If President Donald Trump succeeded in determining who should and shouldn’t be prosecuted by his Justice Department, the nation would become a “banana republic,” attorney George Conway said at a Washington law forum Friday.
George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, bashed the president’s threats to the Constitution and democracy in a speech at a Rule of Law in America forum at Georgetown Law School.
“We have a president who actually criticized his own attorney general on political grounds ... because the attorney general allowed the indictment of two congressmen who were supporters of the president,” noted George Conway, one of the founders of the conservative Checks and Balances organization, which co-sponsored the event.
Trump blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year for allowing the indictments of Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who is accused of insider trading and lying to federal investigators, and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is accused of pocketing more than $250,000 in campaign funds. Both cases are ongoing.
Trump has also said that “members of his own Justice Department should be locked up for investigating the president,” Conway added.
“If people were to get indicted or not indicted on the basis of whether the president likes them, we wouldn’t have a republic. We’d have a banana republic,” he warned.
Trump last year retweeted a meme of a number of people behind bars — including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Conway also defended a free press.
“What would happen if it became real government policy that the press is the enemy of the people” and the media were punished for “criticizing, say, the president?” he asked.
“You can’t have a free country with that,” he declared.
Conway said he opposed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent call for a reconsideration of the landmark libel case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, which established the “actual malice” standard for proving libel in court.
“I think that case should be left alone,” said Conway, who frequently posts criticism of Trump on Twitter. “I kind of like the fact that you can tweet at rich public officials without fear of retribution in the courts.”
Check out Conway’s “banana republic” comment above and remarks about the importance of a free press below.