In a country that loves true crime drama, the Trump administration is an unending well of entertainment. Every day brings new legal developments in the ever-growing investigations closing in on Trump world. From Paul Manafort’s trials to Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to Michael Flynn’s cooperation agreement to Allen Weisselberg’s immunity to Trump’s obstructions of justice to Inspector General reports, the Trump-Russia penumbra makes the hoopla over O.J., Casey, and Adnan look quaint. In the modern world of 24-7 cable news, it’s a good time to be a telegenic former prosecutor.
But it’s not just the expert commentators that are grabbing air time and making bank. The true innovation of the Russia investigation is how much TV time the investigation’s principals are getting. Active investigation subjects, subpoena targets, civil litigants, and even criminal defendants are speaking to reporters on the record at an alarming rate. And it doesn’t stop with the peripheral clowns, jesters, and showmen like Sam Nunberg and Carter Page. It’s the lawyers to some of the most endangered clients and sensitive witnesses who are blabbing to Chuck Todd and Anderson Cooper about legal strategy on a nightly basis!
The practice has become so prevalent that the public no doubt believes litigating in the court of public opinion is compatible with and more important than doing so in actual courts of law. But it’s not. If you’re talking to the press about your client’s case with a camera in your face, you’re not a real lawyer, you just play one on TV.