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Wake Up Call: Trump Attacks FBI as Mueller Probe Moves Ahead

Feb. 20, 2018, 1:31 PM

• Donald Trump has opened a new line of attack against the FBI amid signs that the next public steps in the investigation of his former campaign aides could be imminent. The U.S. president accused the FBI in tweets of missing “all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter” and of “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.” ( Bloomberg )

• Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reported that Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide indicted in October with Paul Manafort on charges of money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying, has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller. ( Bloomberg )

• Trump’s criticism of Time Warner’s CNN isn’t a “get out of jail for free card” for AT&T Inc.’s proposed merger with Time Warner, the U.S. Justice Department told a court. The department is fighting AT&T’s discovery search for evidence that Trump is behind the agency’s antitrust challenge to the takeover of Time Warner Inc. ( Bloomberg )

• The National Labor Relations Board is asking for briefs on an Indiana logistics company’s case that could end up having an impact on the debate over whether workers at so-called gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft should be classified as independent contractors or employees. ( Bloomberg Law ) ( Recorder )

• Google’s firing of an engineer over his controversial memo criticizing its diversity policies and “politically correct monoculture” didn’t violate U.S. labor law, a federal agency lawyer concluded. ( Bloomberg )

Lawyers and Law Firms

• After Quinn Emanuel lost partners Faith Gay and Philippe Selendy, who along with with eight other partners left to launch New York litigation firm Selendy & Gay PLLC last week, managing partner John Quinn accused Gay of “deception” and “ingratitude.” ( American Lawyer )

• Detroit-based Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn said it served as counsel on a firm record 265-plus corporate transactions in 2017, up 12 percent from 2016, for a total value of transactions at over $15.8 billion. ( )

• Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy had a fifth-consecutive year of financial gains in 2017, with revenue up 7.1 percent to about $917 million, and profits per equity partner rising nearly 11 percent to $3.46 million, according to preliminary data. ( National Law Journal )

• Partner promotions are up 28 percent at major U.S. law firms in London, according to a report. ( Legal Week )

• Manchester, England-based DWF LLC lost its entire 15-lawyer family practice group to another Manchester firm. ( The Lawyer )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• BakerHostetler said it added Norton Rose Fulbright IP partner Troy Schmelzer to its Los Angeles office in its intellectual property group. ( BakerHostetler )

• Greenspoon Marder said it added two attorneys to its Tampa office: Senior counsel Ashley Elmore Drew joined its regulatory compliance & defense practice group, while associate Jacob Boehner joined its litigation practice group. ( )

• Locke Lord said it expanded its environmental practice by adding former Environmental Protection Agency policy analyst Andrew Otis to its New York office as a partner. ( LockeLord )

Legal Market

• JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution provider, said its Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship Program this year brought 14 fellows from abroad to study dispute resolution processes and practices in the U.S. ( JAMSadr )

• The union contract for teachers in Broward County, Florida, the scene of the most recent mass-casualty school attack, doesn’t have specific language addressing active shooter situations. And that’s not unusual, unions say. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Major League Baseball players contend that team owners are colluding to keep the lid on pay, but owners say players and their agents are turning their noses up at good deals. Legal experts say collusion is tough to prove. ( Bloomberg Law )

• The election of a pro-gun U.S. president, Trump, has been bad for business at U.S. gun makers. ( Financial Times ) Trump signaled interest in background checks for gun purchasers. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• The Labor Department hit a Wendy’s franchise owner in Michigan with a $250,000 fine for violating federal child labor laws across its 53 restaurants. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Northrop Grumman Corp. defeated most claims in a class action challenging its 401(k) plan fees, but individual employees who sat on the company’s benefits committee are still on the hook. ( Bloomberg Law )

• Trump Park Avenue sued a Saudi royal for not paying more than $1.8 million in rent on a penthouse in the Upper East Side tower over the past year. ( Bloomberg )

• After a California short-seller tweeted threats about a CEO he accuses of fraud, he got a visit from the FBI. ( Bloomberg )

• The U.S. abandoned efforts to extradite British computer activist Lauri Love, according to his lawyer, prompting a London court to remove his bail conditions on Monday. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• Democratic lawmakers asked National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb for a briefing on his controversial proposals to overhaul the agency. ( Bloomberg Law )

• An increasing number of jurisdictions are tightening requirements on companies that want to impose non-compete agreements on employees. ( Bloomberg Law )

Russia Probes

• Russian operatives using social media to manipulate the U.S. election bought their Facebook ads by stealing the identities of Americans and opening PayPal accounts, Mueller said. ( Bloomberg )

• Trump rebuked his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, on Saturday, saying in a tweet that his aide had neglected to defend his 2016 victory when discussing U.S. claims that Russia meddled in the election. ( Bloomberg )

• A California man who ran a business trafficking in stolen identities and bank accounts pleaded guilty in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. ( Bloomberg )

The Trump Administration

• A former Playboy model had an extra-marital relationship with Trump, and his allies used payoffs and legal settlements to keep reports out of the media, according to a magazine report. ( Bloomberg ) ( New Yorker )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court returns from its (latest) four-week break today and it’s business as usual, with orders, oral arguments, and opinions. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the high court’s second black justice, suggested in a recent discussion that he’s dissatisfied with race relations in the U.S. ( Bloomberg Law )


• Add another high-profile name to the ranks of cryptocurrency skeptics: John Flint, the incoming chief executive of HSBC Holdings Plc. ( Bloomberg )

• The shipping agency that struck the first freight deal settled in Bitcoin is now seeking $150 million to launch its own cryptocurrency. ( Bloomberg )

• Facebook must stop tracking Belgian users’ surfing outside the social network and delete data it’s already gathered, or it will face fines of 250,000 ($312,000) euros a day, a Belgian court ruled. ( Bloomberg )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.