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George Conway, conservative lawyers form group to speak out against Trump

George Conway, conservative lawyers form group to speak out against Trump

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The husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is among a new group of conservative lawyers that seeks to provide a "voice" to speak out in favor of principles that it feels are under attack in the Trump era.

George Conway and 13 other self-described conservative and libertarian lawyers have formed a new group called "Checks and Balances."

Their mission statement says the members believe in the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, and the necessity of civil discourse. The group aims to act as a support network for conservative lawyers who feel they want to speak out against the administration.

"We seek to provide a voice and a network for like-minded attorneys to discuss these ideas, and we hope that they will join with us to stand up for these principles," the group's mission statement reads.

Along with Conway, the members of the group include a number of former George W. Bush alumni like former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former State Department legal adviser John Bellinger and former acting Attorney General Peter Keisler, all significant individuals in legal conservative circles.

The New York Times earlier reported on the group's formation.

The group's aim is to "communicate to the group of conservative lawyers, including the next generation of conservative lawyers, that they can support the administration's judicial nominees, they can be in favor of some of the policies, but that doesn't mean they have to go along with the attacks (or) disregard for the rule of law, attacks on the justice system," one of the members, Carrie Cordero, told CNN Wednesday.

The group came about informally at first as several of the members had been speaking out independently against the administration, according to Cordero.

There are "a number of things that the President has done that he, in particular, has invigorated this group to exist," citing Trump's attacks on the Justice Department, she said.

"The group felt it was time, in a more forceful and organized way, that conservative lawyers who stand for the rule of law, and believe in an independent Justice Department speak out more loudly," Cordero, who is a national security lawyer and CNN contributor, said.

A number of the members are part of the Federalist Society and "Checks and Balances" was formed with knowing that the National Lawyers Convention would be taking place over the next three days in Washington.

In an interview on CNN's "New Day," Ridge said "it's not like we're unanimous around any single issue, because we're probably not."

"The issue we're embedded in -- and the glue that holds us together -- is a country founded on a Constitution, on the rule of law, and we expect political figures on both sides of the aisle to respect those values," he told CNN's John Berman.

Conway, a Washington lawyer who was considered for multiple Justice Department posts early in President Donald Trump's tenure, has emerged as an outspoken and notable critic of the President in large part due to his marriage to one of Trump's closest aides.

He first began using his Twitter account to weigh in on the President's decisions and retweet articles that are less than flattering for the White House. More recently, he's taken to penning op-eds criticizing Trump's policies and decisions. Conway recently called Trump's appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and the President's proposal to end birthright citizenship as "unconstitutional."

Trump has dismissed Conway's criticism as attempts to get "publicity for himself."

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