Squirrel: Clintonista dark money group targeting Trump election lawyers

Kathy Willens

What can Democrats do in an election cycle without Donald Trump on the ticket and Joe Biden’s standing collapsing among American voters? One strategy would be to put Trump on the ticket anyway, or at least keep shifting focus onto him rather than the incompetent Democrat in the White House. We’ll hear plenty in House and Senate races about Trump and his “stop the steal” campaign, even though most voters are more concerned about their pocketbooks and their children’s education than in what happened two years ago.

(That’s a lesson a few Republicans could learn, too.)

As desperate as those tactics might be, they seem downright germane compared to a new effort reported by Axios this morning. A dark-money group ginned up by Clintonistas plans to spend millions of dollars airing ads and filing demands to disbar over 100 attorneys who worked on Trump’s “stop the steal” election challenges. That effort will begin as soon as next week:

A dark money group with ties to Democratic Party heavyweights will spend millions this year to expose and try to disbar more than 100 lawyers who worked on Donald Trump’s post-election lawsuits, people involved with the effort tell Axios.

Why it matters: The 65 Project plans to begin filing complaints this week and will air ads in battleground states. It hopes to deter right-wing legal talent from signing on to any future GOP efforts to overturn elections — including the midterms or 2024. …

David Brock, who founded Media Matters for America and the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century and is a Hillary Clinton ally and prolific fundraiser for Democrats, is advising the group. …

The project was devised by Melissa Moss, a Democratic consultant and former senior Clinton administration official.

The plan is to attack 111 attorneys with any connection to Trump’s challenges, covering 26 states. One attorney who surely won’t be on the list is Marc Elias, the Democrat attorney/activist that filed election challenges on behalf of his own party. Ditto for anyone involved in Jill Stein’s election challenges in multiple states after the 2016 election when the Green Party candidate was acting as a proxy for Hillary Clinton, with Clinton’s rhetorical support and likely plenty of Democratic financial support as well. To this day, Clinton refuses to acknowledge that she legitimately lost that election.

Anyway, 65 Project is clearly not focused on narrowly punishing attorneys who violated the law or the canons. If that was the purpose, they wouldn’t need to launch a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, but instead focus their resources on bar complaints and demand for hearings. The ad campaign serves two purposes, both of them nakedly political: to destroy the careers of attorneys who worked for Trump, and to create a distraction from Joe Biden, the incompetent fool that Democrats fraudulently passed off as a centrist eminence grise in 2020.

Brock freely admits to at least the former:

“I think the littler fish are probably more vulnerable to what we’re doing,” Brock said. “You’re threatening their livelihood. And, you know, they’ve got reputations in their local communities.”

A few of these attorneys deserve some dire consequences, but those are already fighting off bar actions without the help of the 65 Project. Both Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are facing sanctions up to and including disbarment for their false proffers to courts in the lawsuits they filed, pushing ridiculous claims about conspiracy theories such as Powell’s “Kraken” nonsense. They also face civil suits from Dominion and associated figures over defamation they published about their role in the 2020 election, false claims which not only threatened to ruin them but also made them targets of violent threats and potentially worse.

This effort, however, pursues character assassination of “littler fish” not out of a sense of justice but as a political machination in service of Biden. It’s a cynical manipulation of the legal system for some small measure of political benefit, and probably mostly futile anyway as voters simply won’t care. To the extent it has any impact at all, it will be to convince attorneys not to take on political candidates as clients — and that may wind up backfiring on some of the 65 Project’s allies, with one Hillary Rodham “Wiped With A Cloth” Clinton a poster girl for that point. Or for that matter, also one Hunter “Where’s My Laptop?” Biden, too. The payback on this kind of campaign would be scorched-earth all the way around.

The right to legal counsel is a benchmark of American justice, and with that comes a corollary that we don’t judge attorneys by their clients. In fact, we’ll hear Democrats make that same point with Ketanji Brown Jackson, who worked as a public defender and most likely had to work on behalf of a few creeps along the way. Should we have disbarred Brown Jackson over her client list, or should we recognize that she performed her job for her clients as we expect in this justice system?

Attacking attorneys because they worked for Trump directly attacks that principle. Even if the 65 Project can scrape up legitimate ethics complaints about these “littler fish,” their clear intent to whip up a witch hunt for the political benefit of desperate Democrats makes this a poisonous and corrosive campaign. Considering the people behind it, the “poisonous and corrosive” qualities are not a surprise, either.

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