Attorney George Conway, husband to White House aide Kellyanne Conway, said Friday that President Donald Trump wishes to jail top law enforcement officials, plunging the United States into a “banana republic.”
“The president has suggested that members of his own Justice Department should be locked up for investigating the president,” Conway said of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe in his address to Georgetown Law School. “Now, if people were to get indicted or not indicted on the basis of whether or not the president likes them, we wouldn’t have a republic,” he continued. “We’d have a banana republic.”
Last November, President Trump retweeted a meme depicting several of his political rivals — including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervised the Mueller probe following then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal — in prison. Recently confirmed Attorney General William Barr now oversees the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Conway, once under consideration to be a top official at the Department of Justice, has emerged as one of President Trump’s most vocal critics in establishment Republican circles. Last November, he launched a group with the goal of encouraging conservative lawyers to “speak out” against the administration.
“We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse,” reads the mission statement of the group Check and Balances. “We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power.”
At least a dozen right-leaning lawyers, including former Gov. Tom Ridge (R-PA) and ex-acting Attorney General Pete D. Keisler, are signees of the group’s founding document.
Conway, a litigator for the New York City-based law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, has authored several op-eds arguing against some of President Trump’s actions, including the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, which he referred to as “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”
President Trump has dismissed Conway’s harsh criticisms as a means to attract “publicity for himself.”