Indian American White House lawyer Uttam Dhillon has intentionally misled President Trump last year to try to stop him from firing the FBI Director James Comey, according to a report by the New York Times, News18 reported. Dhillon has worked under Comey when the latter was deputy attorney general from 2003-2006.
Reportedly, Dhillon was worried that firing Comey would put Trump’s presidency in danger. He sent a junior lawyer to find a law which can prohibit Trump from removing Comey last year, the NYT reported on Trump’s attempt to control the Russian investigation of the Justice Department.
As per the report, “Dhillon was convinced that if Mr. Comey was fired, the Trump presidency could be imperiled, because it would force the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Trump was trying to derail the Russia investigation.”
“Longstanding analysis of presidential power says that the president, as the head of the executive branch, does not need grounds to fire the FBI director. Mr.Dhillon, a veteran Justice Department lawyer before joining the Trump White House, assigned a junior lawyer to examine this issue. That lawyer determined that the FBI director was no different than any other employee in the executive branch, and that there was nothing prohibiting the president from firing him,” the report read.
It said Dhillon told Trump that he needed a cause to fire the FBI Director, Comey. But after the junior lawyer’s research concluded Trump could fire Comey for any reason, Dhillon never corrected the record.
Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School, named this issue “extraordinary.” He said a situation like this has never happened in past administrations.
Vladeck said, “This shows that the president’s lawyers dont trust giving him all the facts because they fear he will make a decision that is not best suited for him”.
Dhillon has received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Berkeley, and earned his master’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. He was appointed to serve as a special assistant to the president and associate counsel to the president in January 2017.