From time immemorial, port cities have been “wretched hives of scum and villainy,” so why should spaceports be any different? That was the theory behind Mos Eisley, home of the famous bar scene in the original Star Wars. And why should Trump’s International Hotel in Washington, D.C. be any different? It’s a gathering place for every kind of crook and scoundrel. As Lev Parnas told Rachel Maddow, “It was like a breeding ground at the Trump hotel.”
And why should Trump’s legal defense team not follow suit?
President Donald Trump’s defense team for his Senate impeachment trial will include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, sources familiar with the president’s legal strategy told NBC News Friday.
Also joining the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, and Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who joined the White House in November to help manage the messaging around impeachment, the sources said.
Villainy may be in the eye of the beholder, but the stench of scum is hard to ignore.
Kenneth Starr is a completely disgraced man, after bringing Baylor University into total disrepute:
Starr was ousted as president of Baylor University and then resigned as chancellor in 2016 amid an investigation into claims he and school officials mishandled allegations of sexual assault by football players.
An independent investigation found that under Starr’s leadership the school actively discouraged “some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
“I kept my underwear on during the massage… I don’t like massages particularly.”
— Alan Dershowitz, via Skype, trying to explain why he was in an alleged sex trafficker’s house but was only massaged by an “old, old Russian woman” and had no clue what was going on in the rest of the house. Dershowitz also said: “Were there young women in another part of the house giving massages when I wasn’t around? I have no idea of that.”
Bondi was serving as Florida’s attorney general when allegations began to arise that Trump University was a fraud. On the one hand, she publicly said she’d look into it. On the other, she privately asked Trump to fund her reelection campaign. Trump obliged, illegally using his charitable organization to do it. Bondi promptly dropped the investigation into Trump University, and both parties defended the whole arrangement. Then they denied it had been an arrangement at all, with Trump claiming that he had actually donated the money to another organization with a similar name. But that organization never received any money, and Trump was fined by the IRS and his charitable organization was shut down.
Then there is Robert Ray. He’s another piece of work.
The former federal prosecutor who succeeded Kenneth W. Starr as independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation has been charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend, police said.
Robert W. Ray surrendered to police Thursday. He was ordered to appear in court at a later date and released, police said.
A complaint filed by Ray’s ex-girlfriend says he e-mailed, called and visited her against her wishes after their relationship ended.
There are many possible ways to respond to Trump’s choice of defenders.
this is definitely an “are you fucking kidding me?” kinda day.
— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) January 17, 2020
As far as I know, Bondi has never been closely associated with sexual misconduct or assault, but I think she’d fit in at the Star Wars cantina just fine. As it is, her lobbying firm regularly sends its clients to Trump’s D.C. hotel.
Maybe these are the only people who are morally compromised enough to see some advantage in arguing for the president’s innocence, but I hope the House Managers remember to bring their lightsabers to the proceedings.
Speaking of which, maybe Ponda Baba was an innocent victim and Obi-Wan Kenobi was wrong to cut off his hand. I’m sure Alan Dershowitz would be willing to make that argument.