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All the Presidents' Lawyers


All presidents have legal issues. Some have more than others. A weekly conversation about the law, executive power, and all the presidents' lawyers, good and bad.

All presidents have legal issues. Some have more than others. A weekly conversation about the law, executive power, and all the presidents' lawyers, good and bad.


United States





All presidents have legal issues. Some have more than others. A weekly conversation about the law, executive power, and all the presidents' lawyers, good and bad.




Tax returns return

The Biden administration said this week that the House Ways and Means Committee can have access to former President Trump’s tax returns. The committee says it wants the returns as part of an ongoing investigation into how the IRS audits presidents – and that Trump’s returns serve a valid legislative purpose. Trump said he’d personally sue to prevent the returns from being turned over (and he did so after we recorded this episode). Are we in for another long battle? Also: federal judges...


DOJ threads the needle

Michael Avenatti is one week into representing himself in federal court in Southern California, where he is accused of stealing funds from his client. Is he doing a good job lawyering for himself? And is a juror in the trial secretly posing as Josh Barro for this week’s podcast? You won’t know until you listen! P.S. As mentioned in the show, we’ve been enjoying and relying on Meghann Cuniff’s excellent and detailed reporting on the Avenatti trial. Follow her here. Then: the DOJ has...


A pro se pro?

This week, Michael Avenatti told a federal district judge in California that he would like to represent himself in his second of three criminal trials, in which he is charged with stealing millions from his clients’ settlements. There are a lot of reasons why hiring a lawyer is a very good idea and a very smart idea. Is it possible, though, that Michael Avenatti could be making a good decision, even though his experience in criminal law is, uh, as a defendant? Also: like former President...


An expensive defense

Allen Weisselberg is no longer in executive positions with the Trump Organization and its subsidiaries. Does this signal anything about the relationship between the former CFO and the company? Weisselberg’s defense is going to be very, very expensive. How expensive? Ken says there’s a good chance a full defense in a case like this could even be $1.7 million — the amount in off-the-books compensation Weisselberg is alleged to have received. So who’s paying those legal bills, and what happens...


BONUS: Josh and Ken talk about the criminal indictments against Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization

Surprise episode! Josh Barro and Ken White talk about the unsealed indictments of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. They’re alleged to have engaged in a fifteen-year tax fraud scheme that protected Weisselberg and other Trump Organization employees from paying tax. In Weisselberg’s case, that’s over $1.7 million in compensation. But what’s really at stake here? And is this actually just a way for prosecutors to get to the man for whom the Trump...


The ATPL XL Ask Us Anything Show

As of Wednesday morning, there have been no charges yet against the Trump Organization or any of its senior officials. The Wall Street Journal reported that charges for tax related crimes are expected Thursday for the organization and its CFO, Allan Weisselberg. Ahead of those charges, there have been reports that the New York District Attorney gave Trump Organization lawyers a deadline of this Monday to talk prosecutors out of charging the organization. What’s the purpose of that meeting?...


"What the Fuks?"

The first Capitol riot defendant received her sentence today, more than six months after the insurrection. Ken White and Josh Barro analyze the sentencing memos from the woman’s lawyer and the government. Both agreed that a lenient sentence with no jail time was appropriate for her one misdemeanor count (to which she pleaded guilty) and the government seemed to set a standard for the hundreds of sentences that are expected. What is the criteria and will it determine how other people are...


“Pure insanity”

It’s been an interesting week for Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, despite the fact that Donald Trump isn’t president anymore. This week, we saw communications from Trump administration officials pressuring people in the Department of Justice to investigate increasingly erratic claims about the November election. In one exchange, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asked then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to look into a matter dubbed “Italygate.” Rosen forwarded the request...


A Trump legal problem becomes a Biden administration problem

Before the election, the Department of Justice under President Trump was at work defending him in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, arguing that when Trump denied Carroll’s accusation that he had raped her, he did so in his official capacity as president, and therefore he couldn’t be sued. It’s customary for the Department of Justice to represent the president in situations like this, though a federal judge rejected it. The Trump DOJ appealed, but after he lost the election, there was a...


Michael Flynn and Myanmar

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn made some news this week at a rally when he seemed to say a coup like the one in Myanmar earlier this year should happen in the United States. Flynn denied saying this, even though he was caught on tape. Flynn’s old boss, former president Trump, is supposedly telling people he expects to be reinstated as president by August. While Ken says it’s not a crime to believe or wish you’ll be reinstated, it can tip over into seditious conspiracy if an...


Blast from the past

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has empaneled a special grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former President Donald Trump, his business, or his business associates. It could be a few months before we know anything, or if there will be anything, about indictments. Is this an indication that Vance expected to indict anyone at all? Ken White and Josh Barro discuss the coverage of the grand jury announcement and the part of the memo sent to then-Attorney General Barr...


This podcast is no longer purely civil in nature

We know that allies of Rudy Giuliani have been pushing for former President Trump to pay his legal fees or to pay him so he can pay his legal fees. But there’s another urgent ask that The Daily Beast reports Trump has demurring on: “a strong verbal or written statement saying Giuliani’s work during the Trump-Ukraine saga was done on behalf of then-President Trump—and therefore not part of an illegal foreign lobbying effort.” Josh and Ken agree this would be inadvisable for Trump if he wants...


Hushing the hush payments

Do you remember Essential Consultants, LLC? Michael Cohen’s company established to make hush payments to Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) and Karen MacDougal to stop them from publicly disclosing their affairs with Donald Trump before the 2016 election. Michael Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to making an excessive campaign contribution, but nobody else faced legal consequences for the concealed payment. And now the FEC has dropped its investigation into the matter, citing...


The Rudy raid

On a typical Wednesday, just hours after Josh Barro and Ken White recorded an episode to capture the news of the week, federal investigators executed a search warrant at Rudy Giuliani’s home and office, confiscating electronic devices, because of course they did. News reports indicate the investigation is about whether Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of foreign interests. This is bad, right? It’s a big deal to execute a search warrant on a lawyer. What can the...


Destroying phone now

In the weeks after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice came up with a plan to cast a wide net in its investigation. This would have involved investigating organizers and others who contributed to the event, according to the New York Times, but the FBI wouldn’t go for it. Why? It would be wrong to arrest people for joining groups or attending rallies or funding trips to attend rallies, but is it against the First Amendment to investigate people? Long-Suffering...


The Chauvin verdict

We got a remarkably rapid guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chuavin this Tuesday, convicted of counts including second degree unintentional murder. Josh Barro and Ken White talk about the verdict plus comments from President Biden and Congresswoman Maxine Waters and if they’ll jeopardize the verdict. Plus: the first plea deal of the insurrection, Roger Stone’s tax troubles and more.


A matter of public concern

Josh Barro and Ken White discuss the different way Rudy Giuliani is responding to Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against him. Why might he have taken a different approach from Sidney Powell? Plus: former Rep. Katie Hill sued the Daily Mail under California’s revenge porn statute, and this week a judge threw out the suit and the decision was on an anti-SLAPP motion, so Hill may have to pay for the paper’s legal defense. The Daily Mail had published compromising photos of Hill,...



Josh Barro and Ken White discuss reports of a federal investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz. What are the legal issues here? Was it smart for Gaetz to give a prime time interview about it on television? And why was this news apparently leaked? Plus: the Trump campaign set some donors up for recurring donations in a way that was dense and confusing. Is that fraud, and could some donors have a good case to sue the campaign? Recently, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals set a standard for...


Relationship to the truth

For the past three years, All The Presidents’ Lawyers has focused a lot on defamation cases, and there’s an obvious reason for that: former President Trump has been (and still is) the target of defamation cases and he has also invoked or actually used defamation suits as strategy for years. Remember when Stormy Daniels sued former President Trump, saying he defamed her by calling her accusation that she threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot not to talk about her affair with him a “con job”?...


Loose lips

Michael Sherwin, who was the acting U.S. attorney in Washington overseeing the prosecution of Capitol rioters, gave a revealing interview to 60 Minutes this week. Its ripple effects in courtrooms and at the Department of Justice were almost immediate. Josh Barro and Ken White talk about that interview and what Sherwin said about the possibility of sedition charges for the rioters and other criminal charges for former President Trump. Plus: Sidney Powell’s lawyers file an interesting motion...