The Comey-Giuliani connection is another reminder of how the Trump Presidency has dragged us back to the gaudy, big-shouldered Manhattan of the nineteen-eighties. But even Comey appeared thrown by the plot twist involving his old boss. During an interview on Thursday night at Town Hall, when The New Yorker’s David Remnick asked Comey about the Giuliani appointment, he paused for a long moment and said, “I don’t know what to make of it.” He added, “I don’t know what the attorney-client dynamic is like around the President.”
JOSH GERSTEIN , POLITICO|AIWA! NO!| Lawyers for President Donald Trump are invoking the government shutdown to seek a delay in a court case over claims that Trump is illegally profiting from business his Washington hotel does with foreign countries.
Justice Department attorneys representing Trump asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to postpone indefinitely all further filings in an appeal related to a suit that the governments of Maryland and Washington, D.C., filed over Trump’s alleged violation of the Constitution’s ban on foreign emoluments.
The government’s brief is not due until Jan. 22, but DOJ lawyers asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Va., to put the appeal on ice until the shutdown ends.
“The Department does not know when funding will be restored by Congress,” Justice lawyers wrote. “Absent an appropriation, Department of Justice attorneys and employees are prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including ‘emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property’. … Undersigned counsel for the Department of Justice therefore requests a stay of briefing on the President’s mandamus petition until Congress has restored appropriations to the Department.”
A short time after the government filed the request, the court agreed to put the case on hold indefinitely.
The Justice Department lawyers appear to be asking the appeals court not only to lift the deadlines in the case, but also to extend them by the duration of the shutdown once Congress and the president put new funding in place.
Similar motions were being filed Wednesday in a variety of civil cases the federal government is involved in, including some litigation related to Trump’s policy limiting grants of asylum
The Justice Department is one of the government agencies lacking appropriations because of the shutdown, but most personnel, such as FBI agents, prison guards and criminal prosecutors, have been designated as essential. Lawyers handling civil litigation for the federal government are typically furloughed during a shutdown. However, if a court orders the Justice Department to keep working on a civil case, attorneys are permitted to do so.
Justice Department attorneys are representing Trump in the case because the D.C. and Maryland suit was initially filed against Trump in his official capacity as president. Justice lawyers typically represent all government employees sued in connection with their official duties. The case was later amended — at the suggestion of U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte, the judge overseeing it — to name Trump personally as a defendant. He now has private lawyers also representing him in the litigation.