George Conway, the husband of counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, embraced a position on Monday that he’s slyly promoted on Twitter for weeks — his support for Robert Mueller’s legal authority in the Russia investigation.
Conway defended Mueller’s ongoing investigation as constitutional in a column he published Monday on the national security and legal blog Lawfare. Its title: “The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation.”
The column comes one week following President Donald Trump’s tweets called Mueller’s appointment “unconstitutional” and after indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort tried repeatedly to cut into the special counsel’s authority, with no success yet.
Over the almost 3,500-word essay, Conway argues how the Justice Department gives the special counsel powers to investigate and prosecute crimes and describes how both Congress and the courts have empowered such investigations. He sets up his argument in direct response to the President’s tweets.
Conway then attacks the law professor Steven Calabresi, who’s argued that Mueller has acted outside the Constitution. Calabresi “paints Mueller as a rogue prosecutor run amok: He bizarrely accuses Mueller of” leaking, Conway writes on Lawfare. “In support of all these serious charges and other censorious claims, Calabresi cites nothing.”
Conway also uses Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s congressional testimony about Mueller’s appointment to refute Trump’s assertion.
In what he calls a “final observation,” Conway hints at his motivation, while undermining the President’s legal team.
“It isn’t very surprising to see the president tweet a meritless legal position, because, as a non-lawyer, he wouldn’t know the difference between a good one and a bad one,” Conway writes. “And there is absolutely nothing wrong with lawyers making inventive and novel arguments on behalf of their clients, or on behalf of causes or people they support, if the arguments are well-grounded in law and fact, even if the arguments ultimately turn out to be wrong. But the ‘constitutional’ arguments made against the special counsel do not meet that standard and had little more rigor than the tweet that promoted them.”
Conway has declined to comment.
Conway is a lawyer himself. He has long worked as a litigator at the high-end New York law firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
Early in the Trump presidency, Conway withdrew himself from consideration for a top Justice Department job. Since then, he’s occasionally used Twitter to offer glimpses of his disagreement with the President’s message.
Conway previously tweeted his skepticism of Trump’s public statements about the travel ban. He also called the possibility of Trump’s former lawyer discussing pardons with subjects in the Mueller investigation “flabbergasting.” In late March, Conway deleted some of his more critical tweets.
Yet several more recent tweets from Conway appear to mock Trump on legal and other issues. On the day Trump said he might pardon the late boxer Muhammad Ali, Conway posted a link to the Supreme Court decision that cleared Ali of his conviction in 1971.
After the Philadelphia Eagles’ visit to the White House fell through, Conway quoted an Eagles player on Twitter describing why Trump “gives people so many reasons not to want to go” to the White House.
In another tweet responding to the accusation that Mueller’s lawyers’ political donations create the appearance of a liberal bias, Conway wrote, “Nope. His hirings show that he hired lawyers. And lawyers overwhelmingly tend, especially in the elite ranks, to be liberal Democrats.”