Immediately after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a report suggested the former asked the latter for a pledge of loyalty. Comey confirmed this in his written testimony, which was made public ahead of his Senate Intelligence Committee testimony. Republicans and Democrats alike chastised Trump for what they viewed as inappropriate behavior, but everyone else generally remained unfazed. It didn’t seem too surprising, nor should it if Trump’s insistence on loyalty again becomes a topic following a new Politico story.
Many in Trump’s inner circle — including the newly appointed White House communications director, Hope Hicks — have retained private counsel after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe named them as persons of interest. And according to Politico, lawyers for many of the president’s current and former staffers are advising their clients against lying in order to protect their boss — intentionally and otherwise:
“What I always tell clients is you can’t protect anybody. You can only hurt yourself,” said a lawyer representing a client involved in the Russia probe. The attorney added that any overt attempts to protect Trump will raise wider suspicions of a cover-up, making matters “worse for everybody.”
“Efforts to concoct a story to protect somebody are almost inevitably doomed to failure,” the attorney explained. “All you do is create liability to yourself that didn’t exist before.”
So no matter how loyal Hicks and the rest of the president’s remaining staffers want to appear to appease the boss, it seems their legal counsel is strongly advising against it. Sure, Trump probably won’t be too happy with them should their testimony result in further action by Mueller and competing congressional investigations, but at least they won’t be charged with perjury.