The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump just hired a deep-state conspiracy theorist as his lawyer. Here’s what Joe diGenova has said.

President Trump has stepped up his attacks on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation in recent days, and his lawyer even suggested that the inquiry should be shut down. And just in case the direction in which this whole thing is headed wasn't clear, Trump has now hired a lawyer who argues the president is being framed.

Trump's legal team on Monday announced the hiring of Joseph E. diGenova, a former U.S. attorney who served as an independent counsel and a special counsel in the 1990s and was later hired by the New York Senate to investigate Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D). The hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

DiGenova clearly has experience, but what may make him most attractive to Trump is his thoughts on this particular case. He told Fox News Channel in January that the investigation is “a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.”

“Make no mistake about it: A group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime,” diGenova said.

That interview was the most notable in a series of TV appearances that seem, in a way, to have been auditions for joining Trump's legal team. We know that Trump seems to like hiring people who say things he likes on cable TV, and diGenova has supplied no shortage of that. Much of diGenova's commentary has described a vast law-enforcement conspiracy to take down Trump.

With White House Counsel Donald McGahn's departure, President Trump's large and ever-changing legal team is thrown into turmoil once again. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Here's a sampling:

Feb. 2: 'The largest law enforcement scandal in history'

“We are headed toward a very sad ending for the FBI and senior DOJ officials. ... I believe that several high FBI officials will be charged criminally. And it is conceivable that some DOJ people will also be charged criminally. ... I would consider this the largest law enforcement scandal in history for this reason. The activities of McCabe and others and Bruce Ohr and others were designed to subvert the Constitution and a national election, the most serious offense under our Constitution.” (“Hannity”)

March 15: Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe should be fired ...

“He's done a number of things worth punishment, including careening through obstruction of justice from the beginning of the Trump campaign, doing everything he could to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the email server case corruptly. ... He should be fired. He should have been fired a long time ago. And if he loses some of his benefits, that's good for the country. And it's the least that can be done to him.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

... and the people involved should be arrested

“It means that the system of equal justice has been rent asunder by the conduct of James Comey, America's best-known dirty cop, Andrew McCabe and others, including senior Obama administration Justice Department officials. This is a moment in history that has sullied the reputation of the FBI and the Department of Justice, and deservedly so. Every one of these people should be put in a wanted poster at a post office, even though they may never be arrested.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

Dec. 4: The raid at Paul Manafort’s home was a ‘disgusting display’

“Or show up at your house in the morning while you and your wife were in bed in order to frighten you like they did with Mr. Manafort. What a disgusting, awful display of raw political power. Not law enforcement power, political power.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

March 7: A federal grand jury should investigate the investigators

“This is why, Lou, the only way to get these answers, once the Nunes committee is done, is to have a federal grand jury force all of these State Department people, CIA, DNI people, FBI, DOJ senior people under oath in a grand jury. It's the only way we're ever going to get the full story. ... This is the single most important scandal of the last 50 years because senior DOJ and FBI officials engaged in conduct that was designed to corrupt an American presidential election. It wasn't the Russians who corrupted the presidential election; it was the American officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI.” (“Lou Dobbs Tonight”)

President Trump railed against special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation on March 18, prompting a swift response from lawmakers. (Video: Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

Jan. 20: Loretta E. Lynch and Sally Yates broke the law

“We're going to discover that the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, her deputy Sally Yates, the head of the national security division, John Carlin, Bruce Ohr and other senior DOJ officials and, regrettably, line attorneys — people who were senior career civil servants — [allegedly] violated the law.” (Daily Caller)

Feb. 2: Attacks on FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein

“I have a lot of confidence in [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions ultimately doing the right thing. I have very little confidence in Rod Rosenstein, no confidence in Chris Wray.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

Jan. 23: Peter Strzok’s ‘secret society’ tweet was evidence of the plot against Trump

“It suggests, as we have said from the beginning, that there was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton, and if she didn't win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime. Everything that we've seen from these texts and from all the facts developing shows that the FBI and senior DOJ officials conspired to violate the law and to deny Donald Trump his civil rights.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

Feb. 1: Wray planted stories about threatening to resign

“Chris Wray planted these stories himself. He is trying to show the employees of the FBI and the former agents that he is brave. He is stalwart. He is standing up for them. This is nonsensical. If he offers to resign, the president should accept his resignation. This type of behavior by an FBI director is childish. It's immature.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

Aug. 4: Leakers are committing ‘regicide’

“They are encouraging these people to continue to leak and basically to commit regicide. I mean, they want to kill the president politically, and they'll do it any way they can.” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

Jan. 30: Rosenstein's appointment of special counsel was illegal

“But Rod did something worse. He created a mandate for Mueller, which had no limitations of time, money, subject matter. He didn't even name a crime that was being investigated, which was a violation of the Department of Justice regulations. I think when all was said and done, Rod Rosenstein's memorandum and the appointment of a special counsel will go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by a Justice Department official.” (“Lou Dobbs Tonight”)

Dec. 1: Flynn’s transition actions didn’t break the law …

“All of Flynn's conversations with the ambassador to Russia were perfectly legal during the transition period and even before. It's not a crime to communicate with an ambassador of a foreign country about foreign policy when you are the foreign policy adviser to the incoming president. So, I don't know why he lied. It's inconceivable to me. If he had told the truth, there would be no crime.” (“Ingraham Angle”)

… and Jared Kushner may have done something wrong 10 to 15 years ago

“As far as Kushner goes, if there is anything with Kushner, it involves transactions involving real estate deals 10, 15 years ago.” (“Ingraham Angle”)

No, it doesn’t control national security policy, and it’s not evading oversight. This week, author Marc Ambinder tackles five myths about the “deep state.” (Video: Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)