Former DOJ Lawyer Under Trump Says She Is ‘Haunted by What I Did’

A former lawyer at the Department of Justice (DOJ) is speaking out about the work she did under President Donald Trump’s tenure which she claims “nearly ended” the nation’s democratic system of government. 

Erica Newland, who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2016-2018, penned an op-ed in The New York Times over the weekend to share her account of what it was like working in the office of the DOJ “where presidents turn for permission slips that say their executive orders and other contemplated actions are lawful.”

Newland began by noting that she joined the department in 2016 and “never harbored delusions about a Trump presidency.”

“Mr. Trump readily volunteered that his agenda was to disassemble our democracy, but I made a choice to stay at the Justice Department — home to some of the country’s finest lawyers — for as long as I could bear it,” she said.

However, she explained that she believed she could serve the country better by “pushing back from within than by keeping my hands clean.”

In her role, Newland says she worked to minimize the “immediate harmful impacts” of Trump’s executive orders and make them more acceptable to courts. 

She provided the example of how lawyers in her office worked on Trump’s efforts to ban travel from “predominantly Muslim countries.” She noted that the first order was “rushed out the door” and struck down by the courts.

However, in 2018, a third travel ban order, which “benefited from more time and attention from the department’s lawyers,” was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Erin Scott/File Photo/Reuters

The decision by the Supreme Court that year, along with a review of her work under Trump, led her to “fear that I was doing more harm than good” and leave the department.

Still, she said she urged DOJ lawyers to stay in their positions to provide pushback and that she was encouraged by “news reports about meaningful pushback.”

“I was wrong. Watching the Trump campaign’s attacks on the election results, I now see what might have happened if, rather than nip and tuck the Trump agenda, responsible Justice Department attorneys had collectively — ethically, lawfully — refused to participate in President Trump’s systematic attacks on our democracy from the beginning. The attacks would have failed.”

Newland went on to argue that if career officials at the DOJ had left in the early years of the administration and were replaced with “second-rate lawyers” — which she said the Trump campaign hired to try to overturn the election — then judges might have “dismantled the Trump facade from the beginning.”

“Before the 2020 election, I was haunted by what I didn’t do. By all the ways I failed to push back enough. Now, after the 2020 election, I’m haunted by what I did. The trade-off wasn’t worth it.”

She said she is haunted by the work she did do under Trump as she argued she gave a voice to “those trying to destroy the rule of law.”

“No matter our intentions, we were complicit. We collectively perpetuated an anti-democratic leader by conforming to his assault on reality,” she said, adding, “No matter how much any one of us pushed back from within, we did so as members of a professional class of government lawyers who enabled an assault on our democracy — an assault that nearly ended it.”

“We owe the country our honesty about that and about what we saw. We owe apologies. I offer mine here.”

Finally, she said, “And we owe our best efforts to restore our democracy and to share what we learned to help mobilize and enact reforms.”

Responses

  1. Gee, Obama wrote actually illegal Executive Orders (DACA) and signed illegal Accords/Deals bypassing Congress (Paris Accord, Iran Nuke Deal) plus paid billions of taxpayer dollars to a corrupt terrorist regime, bombed 7 countries, killed Americans without due process, killed over 1,000 civilians including women and children with the drone program, threw billions at ‘shovel ready green projects’ that failed (Solyndra), wiretapped a) the leaders of Mexico, Germany, France b) Trump’s campaign c) news reporters, started Crossfire Hurricane, hid his support of Louis Farrakhan, targeted bitter clingers to their bibles and guns, weaponized the IRS twice against Republicans, did nothing about Flint, MI water, allowed veterans to die without care VA Scandal, Benghazi, supported thugs and riots, tried to kill the Second Amendment…..shall I continue? Much, much more. These were criminal acts. Did the leftists care?
    And Trump is the criminal? Tell me EXACTLY what crimes Trump committed. Not just ‘ruined our democracy’. Which by the way is not a democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic. Lefties probably don’t remember, but the Pledge of Allegiance is ‘to the Republic’.
    Now we’re supposed to believe that Xiden is a great candidate? We’ve heard him brag about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold foreign aid. Legal? No. We’ve seen transcripts of letters and agreements and we have eye-witness testimony about Hunter AND Joe Xiden being on China’s payroll…and don’t forget the Manchurian candidate Harris, on board with the Xidens since 2017.
    We have eye-witnesses, paper trails, expert testimony, and just plain old intelligence to show what a farce the elections were. It was CRIMINAL.
    And let’s not forget the lies and cover-ups by the MSM throughout Trump’s Presidency.
    The algorithms of Google adjusted to sway voters to the far left. The blocks from Twitter and Facebook. The entire ‘Resistance’ in which you have the losing VP candidate, Tim Kaine, calling out for ‘people to go out into the streets and fight’………treason! So tell me, what was the dictator part about Trump?

  2. I agree with Carl, Glenn, Tony, Harry, Dave, Finster, Tom, Paul, Becky and especially Marc.

  3. I am shocked. SHOCKED!!!
    The NYT has found another low-level drone to say bad things about President Trump. Turn over any cowpie in a field and 100 will scurry out from under it. This drone left the Trump Administration and joined… wait for it… Protect Democracy Project, a left-of-center litigation organization created to oppose the policies of President Donald Trump. She thought she was going to be clever and be a mole in the organization, undermining the efforts of the duly elected President. Hmm, that didn’t work out, she merely helped focus Trump’s broad concepts into refined, legal positions.
    Who’da thunk it. They’re going to bash this guy until the day he exits the door. But leftist TDS sufferers will no doubt orgasm over this “new” revelation. Got that thrill running up their legs…

  4. Every time I think that I can’t hear something more outrageous from the left, I am proved wrong. This takes the cake. What has been and still is working towards dismantling our democracy is the members of the deep state opposing a lawfully elected president’s agenda by deeming themselves the sole representatives of truth and justice. What has been and still is working towards dismantling our democracy is the politicization of the FBI to the point where conservatives are threatened, blackmailed, and bullied into saying they did something wrong (e.g., Flynn) while clear evidence of massive wrongdoing that strikes at the heart of our democracy (e.g., Hunter, Hillary) is ignored. What is dismantling our democracy is not only the commission of election fraud, but the widespread denial and acceptance (By Any Means Necessary) of the fraud.

  5. Well Dave…there’s another saying. “There’s no fool like an old fool!” Lol. I can say that cuz I’m old! 😉

  6. There’s an old saying that this over educated under experienced youngster needs to remember. Don’t ever BS a BSer!

  7. This is just one small hole in the dam that’s about to burst on trumps anti democracy, pro fascist presidency. Many more will be speaking up once the crook is out of the WH.

  8. She gave herself away by the comment: “never harbored delusions about a Trump presidency.” If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail! NOT BELIEVABLE!

  9. She sounds just like another screaming, lying Liberal. And most likely, she is one! I have no doubt she favors the ‘Defund the Police’ insanity! President Trump didn’t do anything other than Protect this Democracy and this entire country! Expect Biden to do the exact opposite!

  10. Well isn’t she precious! Former attorney, speaking out, haunted, apologies. Nice buzzwords. Obviously while she was being paid she kept her mouth shut to all of her egregious observations. I must have missed it. So she was fired?

  11. Why did this sanctimonious b I t c h stay so long? She must be hoping to get a sinecure from corrupt, sleepy Joe.

  12. Wow,,, the Stench of BS from her is over whelming,,, he never said he wanted to dismantle democracy ,,,, he said, numerous times, he wanted to dismantle the SWAMP !!!!!!

      1. Glenn, you nailed it. I lived and worked in Washington for 60 years and I know the swamp. For them, the end always justifies the means and they can always find or create some argument to justify the means as well. Just look at the Supreme Court rulings by the likes of Ginsburg, Warren, Stevens, Souter, and the 3 lock-step liberals up there today. That’s what they call a “living Constitution”.

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