U.S. President Donald Trump walks along the Rose Garden as he returns from a day trip to Atlanta on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2017.
CARLOS BARRIA

Trump’s choice in lawyers suggests he doesn’t hire ‘the best people’

Updated

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump assured voters he’d surround himself “only with the best and most serious people.” The Republican even wrote about it on Facebook, vowing he “will hire the best people.”

Now that Trump’s in office, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest these promises weren’t true – and I’m not just talking about the president’s White House team and cabinet.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/16/17, 9:00 PM ET

Trump lawyer not helping with pro-Confederacy e-mail

Rachel Maddow shares a new report from The New York Times that Donald Trump’s lawyer forwarded an e-mail arguing no difference between Robert E. Lee and George Washington.
Consider, for example, the outside legal team Trump has hired to lead his defense in the Russia scandal. As Rachel noted on the show, the New York Times reported overnight:

President Trump’s personal lawyer on Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line – “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” – was a reference to comments Mr. Trump made earlier this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town.

The ridiculous email told recipients, “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there literally is no difference between the two men.”

Trump World really is getting stranger. One would assume that the lawyer overseeing the president’s legal defense in the most serious political scandal in at least a generation would be pretty busy. The fact that Dowd is making time to promote a racially inflammatory message, helping spread neo-Confederate propaganda, is truly bizarre.

It’s worth emphasizing that the president’s chief outside counsel didn’t write the contents of the email; he forwarded it to a group of journalists and public officials. The author of the message Dowd apparently liked is a guy named Jerome Almon, who reportedly ”runs several websites alleging government conspiracies and arguing that the F.B.I. has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists.”

Dowd, of course, isn’t the only attorney on Trump’s outside legal team. There’s also Marc Kasowitz, who has a record of sending some unhinged emails of his own, and Jay Sekulow, best known for leading TV preacher Pat Robertson’s legal group, who hasn’t exactly distinguished himself since signing on with the president.

If these are “the best people” Trump could find, maybe he’s not looking hard enough?

Donald Trump

Trump's choice in lawyers suggests he doesn't hire 'the best people'

Updated