The Intersection of Law and PR – Why the Mueller Report Will or Won’t Be Made Public
Two key members of President Trump’s and the White House’s Legal Teams discuss what will or won’t be made public in the Mueller Report. The panel discussed the growing PR role of lawyers as spokespeople and whether it puts brands at risk. They addressed the key legal issues facing organizations including cyber security, privacy and how to navigate them.
The panel took place at the Schar School of Policy and Government on February 26 during “Truth on Trial”, the third in a series of events looking to grow our understanding of messaging in the digital age. “The Intersection of Law and PR” featured Ty Cobb, Former White House Special Counsel to President Trump; Stefan Passantino, Government Relations, Political Law and Public Policy, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Suzanne Rich Folsom, Award-Winning General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer; and Richard S. Levick, Chairman and CEO, LEVICK.
“There’s no obligation to make the [Meuller Report] public. There is a public interest consideration, but it doesn’t generate any rights for either Congress or individuals in court. […] My guess is that whatever is presented by the Justice Department would be unsatisfactory to certainly the Democrats, likely the press, and there will be constant pressure to do it.” – Ty Cobb
“The government has the ability to obtain massive amounts of information that normally people would think of as either private, or not necessarily what you’d want to get out, and just say ‘well, we’re just going to put all of it out there regardless of whether it results in anything that’s actionable.’ That’s something that there is a natural tension on” – Stefan Passantino, describing some push back against a full release of the Mueller Report.
“I personally don’t think H.R., which is where most corporate communications teams report, is necessarily the best, especially if a crisis hits. If they don’t report to the CEO, they should report to legal, because so many of the issues that you’re dealing with have legal ramifications.” – Suzanne Rich Folsom, describing the importance of corporate messaging passing through a legal team.
“I think the tragic and larger question for us right now is: how capable are we, each of us, of existing in a democracy? We are so willing to be so judgmental, so quickly. […] Our job is about a race to the truth.” – Richard Levick on democracy in the digital age.