“Russia probes pose loyalty test for Team Trump”
Lawyers representing Donald Trump’s current and former aides are giving their clients one simple piece of advice: Don’t lie to protect the president.
As special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators prepare to question high-ranking aides — including Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer — in the coming weeks, Trump’s long history of demanding his employees’ complete loyalty is being put to the test.
“The lesson to be always learned is loyalty is one thing, but are you prepared to go to jail for it?” said former Whitewater special counsel Robert Ray. “The answer to that question should be no.”
Ray, who succeeded Starr as the special counsel investigating the Clinton White House, called political loyalty a “good thing” that “makes the system work” for elected officials and their staff. But he noted it also “presents some problems when it comes to criminal investigations. These have real-life consequences to people beyond what they even imagined.”
“Loyalty is not a two-way street,” Ray said. “A lot of young people go to the White House and they’re going to be loyal to the president and the president is going to be loyal to me. Bullshit. If it’s expedient, you’re going to be thrown under the bus. The loyalty isn’t necessarily going to be returned. Even if it were, I’m not sure the promise or prospect of a pardon is all that comforting.”