WASHINGTON ― One of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees didn’t tell the Senate about a major conflict of interest in his bid to become a lifetime federal judge: his wife is chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn, who oversees the president’s judicial nominations.
As first reported by The New York Times, Brett Talley, a nominee to an Alabama district court seat, did not disclose in his questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he’s married to Ann Donaldson, McGahn’s top aide.
The questionnaire specifically asks Talley, 36, to identify family members who are “likely to present potential conflicts of interest.” He did not identify his wife.
Neither Talley nor the White House returned a request for comment.
Talley, who is currently a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, has already sparked controversy with his nomination. He has only practiced law for three years. He has never tried a case in court. And he was deemed “not qualified” to be a judge by the American Bar Association, making him Trump’s fourth judicial nominee to earn the rare and abysmal rating by the nation’s top legal organization.
Christopher Kang, who oversaw the selection and vetting of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees for more than four years, said the “insanity” of Talley’s nomination extends to his job at the Justice Department, where he vets judicial nominees and helps them with their nomination paperwork.
“It is literally his job to help nominees fill out these forms honestly and completely,” Kang told HuffPost. “If this is how he approached his own nomination, what is he advising everyone else?”
Before he was a judicial nominee, Talley also made his political positions clear. In tweets that have since been made private, he said “Hillary Rotten Clinton might be the best Trumpism yet” and that she belonged in jail. A month after the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, he wrote a blog post…