoon, an accurate portrayal. About the only image more accurate would be Trump with his feet on the desk watching a TV, as well as on the phone.
Kendall (Orlando)
Ah, yes. Lawyers that place publicity and showmanship over the law itself. Lawyers perfectly willing to walk on the far edge of the ethical path and risk being pushed over, at any moment, by the client. Lawyers that don't exist to provide sound advice to the client - advice that we always realize may be ignored, but which we give anyway in order to sleep soundly at night - but whose sole purpose is to twist the law into ad hoc pretzels to please the client's ego, awful behavior, and foregone conclusions.

In other words, the kinds of lawyers that give lawyers a bad name. I will give them this: they make it easier to teach those new to the profession. You can always point to a Sekulow or a Kasowitz and say, "At the very least, this is what you DON'T do if you care about respectability and ethics and shame."
Diane (Poughkeepsie, NY)
I don't see the problem being Trump's cadre of lawyers. It's the nearly 4000 lawsuits that he has been involved in over his lifetime.

How much has Trump's use of the courts cost the taxpayers over the years? We pay for the court system with our taxes.
DRF (New York)
I have two quarrels with this article. First, Mahler writes that Goldberg was Trump's go-to lawyer until 2005. He doesn't address the obvious question: Why was Goldberg replaced in this role by Kasowitz?

Second, Mahler's characterization of "Trump lawyers" is shallow. Sure, they all seem willing to make bold public statements on behalf of their client without regard for the facts. But Mahler claims that they don't anticipate problems, take precautions or care about the merits of cases. All of that may well be true, but the fact is that we don't really know if his attorneys are so lacking in substantive skills. The public face and the private legal efforts are two different things. We do know that Trump brings a lot of meritless cases, but that doesn't mean his attorneys aren't good; it could well mean that Trump ignores their advice.

This analysis of Trump's lawyers is cleverly written and amusing but really lacks substance.
Suburbs (NY)
Goldberg is 84 years old, as stated in the first paragraph. I believe that is the answer to your "obvious question."
Harold R Berk (Ambler, PA)
Trump Lawyers should re-read the Rules of Professional Responsibility before singing an engagement agreement with Trump.
Carol Brown (Beaufort SC)
Almost 5000 lawsuits in 30 years? PLEASE: someone do some research and tell us how that compares with respectable business people?
BHM (Atlanta)
By design or not, being litigious is part of the business plan. On its face, it seems to have helped stack countless dollars. Sadly, it’s deflating to read that this style is now in the White House; not sure what kind of example this sets both domestically and abroad.
Fred (Up North)
Just another Trump metric: judge him by the lawyers he keeps.
A gold-painted chimney? Like Trump, more money than taste.
Wally Wolf (Texas)
This is why Trump so admires Putin. Putin doesn't need lawyers to fight for him. Whatever Putin decides in Russia is law according to Putin. Is this where America is heading because the strongest, most prolific lawyers for hire are trying to beat down our U.S. Constitution and laws?
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
The Trump lawyers will get Trump off all charges against him, just as the O.J. Simpson lawyers settled Nicole Simpson's and the Goldman families' hash 25 years ago. Trump lawyers practice Trump law. Show-off and show-boat law. Not our law. Lord save us from Trump's lawyer, Jay Goldberg, who said Trump is "trying to break in a new pair of shoes, and they won't let him". Kill all the lawyers, Shakespeare said - Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.
DCH (Cape Elizabeth Maine)
problem ---OJ lawyers lost big time when they faced good lawyers in the civil suit. They won only against the incompetent assit.DAs in the criminal case
Robin (Burlington MA)
and Trump hired attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who successfully led the OJ civil case on behalf of Fred Goldman, to represent him in the Trump University fraud case (which resulted in Trump settling and having to pay millions of dollars to victims). Trump of course declared victory. Hopefully, as is the case with Trump U, even "good" lawyers will not be able to rescue DT from the numerous holes he has dug.
Jack (Las Vegas)
Like Trump, his lawyers are all chaff and no wheat.
George (Los Angeles)
Pathetic. Lawyers, the enemies of Shakespear, required not to draft legislation but to keep the crumbling wall that Trump had while a private citizen of his misdeeds and corruption is now falling apart. Not only is the investigation dealing with Russia but the door has been open into Trump, and Kushner as well, in their connections with Russian criminal bosses and corrupt oligarchs. The window is opening into the despot's violation of our federal and state finance laws. When will those sad and wondering souls realize they have supported a thief, a liar, and criminal who is now cornered and is striking back like a wild animal and it will get worse.
Mary (CT)
Silly Barack Obama to think that a president has to obey the law.
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan)
Nobody is born a "Washington lawyer".
I am sure that even New York and New Jersey lawyers might be capable of learning what it takes to be a Washington lawyer.
In spite of this article, I am not sure that there is such a big difference,
Suburbs (NY)
You are just wrong. DC practice at the highest level involves very different issues. Also, do not forget that connections help.
Terry Neal (Florida And North Carolina)
Trump is lawyering up but we can help his legal counsel and help ourselves and this country. I suggest removing Twitter from one's repertoire for now and ignore Trump, unfollow him. Unfriendly him. If a child acts up, they are grounded and denied what they enjoy the most. Trump loves all kinds of attention. Once Trump loses Twitter followers he'll panic. His behavior will worsen. Let the media continue to report how he reacts to his worsening ratings and a wall of silence, especially from his critics. That's what President Obama is doing. Follow his lead. In the meantime, support those focused on good acts, strengthening healthcare, world peace and climate change. We have more control over helping Trump implode than we believe. Free speech doesn't mean we act childish like him.
Ricardo de la O (Montevideo)
Lawyers are a drag on the economy and the overall condition of life in the USA. From family (divorce) law to securities law they shield people with the biggest wallets from their day of reckoning. Some would suggest that the real final reckoning is what counts; people like Trump and his ilk never give it a thought.
Suburbs (NY)
And even bigger drag on the economy would be un-nuanced laws– – creating uncertainty, investment's enemy – – and no sophisticated dispute resolution system. It's easy to forget that. There is no free lunch.
Bearded One (Chattanooga, TN)
In Mr. Trump's second Presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Clinton raised the issues of the U.S. suit against Trump for discriminating against blacks/minorities in his New York housing facilities. Trump said a couple of times, "We never admitted guilt." He didn't admit guilt, but he was guilty. He paid a settlement, and -- one hopes -- changed his policies. No, Donnie, you never admit guilt or apologize for any of your outrageous actions. I was fuming at this while watching the debate, but the media didn't seem to react to "never admitted." If Trump really colluded with Putin, he will never admit guilt. But he will be guilty, and the GOP in Congress will -- one hopes -- force him to resign.
SW (Los Angeles)
Can his supporters admit that he is a lousy businessman whose negotiation tactics are limited to blustering and bullying? He has been bankrupt six (seven?) times and it's the lawyers who keep picking up the pieces FOR HIS BENEFIT. The USA is NOT their client. He is perfectly content to destroy the country to create a buying opportunity for Trump and friends.
Ninbus (New York City)
Reading this article made me even more despondent than I've been for the past six months...and that's saying a lot.

I was unable to 'celebrate' the country's birthday this year. America has been lowered to a hitherto unseen level.

NOT my president
RMS (Southern California)
Agreed. I sat out the fireworks. It would only have depressed me.
shirls (Manhattan)
Like you, I wasn't feeling celebratory this July Fourth. The Macy's fireworks repositioned to accommodate the affluent Eastsiders & Brooklynites. Use to be held on the Hudson River from c54th St up to the GWB, but the protectors of Riverside Park didn't want the Bronx/Harlem/Heights population "picnicking" in RSPk and cut a deal with Macy's Pres. to move it down to the Battery so We the People(inc babies/young children) could enjoy the spectacle & circus from FDR Drive's paved surface. djt wasn't even in DC for the spectacle there! Nothing to celebrate this year, more pain, delusion, disappointment ahead. Hopefully the electorate with regain consciousness BEFORE it's too late!
Joe t (Melbourne Fl.)
this is absolutely frightening.
S. Mitchell (Michigan)
That this is reality, and evidently it is, gives pause to wonder how our democracy has made it as far as it has.
Ergo, the current potus is just proof that this reality has finally climaxed and now it is only downhill. What next?
Mary Ann (Massachusetts)
What next? Read Fareed Zakaria's interview on an " illiberal democracy". We're on our way to a democracy much like Turkey's.
Cliff (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Trump spent the last 40 years cheating contractors and others who have worked for him. Over 3,000 lawsuits. That’s impressive. I’m not a lawyer, but it probably takes a different skill set to defend an unscrupulous real estate developer versus a lying politician. Bullying works when you are dealing with contractors and you have the upper hand - you have their money and don’t want to pay your bills. I think he’s mistaken if he thinks he’ll be able to lawyer (bully) is way out of this.
C. Whiting (Madison, WI)
The image of Trump surrounded by his lawyers looks less like a president, and more like a Mafia Don.
Same level of corruption. Same regard fro the rule of law.
njglea (Seattle)
You hit the nail on the head, C.
Michael Piscopiello (Higganum Ct)
Too many lawyers, period
Charles Michener (Gates Mills, OH)
As the late Mario Puzo once said: "A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
richard (crested butte)
The law represents the lowest acceptable standard of behavior and the contrast between Trump and his predecessor could not be more stark. One is a predator and compulsive liar, gleefully foraging the bottom. The other, a role model for ethics and human decency. We miss you, Mr. President.
morGan (NYC)
" We miss you, Mr. President."
We never knew how too good we had it with Obama until we got the current WH occupant.
God save us all.
David Ohman (Denver)
Indeed. If only President Obama could have run for a third term. He/we would have won by a landslide. Though I have respect for Hillary, I begged her not to run. The Bush debacle was proof that the American People were tired of dynasty politics. I am hoping we will have our first female president in the near future. With Hillary's baggage, deserved or not, she was toast.

And it was no doubt true that both Hillary and The Donald were glad they had the opponent assigned to them. Each thought the other was beatable. But the right-wing conservative media machine was too loud and persistant in her battle against the dark forces of Trump.
richard (crested butte)
Yes, David. I also hope we have a female president one day and that her name is Tulsi Gabbard.
Davey Boy (NJ)
It's really kind of simple: To be a Trump Lawyer, first and foremost you must be loud, shameless and lack any self-respect. You put aside ideals about justice and fairness and professionalism and you become Trump's legal lackey instead. And then, of course, you hope he decides to pay you for selling your soul.
Lisa Murphy (Orcas Island)
Well said.
Ron Epstein (NYC)
All those lawyers, their staffs, their expenses must be costing a fortune. Who's paying for it?
Nature Lover (Rocky Mountains)
Trump and aides must pay their personal lawyers: Check this:
Bunbury (Florida)
Fortunately he can't charge the public.
Majortrout (Montreal)
Why, Joe and Jane Taxpayer.
You didn't expect Trumpy to pay, did you?
cw (Texas)
It'll be an ugly circus. I dread the harm that is being done to our country. The downward slide will no doubt continue.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
As a general rule: someone NOT a legal professional spending this much time in legal wrangling is a criminal or Con artist. Or both. Seriously.
Ramba (New York)
Another aspect not developed here is money laundering. That global trail of real estate deals, and Kushner's entanglements, are the quintessetial follow the money tale. For every Trump Lawyer there 10 G men motivated and working very hard to right the ship. Laughable to recall a campaign rant about never leaving the White House because he'd be working so hard for the forgotten man. Well, the forgotten man is the guy caddying his endless rounds of golf, and serving foreign officials in his hotels. Such a nightmare to be dependent on certain members of Congress to do the right thing.
doktorij (Eastern Tn)
I'm sure there are lawyers who would gladly take on Trump as a client versus the people of the United States of America. They might even win the case. I'm just not sure how many lawyers first, think that case is winnable, and second, want to be associated with such "litigation".

At this point, even winning in the court of public opinion is looking iffy. God forbid we wind up in another out of hand war with the other unstable character running North Korea, it is so easy to see that event spiraling out of control.
CF (Massachusetts)
"...try to convince juries that black is white."

A sad statement that says it all, and it's said by Goldberg, who is actually equivocal about getting involved with Trump. I can only imagine what the dream team is like. Zero standards, zero ethics, truth is irrelevant, spare us the stinking fine print of the law, we only care about winning, or at least appearing to have won when, in fact, we've lost. Exactly like their boss, and I hope they've all jacked up their rates so they can take him for a bundle and retire.

Good luck being Trump's dinner forks, folks. Hope he's eating meatloaf.
RMS (Southern California)
That's assuming he pays them.
Milenko (Sydney)
Theatrics & showboating won't be qualities appreciated by the judges of the Federal & Supreme court, this time Trumps choice of lawyers may get him into further trouble, bullying will only make his situation more dire.
Steel Magnolia (Atlanta, GA)
I suppose there is talent in what these lawyers do--"convinc[ing] juries that black is white." But it has nothing to do with the law. And even less with justice.

At the end of the day they will collect their fees and declare victory on national television regardless. Forty percent of the voting public will believe the president vindicated regardless. "Real" lawyers and the legal profession will sink further in public esteem regardless.

And Lady Justice will roll over in her grave.
ACJ (Chicago)
You can tell a lot about the character of a country from the educational backgrounds of their leaders and advisors. German and Japanese leadership, for example, is populated by engineers. Russia is populated by members of their secret police forces. France has a lot of academics in high offices. And we have lawyers and business men and women. The point being, engineers and academics tend to be problem solvers and implementers, while, lawyers, tend to be problem creators and litigators. The looks on Angela Merkel's face when talking to Trump illustrates the stark divide between the two educational traditions.
Meg (USA)
Citation needed.
Shinzo Abe studied political science. His immediate predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, studied economics.
French politicians typically attend L'Ecole National d'Administration ("ENA"), a public policy school that educates students to enter France's civil service. Emmanuel Macron, Francois Hollande, and Jacques Chirac all attended ENA. Nicolas Sarkozy was a lawyer before entering politics, and Francois Mitterrand also studied law.
Angela Merkel was a research scientist before entering politics; the presidents of Germany during her term appear to be economists, lawyers, businessmen, and a pastor. Her predecessor, Gerhard Schroder, was a lawyer; Schroder's predecessor, Helmut Kohl, was an academic in history and political science.
Russia, I grant you.
Your comment clearly hit a nerve with me. I'm a lawyer, and I don't want me or my colleagues to be lumped in with Trump and his lawyers. Generally speaking, I find lawyers to be intellectually curious and creative thinkers, with a strong sense of justice and an understanding of human behavior. Engineers and academics are great! But they don't have a monopoly on "problem solv[ing] and implement[ing]."
And, I'm not convinced Trump can fairly be said to come from any "educational tradition" at all.
TLDR: I disagree.
San Francisco Voter (San Francisco)
Angela Merkel was educated and trained as a physicist. She is a scientist as well as a politician. I wish we could talk scientists into running for office in the US, but they are gainfully emplyed and do not want to participate in 24/7 money raising which is necessary to raise the huge amounts of money necessary to run for political office, especially since our Roman Catholic Supreme Curt passed Citizens United - on a case which did not initially even deal with this topic until some creative inerpretation by Chief Justice John Roberts. Why is there so little discussion of the problems with the Supreme Court. Most voters don't know much about the Court.
if law were indeed finite -- would there be a need for lawyers??
if accounting were purely simple math -- would there be a need for CPA's
if life were known and owned by each individual - would there be a need for
washington has become a system that creates problems and hucksters solutions
Dean Rudas (Sydney, Australia)
The first two US presidents with MBA degrees but no legal education, Bush 43 and Trump, have both been Republican and have both taken office only through a minority rule loophole in a system of indirect democracy. Religious piousness and purity could be the most popular social facade of choice among post-Bush 41 Republicans because fundamentally very liberal electoral decisions laid the foundation for both masters of "business administration" presidents.
Nature Lover (Rocky Mountains)
Trump does not have an MBA. He has a BA from Wharton, but not from its prestigious graduate program. He spent his first two years at Fordham.
B. Ross Keeling (Shreveport, La)
It is my understanding that DonaldTrumps has Not been awarded an MBA from Wharton School of Business or anywhere else. However, he was awarded a B.S. in Economics from the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania.
WmC (Bokeelia, FL)
Your analysis is on the money, Dean, but a small correction: Trump never received an MBA.
Mark Thomason (<br/>)
"‘‘I didn’t know the first thing about matrimonial law.’’ But Trump, who had noticed a short profile of Goldberg as part of a feature in 7 Days magazine titled ‘‘Courtroom Killers,’’ wouldn’t take no for an answer. He had found his guy."

Trump does have a record of choosing talent others might have not seen. It has worked for him. He did it in his building projects too.

Of course he has made a lot of political choices in recent politics, but for key jobs he has gone with talent others might not have, as with Mattis and Tillerson.

He may be orange and strange, but he is not one dimensional. We see too much simplification, one sided. That is not to deny the problems, just to say there is more here than credited.
Emile Myburgh (Johannesburg)
As a lawyer myself, one of the the most difficult parts of the job is managing the relationship with the client, whether the client is Trump or some mom and pup shop. It entails understanding your client well enough in order to predict with some degree of accuracy how he or she will react to developments in each case. If you can't overcome that hurdle, the relationship will founder. Congratulations to those lawyers who can understand Trump, you can teach the rest of us a lesson or two on attorney-client relationships.
Fortress America (New York)
Tocqueville said in US everything ends up in Court


Roy Cohn is aptly cited here, as we become the Red Hunting McCartyites of the 1950s

And to drag a man's first divorce into it? well, you must have little real to say
Bob Hogner (Miami)
"Donald J. Trump’s life and career have been defined by his legal battles. But do the attorneys who guided him know how to navigate Washington?"

Navigate Washington? That would be a practical, political, and survivalist decision. Look at his actions to date. The criteria we see: (1) Is 'he' rich, and therefore wise and capable? (2) Will 'he' do what I and Steve Bannon want done? (3) Will he understand and accept why 'he' only gets one scoop of ice cream?"
Phyllis S (NY, NY)
‘‘I went [to meet with the White House lawyer] not of my own accord. I’ll leave it that way. I shouldn’t say any more.’’ This is chilling to the extent that I am actually sitting here wondering about the potential consequences of publicly noting that Trumpbusinessgovernment appears to be based on the principle that, if abusing the legal system doesn't do the trick, there's always extortion. And then I'm wondering why I'm so shocked.
Peter (Pittsford)
There is no honor in being an attorney known for winning at any cost.

Quite the reverse, actually.
David Ohman (Denver)
Peter, when I started my own busines in 1985, friends recommended I should keep a lawyer handy because, hey, "you never know." I never regretted my choice for a lawyer. "Denny"(a civil litigation lawyer) was known throughout Orange County, CA area as the go-to lawyer who could bring both sides together for a settlement everyone could live with. He could turn hot-collared, childish opponents into even-tempered adults who would see the path to reasonable settlment without involving expensive court time.

That was what lawyers were supposed to be about and I was not only honored for his friendship, it was his level-headed legal counsel that dovetailed with my own business "rudder." He retired with his dignity, and thousands of friendships intact, including former opponents.
LH (<br/>)
This is not about honor. It is about reputation, and sales. Entirely different universes. Have you ever heard the maxim "there is no such thing as bad publicity"? These lawyers trump doesn't know what honor is, only reputation, and sales. This is why he ran for office, why he tweets, perpetual sales. He cannot lose. If he is impeached and removed from office, that will prove the ultimate victory. The only loser in this picture is the nation.
tom (boston)
They aren't interested in honor (they don't even have a concept of what it is); they're interested in money.
Tom (Maine)
Trump is weak. That what this article is confirming. Too weak to do what is reasonable and right to be successful within the rules of a decent society, too weak to be more than a sad little bully who acts out because he feels he is so special. Well, he is special: no dignity, no honor. This emperor has no clothes. Pity the man.
David Ohman (Denver)
You're right on all counts but one: he doesn't want our pity. He doesn't deserve our pity. Impeachment is the only option left on the table. Let his illiterate base pity him.
Bigsister (New York)
These lawyers are all part of the Trump chaotic juggling balancing whip wielding act of a multi-ringed circus.
MoneyRules (New Jersey)
Trump is suited to run a Timeshare operation, not The United States of America. Alas, viewers of Fox News will never understand this nuance.
The Sceptic (USA)
Interesting article. But, based on past articles and comments, does the NYT, it's writers and editors, including their liberal fan base, really care if the current President has good advisors of any kind?

That's a fair question because the only thing being demonstrated by those listed above is hate, anger and intolerance, which are all the classic qualities of racists!
Carl Hultberg (New Hampshire)
Donald Trump will go down swinging. A winner at least in his own mind.

If ever America needed a reminder that self-confidence is not competence this is it.
MIMA (heartsny)
There's a big difference between breaking in a new pair of shoes that will only affect the feet of the person wearing the shoes than affecting millions of people who look to that person to actually fill the shoes for supposed presidential leadership.

Are we supposed to think it's funny Donald Trump has an assortment of people to get him off legal hooks? What does that say for the temperament and integrity of national leadership? And for that matter, what does that say for what we have allowed to happen to our country?
Nietzschean Free Spirit (NYC)
What it says is that the GOP, the party that is obsessed with reducing product liability for corporations and medical liability for hospitals, is hypocritical in it's support for propping up this president.
Jackie (Missouri)
I don't know that it is hypocrisy, per se. As you say, the GOP is obsessed with reducing product liability for corporations and medical liability for hospitals. That they prop up this president is no surprise, because when it is all said and done, they won't impeach him, institutionalize him, or otherwise force him out of office. Therefore, the presidential liability will be reduced as well. Perfectly consistent.
See also