A few months ago we noted  that Obama's former Attorney General, Eric Holder (you know, the guy who was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in an investigation into his office's 'Fast & Furious' gun smuggling program that resulted in the death of a United States immigration agent), was set to make a killing after returning to his former law firm, Covington and Burling, as a partner. Not surprisingly, the state of California was among the first to bribe retain Holder to provide 'legal advice' even though the state offered taxpayers no details on exactly what Holder's firm would advise on and/or how much taxpayers would be paying the former Obama administration official for his services.
But Holder isn't the only former Obama lawyer cashing in his chips after years of amassing a power base in Washington D.C. According to Reuters, a number of former Obama attorneys are lining up for the opportunity to enrich themselves by mounting an opposition to the Trump administration.
When Johnathan Smith resigned from the U.S. Justice Department on Inauguration Day, he looked forward to spending time with his infant son, but that plan unraveled a week later when President Donald Trump unveiled his explosive foreign travel ban.
Within two weeks, Smith had a new job as legal director of civil rights group Muslim Advocates and was drafting briefs for a successful court challenge to the ban, joining other former top Obama administration lawyers now fighting Trump.
Norman Eisen, who was Obama's top ethics lawyer and later ambassador to the Czech Republic, had expected to focus on his work at a think tank after Trump's election. But instead, he said, "the ethics emergency of constitutional dimensions has galvanized me back into my initial Obama role."
Eisen is now also chairing Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group he co-founded. The group has already sued Trump over alleged ethics violations.
Other Obama appointees taking on Trump include former White House lawyer Ian Bassin who has founded United to Protect Democracy, a new group probing Trump over ethics; and James Cadogan, who worked with Smith at the Justice Department, and is now at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights group already clashing with the new administration.
Johnathan Smith would like for you to know that he's not joining the Trump opposition effort to personally enrich himself, but rather because "there’s a unique threat to our democracy and Constitution that we see in the assault the president is mounting on the Muslim community."
Of course, with Jeff Sessions recently ruffling some feathers over his decision to suddenly fire all remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys, we suspect this is only the beginning of a wave of new lucrative appointments for former Obama lawyers.
Meanwhile, a former Bush DOJ lawyer described the eagerness of of Obama lawyers to lead the Trump opposition as "unprecedented and really bad form."
It is not surprising that Smith and some of his colleagues, political appointees of Democratic President Barack Obama, would leave the Justice Department now led by Republicans. What is unusual is how fast they have signed up to be Trump adversaries.
Some Republican lawyers say they were less hasty in moving into oppositional roles post-election. George Terwilliger, a senior Justice Department official under President George H.W. Bush, described the Obama lawyers' actions as "unprecedented to my memory – and really bad form."
One reason for the Obama lawyers' quick moves, some of them said, was Trump's aggressive use of executive authority from day one, which was guaranteed to attract court challenges.
And the swamp deepens with each passing day...