Two complaints seeking the disbarment of senior Trump White House advisors have been filed in less than one week, the newest one alleging criminal activity and violation of a Republican President’s executive orders prohibiting political interference with criminal investigations.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus just got slammed with a serious complaint by the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) for professional misconduct over his decision to contact the FBI and demand they push back against their investigations of the Trump regime.
If Wisconsin’s OLR decides that the complaint sets forth sufficient allegations of wrongdoing, they’ll command Trump’s closest advisor to reply within 20 days and an investigation will proceed with due process.
The complaint cites confirmed reports that Priebus contacted the FBI which the White House defends, even though covering up official corruption is indefensible:
Priebus’ corrupt communications implicitly threatened Comey and McCabe with termination of their employment because Trump has the power to remove McCabe from his position as Deputy Director of the FBI and to remove Comey from his position as Director of the FBI if they do not comply with the requests of the President as communicated through his agent and Chief of Staff.
An activist attorney in Massachusetts filed the complaint, saying that there’s probable cause to investigate Priebus for violating Wisconsin bar rules by engaging in professional misconduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
Attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee specifically noted in his complaint that Priebus’ attempts to influence the FBI violated an executive order issued by President Ronald Reagan requiring written permission from the Attorney General for White House staffers to even speak with the FBI about ongoing investigations of a political nature.
There was no lawful authorization from the Attorney General for Priebus to communicate with Comey or McCabe. An executive order issued by Ronald Reagan in 1981 and on several statutes, require the Attorney General’s approval for most contacts between the FBI and the White House regarding foreign intelligence matters that involve domestic political activities. The written controls provide:
“Compromising information concerning domestic officials or political organizations, or information concerning activities of United States persons intended to affect the political process in the United States, may be disseminated to the White House only with the approval of the Attorney General, based on a determination that such dissemination is needed for foreign intelligence purposes, for the purpose of protecting against international terrorism or other threats to the national security, or for the conduct of foreign affairs.”
The complaint says that Priebus’ contacts with the FBI and Director James Comey violate written Justice Department guidance from the Bush and Obama Administrations. Larrabee replied to our request for comment by urging Wisconsin authorities to take action:
As a lawyer and public official, Priebus must adhere to a standard of conduct above reproach and beyond that of other citizens. His intervention in the FBI’s investigation was an abuse of the public office that he holds. He is not fit to occupy a position of trust as White House Chief of Staff or as a lawyer. In order to promote integrity in the White House, President Trump must terminate Priebus as Chief of Staff. The President must appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether or not to charge Priebus with obstruction of justice. The Wisconsin Supreme Court must revoke Priebus license to practice law in order to maintain the integrity of the legal profession.
The bar complaint first have to convince Wisconsin’s OLR staffers that they’ve got jurisdiction to cover White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’ corrupt behavior in Washington, D.C. before any investigation can begin. There’s no fixed timeline for the OLR’s decision.
Larrabee‘s complaint also alleges that Priebus committed a criminal violation of federal obstruction of justice laws, which itself can’t be prosecuted in Wisconsin, but could be swept into a special prosecutor’s activities if House Republicans decide to do their jobs and investigate. Only one California GOP Representative has backed a special prosecutor to date.
So there’s no guarantee that this complaint will be investigated, let alone come to fruition, but it’s true that this makes Reince Priebus the second high-level member of the Trump administration to catch a serious bar complaint for dirty political activities. Just last week S
enior Advisor Propaganda Minister Kellyanne Conway received one at the D.C. Bar, filed by 15 angry law professors.
Within the coming months, Wisconsin authorities will probably make the decision to demand Trump’s White House Chief of Staff to respond to the demand for disbarment. Alternatively, they’ll decide to turn a blind eye to Reince Priebus’ blatant violation of the sensible, bipartisan rules intended to keep the FBI free of political interference. They may not even be allowed by their own rules to get involved.
But make no mistake, regardless of this complaint maturing into a Wisconsin bar investigation or some other agency picking up the ball and running with it, these serious allegations are rooted in facts. Those facts indicate a major cover-up operation by the Trump Administration.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition