Patent Office still not commenting on Michelle Lee or whether agency now has an Acting Director

By Gene Quinn
February 1, 2017

ALERT: The article below is from Wednesday, February 1, 2017. As of 8:03pm ET on Friday, February 24, 2017, no official announcement on the future of Michelle Lee has been made by the USPTO. For the latest CLICK HERE.

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee

President Donald J. Trump was sworn into Office on Friday, January 20, 2017, at approximately 12pm ET. It is now 12 days later and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has still not announced whether Michelle Lee has been held over by President Trump and, therefore, remains Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.

Multiple times over the past 12 days I’ve reached out to the Office and asked them if they could comment on the status of Michelle Lee, whether she continues to be employed by the USPTO, or whether there is an Acting Director presently leading the agency pending a nomination by the President and confirmation by the United States Senate. My most recent communication with the Patent Office took place late yesterday afternoon. In an e-mail I asked whether the Office could “comment on who is currently the Director or Acting Director yet?” In a return reply received within 15 minutes, I was told that the Office still had no comment.

Michelle Lee is apparently still scheduled to deliver the Keynote address at a NASDAQ sponsored leadership event in San Francisco on February 2, 2017. The leadership event page still lists Lee as Director of the USPTO. However, the USPTO Events page does not list this NASDAQ event, which is perhaps a better indication that Lee is no longer Director of the USPTO or currently working for the USPTO. Perhaps someone in attendance at the NASDAQ leadership event will ask Lee whether she is still the Director?

Despite the continuing intrigue over who is running the USPTO, the last several days have provided the Trump Administration with a lesson on the risks it is taking keeping any Obama political appointees.

Over the weekend President Trump signed multiple Executive Orders, one of which placed restrictions on travel from seven countries with known ties to terrorist activity. That Executive Order touched off widespread protests, multiple court challenges, and a variety of commentaries. Then on Monday, January 30, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered Department of Justice lawyers not to take any action to defend President Trump’s controversial Executive Order. President Trump swiftly fired Yates and replaced her with Dana J. Boente, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who will serve as Acting Attorney General until the Senate confirms Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

I raise the issue of the travel ban and the firing of Yates not to delve into the politics or merits of immigration or terrorism, but to question the wisdom of President Trump keeping any high level political appointees who served during the Obama Administration.

Yates obviously does not support the President’s agenda, but if you can put politics aside (a big ask I understand) most would recognize that what Yates did was an extraordinary act of defiance. She obviously has the right to do that, but President Trump obviously has the right to have his Justice Department fight for the implementation of his policies. Ultimately, it is President Trump’s decision to make, which will be thoroughly reviewed by the federal judiciary. While we can hope the Department of Justice would give sound legal advice, Yates had to know she would be fired for ordering lawyers not to take action to defend the President’s policies. After all, like all other agencies the Department of Justice reports to the President, not the other way around.

Yates refusing to instruct DOJ lawyers to at least make the best arguments available to support the President’s agenda is extraordinary and simply not comparable to what occurred during the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, which occurred when President Richard Nixon fired his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General for refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate matter. As we know, Nixon himself and his Administration were under investigation during Watergate. Here Trump is not under investigation, nor is any member of his Administration under investigation. Thus, at best, Yates must have thought that Trump’s Executive Order was unconstitutional or somehow illegal. While reasonable minds can differ on that point I suppose, ultimately Yates is not the person vested with making that decision in our system of government.

The actions of Sally Yates quite clearly show the problems associated with keeping senior level decision-makers who wield broad discretion from a previous Administration. Whether you like what she did or despise what she did, what she did is not in dispute in any serious or logical way. Yates superimposed her views on the Department of Justice in an attempt to subvert the President’s policies. She disagreed with the President and rather than allow the Judiciary to play the role for which it is designed she decided that the United States would capitulate. Again, the decision was not hers to make.

The Trump Administration will take many positions that will be diametrically opposite to those taken by the Obama Administration, as we have already seen. Having an Obama appointee, such as Yates (or Michelle Lee) in a position to thwart or subvert President Trump’s agenda from within is ill-advised.

In the absence of any information the rumor mill continues to churn, and those who are knowledgeable about patent politics believe there are two camps within Trump’s inner circle. One camp lead by Peter Thiel and Jared Kushner would like to see Michelle Lee stay, or perhaps be renominated as Director. The other camp, presumably the conservatives in the President’s inner circle, want campaign promises to be delivered upon and are in favor of draining the swamp and that starts with getting rid of all Obama appointees. Which camp will prevail remains to be seen, but the Yates episode could, and probably should, be viewed as a cautionary tale of what can happen if you do not clean house. Allowing those political appointees loyal to the former President — a President who had dramatically different ideas about pretty much everything — to stay in positions of power seems like a mistake.

Sally Yates proves in a very public way why it is a mistake to allow political appointees from the Obama Administration to be held over. But for every public affront how many private episodes will occur where Obama appointees will seek to undermine President Trump? The risk doesn’t seem worth the reward when there are many very capable individuals available and interested. In the patent world, for example, both Phil Johnson and Randall Rader are Republicans. Both have very long and distinguished careers in the patent field. Both Johnson and Rader would clearly take the Patent Office in a new direction and deliver on the Trump campaign promise to Make America Great Again. There are no doubt others who are highly qualified who would also do the same, while being ideologically aligned with the President and the Republican party. So why is there a need to keep Michelle Lee?

Perhaps the Yates episode will provide President Trump with much to consider beyond what is specifically means relative to this particular Executive Order. It certainly should.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 31 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. EG February 1, 2017 9:42 am

    “Yates obviously does not support the President’s agenda, but if you can put politics aside (a big ask I understand) most would recognize that what Yates did was an extraordinary act of defiance. She obviously has the right to do that, but President Trump obviously has the right to have his Justice Department fight for the implementation of his policies.”

    Hey Gene,

    With all do respect, Yates had no right, as the interim AG and an attorney for the DOJ, to defy Trump on implementation of that Executive Order, especially given that other members of the DOJ approved that Executive Order as both constitutional and lawful. She had two choices: (1) support that Executive Order as the legal representative for the President; or (2) resign. She chose to do neither, and what she did was not only highly improper, but also, as noted correctly by Greg Jarrett on Fox News, violated her ethical obligations to either represent her client (i.e., the President/Executive Office) zealously, or else resign because she could not. Also, Senate Schumer’s comment that the President’s firing of Yates was a “Midnight Massacre” was a shameful reference to what happened back in 1974 with respect to what President Nixon did in firing various members of the DOJ.

  2. Night Writer February 1, 2017 10:02 am

    @1 I agree EG. What Yates did was a political move at the expense of our democracy. I think Yates is unfit to hold any office in the U.S.A. for life.

    (And, note I think what Trump has done is terrible, but what Yates did only makes it harder to oppose Trump’s action.)

  3. John White February 1, 2017 10:13 am

    Well, no one martyred Kappos for his actions at the PTO back in 2012. He had the termerity to speak in favor of the patent system and the protection of software. The WhiteHouse (nee Google) had him dispatched within months. Sad. So, as far as I can tell, Yates’ firing is the usual DC political playact. If you do not toe the line, you’re gone.

  4. Night Writer February 1, 2017 10:51 am

    @3: I think there is a big difference between what Kappos did and Yates. Kappos did not say that he would not implement an executive order. Yates instructed the DOJ not to defend the USA in court in support of the executive order. She works for Trump. Kappos expressed an opinion while doing his job and not directly opposing Obama.

  5. Gene Quinn February 1, 2017 11:03 am

    EG-

    When I said that Yates had the right to do what she did, what I was referring to is simply she could choose to do whatever she wanted to do as long as she was willing to accept the consequences. So I don’t see Yates or anyone else as an indentured servant. Under our system I think the proper thing for her to do would have been to resign. She, of course, chose to obstruct and was fired for her obstruction.

    So I agree with you that what she did was improper under our system of government because, as I wrote in the article, this was not her decision to make. Perhaps saying she has “the right” is poor phrasing. As an actor with free will she can choose to defy an order, but then has to face the consequences of that decision.

    -Gene

  6. Paul Morinville February 1, 2017 11:05 am

    Isn’t it a felony to use an official title when you are not in the position? Perhaps charges can be brought?

  7. Gene Quinn February 1, 2017 11:13 am

    Night-

    I’m going to have to agree more with John here. While Kappos did not defy an Executive Order, and there are significant differences, it is very difficult not to notice that he was no longer the Director almost immediately after making one of the strongest defenses of software patents one ever could in a very public speech. It is equally difficult not to notice that once Kappos left the Obama Administration, and specifically the Patent Office, has taken a very different approach to software patents. Allowance rates continue to decline, the Board is now issuing 101 rejections where none were previously found, if the Board doesn’t issue new 101 rejections then examiners reopen prosecution, do new searches (in violation of Office policy) and issue new 101 rejections. The Patent Office during the second Obama term bears little or no resemblance to the Patent Office during the first Obama term, which seems to be completely owed to the fact that Kappos was the Director during the first term and Lee was the Director during the second term. The White House micro-managed the USPTO during the second term. So while there are certainly differences, John’s point certainly rings true from my perspective. If you are not on board with the Administration you are released. That should hardly be shocking. It is what happened during Obama’s term just as it has happened during virtually all Presidential terms. So those who are pretending Yates’ firing is unusual or uncalled for or inappropriate or without precedent are either (1) lying; or (2) ignorant.

    My personal belief is Yates can choose to do what she wants to do as an actor with free will. Thankfully she chose to subvert and obstruct openly rather than in a covert way. By doing this in such a public fashion it allowed everyone to see she was defying a Presidential Order and not fulfilling one of the basic tasks of the job she inherited. So while she could certainly choose defiance Trump can certainly choose to fire her for not doing her job, which he did.

    -Gene

  8. MR February 1, 2017 11:57 am

    Gene, I can perhaps understand why Thiel is comfortable with Lee, having known her as a law school classmate and maybe believing that the new administration can work with her in shaping policy. What puzzles me is why Kushner is supposedly pushing her candidacy. He does not have any background in the area of patents or even tech. Do you sense a political quid pro quo with the tech industry that draws him into the fight?

  9. Greg DeLassus February 1, 2017 12:45 pm

    “[T]he United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has still not announced whether Michelle Lee has been held over by President Trump…”

    I do not really disagree with the point you are trying to make (and I tip my hat to you for your dogged work in trying to get an answer to this question), but I think that the question “is Lee still in charge?” is less important than “who is in charge?”. As you have noted elsewhere, if I want to bring an APA challenge, *someone’s* name needs to be on the other side of that caption. Who’s name should it be? This is not a small question.

    I do not blame the current administration for not having a nomination already on the table. Patents are not and should not be the administration’s first priority, so it is understandable that they have put more effort into finding a secretary of state, or a supreme court justice, than an Undersecretary for Patents & Trademarks. Besides, it is worth taking the time to find the *right* nominee, rather than rushing just to have *some* name on the table.

    Still, even if the administration has not yet chosen a permanent nominee, it should not be too hard to say *who* is *presently* in charge. It just looks foolish to be unable to name the name of who is presently in charge. *Someone* is presently in charge of the PTO. Who is that person? They need to answer this question already.

  10. Greg DeLassus February 1, 2017 12:51 pm

    “Yates … violated her ethical obligations to either represent her client (i.e., the President/Executive Office) zealously, or else resign because she could not.”

    The president is not the Justice Dept.’s “client,” no more so than the governor of your state is the “client” of the state’s atty general, or the county executive is the “client” of the local prosecutor. The Justice Dept’s *client* is the American people. If the acting Atty General thinks that the administration is taking unconstitutional action to the detriment of the American people or their laws, then the acting Atty General’s ethical duties to her *client* is to resist that unconstitutional action.

    Of course, Pres. Trump was entirely within his rights to fire her and replace her, as he did. It seems to me that this is an example of the system working as it is supposed to. I cannot agree that any of the players in this recent drama acted either unethically or unprofessionally. Everyone did the job that they were supposed to do.

  11. Publius February 1, 2017 1:24 pm

    Going on two weeks after the inauguration, you really should be pushing the conversation to who the new director should be. While both Phil Johnson and Judge Rader are well-positioned, I think Rader would be a much stronger candidate. He was experience in the judicial and legislative branches. Heading the PTO would complete the governmental trifecta. On top of that, he has great international experience, and an infectious enthusiasm about the value of intellectual property.

  12. Gene Quinn February 1, 2017 1:27 pm

    MR-

    I really don’t know what is behind Kushner’s belief that Lee is the right person. Frankly, I really don’t know that Kushner is pushing Lee, but that is the talk around town.

    If there are elements in the Trump inner circle advocating for Lee I would have to think there is some kind of quid pro quo involved, even if it isn’t an overt quid pro quo. There may be a feeling that to deliver on promises made about rebuilding the American economy and moving from under 2% growth to 4% growth (or more) the tech sector needs to be engaged. That thought process makes some sense, but it would be foolish in my opinion to continue with anti-patent policies if 4% growth is the goal. I’m also not sure that Lee (or anyone for that matter) is capable of pivoting from her Obama supported positions to pro-growth IP policies necessary to move to 4% growth. Time will tell I suppose. I’m hearing that people expect a PTO Director to be named sooner than you might expect. But with radio silence from the White House, Commerce and PTO so much is speculation.

    -Gene

  13. EG February 1, 2017 3:01 pm

    Hey Gene,

    Thanks for the clarification on your post. Consider the matter closed, let’s move on.

  14. Curious February 1, 2017 3:06 pm

    But with radio silence from the White House, Commerce and PTO so much is speculation.
    I suspect with other things going on, that the new head of the USPTO is a bit low on the totem pole when it comes to priority. That being said, the fact that M. Lee isn’t officially out is an indication that she remains in the running.

    The problem with the USPTO is that it doesn’t involve any sexy political issues. Instead, a healthy patent system is the strong base upon that supports our economy. Unfortunately, like a weak foundation of a house, you don’t realize its importance until the house starts to crumble.

    Given how much of the Trump game plan revolves supercharging the economy, it is amazing that the Trump administration is considering a keeping not-so-secret tool of the mega-tech companies who would like nothing to quash competition by neutering the patent system.

  15. EG February 1, 2017 3:17 pm

    “The president is not the Justice Dept.’s ‘client,’ no more so than the governor of your state is the ‘client’ of the state’s atty general, or the county executive is the ‘client’ of the local prosecutor.

    Hey Greg,

    I beg to differ. The President in, his Executive capacity, represents the “people,” as does Congress in it’s legislative capacity. The DOJ generally, and the AG specifically, are the “firm” (if you want to think of it that way) that counsel’s and guides both the President, as well as his cabinet (the AG being also being part of that cabinet). And what Yates did was not to advise the President as she is obligated to do her capacity the top legal counsel of the DOJ, but instead to actively obstructed the enforcement of the President’s Executive Order, one that had already be blessed both as to constitutionality as well as legality by other attorneys in DOJ. Now Nixon who attempted to obstruct the enforcement of federal law, by firing various members , pray tell, how was what Yates did any different in obstructing the enforcement of a lawful Executive Order? Even worse, while Nixon was not acting as an attorney when he engaged in the so-called “Midnight Massacre,” (and what Nixon did was most definitely wrong and reprehensible on many levels), Yates most definitely operating in the capacity of an attorney who decided, for whatever reasons, to undermine and obstruct what her client (i.e., the President/Executive Office) was lawfully trying to do. How, pray tell, is that not a violation of Yates’ ethical obligation to render “zealous advocacy” for her client?

  16. Gene Quinn February 1, 2017 3:27 pm

    Greg-

    I agree with you that it is not unusual for a PTO Director to be unnamed at this point. Kappos was not nominated until June and confirmed in early August, for example.

    I also agree that whether Lee is the Director isn’t the real issue here. Who is in charge? There must be someone with the title of Director, or Acting Director, or perhaps the Commissioner (or other Official) has not been elevated to Acting Director but had the powers/responsibilities bestowed upon them as was done with Peggy Focarino a few years ago. Still, someone has to be in charge, right? Why the USPTO cannot answer that question is a mystery.

    -Gene

  17. Marc February 1, 2017 3:29 pm

    Patent Owner against Google has launched a petition against Michelle Lee

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/michele-lee-current-uspto-director-lacks-integrity-due-direct-conflict-interest-her-previous-employer-google

  18. Greg DeLassus February 1, 2017 3:30 pm

    To quote former AG Alberto Gonzales (URL below) during his AG confirmation hearings:

    “There is a difference in the position of counsel to the president and as attorney general of the United States. As counselor to the president, my primary focus is on providing counsel to the White House… It’s a much different situation as attorney general, and I know that. My first allegiance is going to be to the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

    In other words, the OLC’s client is the White House/President. The AG’s client is *not* the White House/President. This is not a controversial assertion. AG Gonzales did not think he was lobbing a bomb into that confirmation hearing by making that assertion. It has never been understood that the AG is the president’s lawyer. Everyone at that hearing understood that the White House is not the AG’s client.

    “Now Nixon who attempted to obstruct the enforcement of federal law, by firing various members , pray tell, how was what Yates did any different in obstructing the enforcement of a lawful Executive Order?”

    First, you are assuming your conclusion. Is the executive order lawful? That is not established. Yates refused to follow it precisely because she thought it unlawful.

    Second, Pres. Nixon issued an unlawful order (“fire the special counsel”) and AG Richardson refused.

    Pres. Trump issued an allegedly unlawful order (“exclude lawfully admitted visa-holders without either notice or opportunity to be heard”) and acting AG Yates refused. Far from Yates’ actions being analogous to *Nixon’s*, they are much more plausibly analogous to Richardson’s.

    URL = http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2005/01/gonzales_client.html

  19. Interloper February 1, 2017 3:50 pm

    More to the point, Michelle Lee has overseen the rank politicization of the USPTO, by refusing to defend the Washington Redskins’ trademark in federal court and gleefully cancelling and rejecting other trademarks that were deemed offensive by the Obama Administration.

    What is President Trump thinking? And what will the crowd in Silicon Valley think of Michelle Lee when she goes back there looking for a place to land?

  20. Mark Nowotarski February 1, 2017 5:09 pm

    For what it’s worth, Michelle K Lee is still listed on the USPTO employee locator http://portal.uspto.gov/EmployeeSearch/

  21. Mark Nowotarski February 1, 2017 5:36 pm

    I was just reading a bio of M. Lee from 2005, when she joined Google. https://www.law360.com/articles/7245/silicon-valley-counsel-google-s-michelle-lee She’s quite an ambitious person. Could she be negotiating for a more senior position in the Trump administration than merely director of the USPTO?

  22. Gene Quinn February 1, 2017 6:47 pm

    Mark N-

    From what I hear, Lee asked Obama or people his inner circle to appoint her to a District Court position in CA. Even if Obama were so inclined, that was impossible because no judges were going to move that late in the Obama term. With Thiel being a friend (apparently) anything seems possible. I do know there are some inside the beltway who believe she still wants a lifetime appointment as a district court judge (makes sense, who wouldn’t really if you are inclined to government service as a lawyer). Time will tell, but don’t be shocked.

    -Gene

  23. Inventor February 2, 2017 6:50 am

    Gene@7,

    re: “…
    if the Board doesn’t issue new 101 rejections then examiners reopen prosecution, do new searches (in violation of Office policy) and issue new 101 rejections

    The Patent Office during the second Obama term bears little or no resemblance to the Patent Office during the first Obama term, which seems to be completely owed to the fact that Kappos was the Director during the first term and Lee was the Director during the second term. The White House micro-managed the USPTO during the second term.
    …”
    Well said.

    I couldn’t believe that Google was able to manipulate Obama to the point of him speaking to the press to call patent assertion “extortion”. How can a public statement like that be viewed as protecting the constitution….he took the oath didn’t he??
    Here’s what Obama said (unbelievable):

    “The folks [trolls] that you’re talking about are a classic example; they don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

    Shameful!

  24. Inventor February 2, 2017 7:44 am

    Publius@11,
    I thought I read somewhere that Issa backed Rader for a time. If so, how can we trust Rader. I was unable to find the reference so this could be just faulty memory? At anyrate, Phil Johnson seems safer from an Inventor point of view.

    Our heroes:
    “The Senate passed the bill [AIA] by a vote of 89-9. Sens. Boxer (D-CA), Cantwell, Coburn, DeMint (R-SC), Johnson (R-WI), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZA), McCaskill (D-MI), and Paul (R-KY) voted against the bill.
    …”

    Since Big Tech has chosen the name “Innovator” in a rather Orwellian manner, this leaves Inventor. On goes the battle: “Innovator” vs. Inventor.

    Marc@17,
    Thanks for the heads-up. I signed the “We the People” petition.

  25. Nancy E. Kramer February 2, 2017 9:41 am

    Marc@17,

    I also signed your petition.

  26. EG February 2, 2017 10:05 am

    “you are assuming your conclusion. Is the executive order lawful?”

    Hey Greg,

    We’re going to have to “agree to disagree” on that. I’m not “assuming” the “conclusion”-the fact is this Executive Order was deemed lawful and constitutional by others in DOJ. Only Yates, as acting AG, appears to have disagreed with that conclusion.

    Also, you’re mischaracterizing what Gonzales stated-of course the AG must obey the Constitution and laws of the U.S. But again, the AG is part of President/Executive’s cabinet, and to that extent, must simply advise the President/Executive Office as any attorney is supposed to, not actively impede/obstruct what has otherwise been deemed to a constitutional/lawful Executive Order. To the extent that Gonzales suggested otherwise, I would respectfully disagree with him as well.

    Again, Yates had two proper choices in this circumstance: (1) faithfully carry out the Executive Order, whether she agreed with or not; or (2) resign, and if she so chose, to inform the appropriate persons, and within her ethical obligations, why she viewed this Executive Order as unconstitutional, unlawful, or both. Instead, she chose neither, and for that, like Greg Jarrett, I condemn her for acting as other than an attorney, including an acting-AG, should.

  27. Titus Corleone February 2, 2017 11:59 am

    A stellar director is being vetted. However, the delay is because the Democrats are childishly opposing every nominee of the President, regardless of qualifications. This is truly unhinged behavior, and unprecedented in American history. Basically, the President needs to get his higher level appointments confirmed before dealing with sub-departments. At this same point in time – all of Obama’s picks were confirmed. The Leftists who control the Democrat Party are literally unhinged at this point. The GOP won its revolt. The Democrats lost theirs’s (even though Bernie was another step in the wrong direction) and now they are paying the price…

  28. Greg DeLassus February 2, 2017 12:22 pm

    “A stellar director is being vetted. However, the delay is because the Democrats are childishly opposing every nominee of the President…”

    That is as well as may be, but it misses the point. Maybe we would already have a nomination on the table if the democrats were being more cooperative. Nevertheless, until that nomination is on the table, *someone* is in charge of the PTO, even if only in the capacity of the “acting director” or somesuch. Who is that person? Nothing about democratic obstruction prevents the administration from acknowledging the name of the person presently in charge.

  29. Greg DeLassus February 2, 2017 3:41 pm

    “[Y]ou’re mischaracterizing what Gonzales stated…”

    To reprise the quote, former AG Gonzales said “There is a DIFFRENCE in the position of COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT and as ATTORNEY GENERAL of the United States,” (emphases added).

    I do not know how anyone could look at that quote and say that *I* am mischaracterizing what he said. My point was that the AG is not the president’s lawyer. That is *exactly* what AG Gonzales is saying there. The counsel to the president is the president’s lawyer. The AG is not.

    “We’re going to have to ‘agree to disagree’ on that.”

    Fair enough.

  30. Damian Tuttle February 8, 2017 3:49 pm

    Michelle Lee…ambition “trumps” competence.

  31. Patriot February 10, 2017 2:23 pm

    Actually, Yates ultimately worked for the American people not Trump. We are not a monarchy or dictatorship yet where the ruler declares “I am the State.” Yates’ first obligation is to the Constitution and not Trump.

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