Justice surprises, dismays with Trump defense

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) defense of former President Trump against a defamation suit stemming from a rape allegation has surprised and dismayed critics who had spoken out against the previous administration’s use of government lawyers to represent him.

On Monday night, the Justice Department filed a brief with a federal appeals court backing the Trump administration’s argument that the former president’s comments about the writer E. Jean Carroll were made in the context of his official duties and thus he should be represented by government lawyers.

Because federal law bars defamation suits against government officials, Carroll’s suit will likely be dismissed if the DOJ prevails on the legal question, placing the new administration in the awkward position of defending Trump against his alleged rape victim.