Melding the personal and professional

Donald Trump is using government lawyers to defend what is clearly a private, non-public lawsuit.

The Justice Department moved on Tuesday to replace President Trump’s private legal team with government lawyers to defend him against a defamation lawsuit by the author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

In a highly unusual legal move, lawyers for the Justice Department said in court papers that Mr. Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

This makes sense only if Trump’s interests, and the Federal government’s, are one and the same — if Trump’s denial was, in essence, an official act undertaken in his role as president.

This is nonsense. I am not especially surprised to learn that Trump likes the idea that the government is merely an extension of himself — but what on earth has happened to William Barr to make him agree?

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