Daily Bread for 12.23.22: Bad, Bad Advice

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cold with a high of -1. Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:25 PM for 9h 01m 55s of daytime. The moon is a new  with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1783, George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

What’s bad advice from a lawyer? Well, when you’re not protecting the client’s interest, and when you’re dissuading the client from truthful testimony. Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer report Jan. 6 Witness Told Panel That Lawyer Tried to Influence Her Testimony (‘Cassidy Hutchinson recounted to the House select committee how a lawyer with ties to former President Donald J. Trump said to her that she should “focus on protecting the president.”’):

WASHINGTON — Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who was a standout witness of the House Jan. 6 committee investigation, told the panel in an interview in September that a lawyer aligned with former President Donald J. Trump had tried to influence her testimony, the latest example of what the committee says was an effort to stonewall its inquiry.

“We just want to focus on protecting the president,” Ms. Hutchinson recalled Stefan Passantino, a former Trump White House lawyer who represented her during her early interactions with the committee, telling her.

“We all know you’re loyal,” she said Mr. Passantino told her. “Let’s just get you in and out, and this day will be easy, I promise.”


But it was Ms. Hutchinson’s transcript release that captured the most attention on Capitol Hill. The document shows Mr. Passantino was not the only person who Ms. Hutchinson claimed wanted her to protect Mr. Trump.

She told the committee that on the night before her initial interview, another aide to Mr. Meadows, Ben Williamson, called her with a message.

“Mark [Meadows] wants you to know that he knows you’re loyal and he knows you’ll do the right thing tomorrow and that you’re going to protect him and the boss,” she quoted Mr. Williamson as saying, in an apparent reference to Mr. Trump. “You know, he knows that we’re all on the same team and we’re all a family.”


In her two most recent interviews with the committee, Ms. Hutchinson repeatedly suggested that Mr. Passantino sought to shape her testimony and encouraged her to avoid mentioning events that might embarrass Mr. Trump. She said she was concerned in particular about being asked about an episode in which Mr. Trump was said to have lunged at a Secret Service agent who refused to take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

According to Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, Mr. Passantino advised her to say that she did not recall the event if she was asked about it. “The less you remember, the better,” she quoted him as saying.

Mr. Passantino left the White House Counsel’s Office midway through Mr. Trump’s term. But he maintained ties to Mr. Trump’s world, including appearing in court as a lawyer for the Trump Organization regarding some of Mr. Trump’s legal matters.

So, how’s Attorney Stefan Passantino doing after the revelation of this manipulative advice? Not so well, one guesses. Justin Wise reports Trump Lawyer Takes Leave From Firm After Jan. 6 Panel Allegation:

Stefan Passantino has taken a leave of absence from law firm Michael Best & Friedrich following an allegation that he advised a Trump White House staffer to mislead the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the US Capitol.

Passantino, who was once the top ethics lawyer in the Trump White House, later advised White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson as she prepared to go before the committee. CNN reported that committee members believe Passantino urged Hutchinson to mislead the panel. Hutchinson switched lawyers before testifying publicly in a June committee hearing.

Passantino’s bio has been scrubbed from Michael Best’s website. He’s on leave “given the distraction of this matter,” he said Wednesday in a email. Passantino said he was not acting on behalf of Michael Best in his work for Hutchinson and pushed back against the allegation that he advised her to mislead lawmakers.

Michael Best did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Now, some sound advice for Whitewater (or anywhere, truly): avoid officials and their hangers-on who urge that everyone should act as ‘one family,’ or that it’s best to follow ‘our traditions’ rather than standard, ethical practices. This ilk manages that way well enough, and brims with confidence, until someone comes along and shatters the shell of their rotten egg. Walk away, as Hutchinson did, and find someone better who will offer ethical advice. 

Martian ‘winter wonderland’ – Frost, snow and extreme cold on the Red Planet explained:

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