Lawyers loyal to Barack Obama who helped him during his White House days craft and draft the legal means of enacting his oft-constitutionally questionable policies, have now jumped to a new mission: helping fight President Donald Trump.
These attorneys have banded together and formed a new group, United to Protect Democracy, with the sole mission of rooting out legal ways to resist Trump.
The group, of course, puts a different spin on it: Members say they’re only trying to keep Trump accountable to the people, and fight off what they perceive as illegal White House policies.
Make no mistake about it. This is a hit job group, aimed at using the courts to tie up Trump, to trip up his agenda, and to tire out his team.
“United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing them to operate as a nonprofit but participate in some forms of political advocacy as well.
“While other Trump opponents focus on taking the president to court over the travel ban and deportations, the new group plans to drill into issues that aren’t already hitting the headlines, like potential intervention in and intimidation of regulatory agencies by West Wing staff.
“‘When people hear concerns about democracies declining into authoritarianism, they expect that moment to come in a singular thunderclap where everyone can see that this is the time,’ said Ian Bassin, who’s leading the new group. ‘In reality, often times, democracies decline over a period of years that happen through a series of much smaller steps.’
“They started by submitting 50 Freedom of Information Act requests this week that they believe will confirm their suspicions. The plan is to bring what they find to reporters, build it into pressure for congressional oversight with the help of a campaign director they’ll hire, and, as necessary, to file lawsuits. …
“‘We need an organization that is specifically and holistically focused on that worst-case scenario,’ Bassin said.”
The group’s also actively seeking complainants.
Politico reported members have formed a website where government workers worried about Team Trump ethics can voice their frustrations and concerns – a gathering place for whistleblowers, if you will.
Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, remarked on the group’s formation with this: “This administration has raised the level of ethics training and oversight to a new level compared to the practices of the previous administration.”