You know how your kinda, sorta racist uncle sometimes forwards you things? Donald Trump’s lawyer—shockingly—is just like that. On Wednesday, the New York Times got hold of an email forwarded by President Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd that, in part, consists of a patently absurd ahistorical comparison between Robert E. Lee and George Washington—not to mention Napoleon and Shaka Zulu. I know that all sounds a bit circuitous, but just give it a second.
The email Dowd deemed worthy enough to forward carried the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” and presented itself as talking points for Trump’s response to Charlottesville, during which, in an effort to never admit he’s wrong, Trump has painted him into a corner where the only escape hatch is arguing the leader of the Confederate Army is the real hero here. “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”
The talking points read like a dystopian SAT question.
“You’re sticking your nose in my personal email?” Mr. Dowd told the Times in response to questions about the email. “People send me things. I forward them.” Just like your racist uncle. One difference here is that this is the president of the United States’ lawyer. A second point of interest is that Dowd didn’t just send the crackpot equivalency to his family (although he also sent it to them), according to the Times, he also relayed it to the Wall Street Journal editorial page and journalists at Fox News and the Washington Times.
What about the author of the email made the president of the United States’ lawyer think it was worth flagging the Wall Street Journal editorial page? “The email’s author, Jerome Almon, runs several websites alleging government conspiracies and arguing that the F.B.I. has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists,” according to the Times. “He once unsuccessfully sued the State Department for $900 million over claims of discrimination.” Seems legit. Sign him up. Perhaps he has some ideas on health care reform.
You may be wondering how someone like Almon, who is black incidentally, came to be in touch with the president’s lawyer. The answer is the most Trumpy thing ever. “Mr. Almon said he sent the email to follow up on a phone call he had last week with Mr. Dowd,” according to the Times. “He said he had called to offer damaging information about James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and to provide other information about the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign.”
A veritable legal dream team Trump's got going here.