Asked to list any family members who were "likely to present potential conflicts of interest", Talley didn't mention his wife.
Brett Talley, who is awaiting Senate approval to become a federal district judge in his home state, apparently didn't indicate on a publicly available Senate questionnaire that he's married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to White House counsel Donald McGahn.
The Senate judiciary committee advanced Talley's nomination along a party-line vote Thursday and a full Senate vote is expected soon. The vote could come as early as Monday, but it could be derailed by this latest revelation about the 36-year-old lawyer. According to Charles Gardner Geyh, a professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, leaving out that kind of information could be a harmless mistake-or it could be an outright lie.
A controversial former Alabama official nominated by President Trump to a federal judgeship is under fire for failing to mention on congressional documents that he's married to a White House lawyer. Talley, who has never tried a case, is also known for his pro-gun blog posts.
The American Bar Association (ABA), which vets federal judicial nominees, rated Talley "not qualified". Additionally, Talley wrote, "I will evaluate any other real or potential conflict, or relationships that could give rise to appearance of conflict, on a case-by-case basis". Geyh says Talley's failure to do so, however, seems sloppy.
Talley has only practised law for three years and has never brought a case before a United States court, opponents have pointed out. "It raises the question of why he was chosen for the position in the first place", Rosenson says.
While Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Talley is "more than qualified to serve in the federal judiciary", Trump's pick hasn't gone down well with everyone. "You might question whether he could rule without factoring in his wife's role in the Administration".
Talley had a prolific online media presence prior to his nomination; Talley referred to Hillary Clinton as "Hillary Rotten Clinton" on his public Twitter account which has since been made private, and pledged his total support for the National Rifle Association one month after the Sandy Hook school shooting where a gunman killed 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut in 2013. Weeks later, Mr. Mueller's investigators notified the White House that they wanted to interview Ms. Donaldson, but there is no indication that anyone anticipated that at the time of her husband's nomination.