Trump's 'Not Qualified' Judge Pick Didn't Disclose Marriage to White House Lawyer

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says a nominee to an Alabama federal judgeship has made a "glaring omission" by failing to disclose to the Senate that his wife works as a White House lawyer and has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

That nominee, Brett Talley, was asked on a disclosure form whether he had any family members who could pose a conflict of interest. Donaldson is chief of staff to White House counsel Donald McGahn. Weeks later, Mr. Mueller's investigators notified the White House that they wanted to interview Ms. Donaldson, but there is no indication that anyone anticipated that at the time of her husband's nomination.

'It's no secret, ' said Judiciary spokesman Taylor Foy, 'that Mr. Talley's wife, Ann Donaldson, is the chief of staff to the White House counsel'. While Gayh tells Bustle he can't say exactly what type of omission Talley's is, he says it illustrates the nearly careless attitude toward ethics that many members of the Trump Administration have shown so far. The criticism from the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member came after. The probe into possible obstruction of justice is a part of Mueller's wider investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that Talley "has practiced law for only three years and has yet to try a case", a fact that many experts say makes him unqualified for a lifetime federal judgeship.

"By failing to disclose that his wife is one of President Trump's lawyers", Feinstein said in a statement, "Talley has betrayed his obligation to be open and transparent with the Senate and American people".

The Trump pick has a few other controversies in his past that have come to light in recent months.

Talley is now a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department. He also didn't mention her during his frequent contact with the White House lawyers during his nomination process. His main piece of relevant experience is serving as the deputy solicitor general of Alabama. While the 2007 Harvard Law School graduate has clerked for federal district and appellate judges, Talley has never tried a case, and he received a rare "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. The president was faced with an extraordinary number of vacancies on both district and circuit courts after Obama's term.

Trump has nominated 59 people to the federal courts since taking office in January, sparking accusations of him "packing the courts".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments