The revolving door for President Donald Trump’s legal advisers has turned faster than ever in recent weeks, as his attempts to overturn the 2020 election have grown more desperate. And in a recording released on Sunday, a now infamous conference call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger revealed that notorious Conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell has apparently joined the fold as the president’s last free lawyer.
During the phone call, first posted by The Washington PostMitchell could be heard fighting for the anti-democratic interests of the Trump team.
“I think what the president is saying and what we’re trying to do is say, look, the court is not acting on our petition. They haven’t even nominated a judge, ”Mitchell told Raffensperger after a dazzling rant from Trump about the Secretary of State’s reluctance to change the election results. “But the Georgian people and the American people have a right to know the answers and you have data and records that we do not have access to. And you keep telling us and making public statements that you’ve investigated this and, you know, nothing to do here.
Until his name appeared in the Publish History, Mitchell had conducted his legal work for Trump and his team almost entirely out of the public eye, choosing instead to appear sporadically in pro-Trump media, most of the time without revealing his own role. In an unnoticed podcast appearance, she described herself as a ‘volunteer’ with Trump’s long, long campaign long fired a legal battle. While the extent of her current role in Trump’s cause wasn’t widely known until this week – not even from her own law firm, apparently – knowledgeable sources say she was underway before Thanksgiving .
Moreover, Mitchell had already replaced Trump in a 2011 affair, according to official documents and contemporary accounts.
She was not a large media presence officially representing the president’s post-election legal team, unlike Trump lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis or Trump’s adviser Sidney Powell, and her name has been absent the last two months of legal paperwork or court records the Trump team filed during the president’s strenuous efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s decisive victory in the 2020 presidential election, according to a review of the Daily Beast files.
But Mitchell’s involvement with Trump, his senior executives and his legal team in baselessly contesting Biden’s victory dates back about two months, according to two sources familiar with his presence on the team, as well as text messages reviewed by The Daily Beast. Behind the scenes of legal work and paperwork, she became the go-to for the Trump team for trying to overturn the Georgia vote results, and has been in contact with Trump and the White House on several occasions. since November. She is viewed by other members of the legal team and by Trump’s staff as an ally of Mark Meadows, Trump’s White House chief of staff.
It’s unclear why Mitchell’s role has been kept largely silent for as long as it has been, although she would not be the only lawyer to have worked with Trump’s legal team who also kept the silence about it. In late November, the Daily Beast reported that Christina Bobb, on-air host of the Trump-endorsed One America News Network, had quietly done legal work for the president’s so-called “elite strike force.” , and had shown at the campaign headquarters. She did so without revealing it in her television coverage of the same legal efforts.
Mitchell, the White House, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, and Giuliani did not respond to messages or phone calls seeking comment on this story. But on Monday, Mitchell’s own law firm released a statement reacting to Sunday’s announcement of his role in President Trump’s anti-democratic mission ahead of Biden’s inauguration in Washington, DC on the 20th. January.
The firm did not seem satisfied.
“Foley & Lardner LLP does not represent any party seeking to challenge the results of the presidential election,” the statement said. “In November, the firm took the political decision not to take any party representation in matters relating to the results of the presidential election. Our policy allowed our lawyers to participate in the observation of electoral recounts and similar actions on a voluntary basis in their capacity as private citizens as long as they did not act as legal advisers. We are aware of and concerned about Ms. Mitchell’s participation in the January 2 conference call and are working to better understand her involvement.
Contacted Monday afternoon, company spokesperson Dan Farrell said they had “no more to share beyond” this official statement at this time.
Prior to Sunday’s call, Mitchell’s public involvement was primarily an advocate for the pro-Trump media. She made two appearances on Fox Business with Maria Bartoromo to complain about (unsubstantiated) allegations of voter fraud after the election on November 10. to talk to Mayor Giuliani today about what we are seeing in Georgia.
In a separate Fox News appearance with host Sandra Smith, Smith was surprised by a hot mic rolling his eyes at Mitchell’s fraud allegations and muttering: “What is happening?“
In a Nov. 30 podcast interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Mitchell said, “I have worked as a volunteer for the Trump campaign and the legal team in Georgia.
In a separate interview a week later, she told Perkins: “I am a volunteer. We have other volunteers who help us because there is so much to include. The goal was to create a public record. which demonstrated the extent of the violations and the illegality. “
In his podcast interviews, Mitchell claimed thousands of ineligible voters voted in the election and blamed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “This election was not valid. These results are not valid. Whatever one says, it is not valid. The Secretary of State has a lot to answer, ”she said baselessly.
Over the years, Mitchell has earned a reputation as a leading campaign finance lawyer for Conservative candidates and activist groups with legal issues before the IRS and the Federal Election Commission.
During Obama’s presidency, Mitchell was a benchmark lawyer for the Tea Party movement and the candidates it spawned. When Nevada state lawmaker Sharron Angle ran against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a Tea Party platform, she hired Mitchell, who criticized the Senate’s top Democrat in a fundraising letter for allegedly trying to “steal this election if he can’t win it outright.” through the alleged use of free food at election rallies.
Over the past few years, Mitchell has represented a who’s who of prominent Trumpworld figures, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Steve Bannon, and prominent conservative activist groups like the NRA and the Rebuilding America Now Super PAC founded by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. in 2016.
When the IRS investigated and delayed granting tax-exempt status to an array of conservative nonprofits following the Citizens United ruling, Mitchell represented True the Vote, a group of conservative activists focused on electoral law, in a lawsuit alleging that the IRS unfairly targeted the group on the basis of its ideological affiliation.
Mitchell’s relationship with Trump dates back to at least 2011, when she represented him against a later rejected Federal Election Commission complaint alleging that Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen violated funding laws for the campaign with illegal in-kind contributions when Trump was considering a run for president in 2012.
Shawn Thompson, former campaign aide to then-Representative Ron Paul, “filed a complaint against me with the FEC for using Trump’s 727 plane to fly to Iowa in 2011,” Michael said. Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, at The Daily Beast on Monday. Cohen said he asked Mitchell to fight the lawsuit because of her reputation as a campaign finance lawyer.
At the time, she did not have a close working relationship with Trump, Cohen said, but her victory in having the complaint dismissed created an impression. By the time the 2016 campaign began, “Donald Trump was already seeing her as a winner,” according to Cohen’s account.
The two seem to be getting closer in recent years. Trump invited Mitchell to a White House ceremony commemorating the centenary of women’s suffrage in August 2020 and named her “a great lawyer … beyond a lawyer.”
—With additional reports by Justin baragona
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