Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway's husband George Conway
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Despite his wife Kellyanne Conway's deep involvement in the Trump presidency from the very beginning, George Conway has helped establish a coalition of conservative lawyers against Donald Trump

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November 15, 2018 01:49 PM

Despite his wife Kellyanne Conway‘s deep involvement in the Trump presidency from the very beginning, George Conway has helped establish a coalition of conservative lawyers against Donald Trump.

The Washington Post reports that the group, called Checks and Balances, fears that the president is attempting to “consolidate the power” of the three traditional branches of government into himself — and on top of that they believe he’s “normalizing” this behavior. Hence the group’s name.

Check and Balances’ mission statement reads: “We are a group of attorneys who would traditionally be considered conservative or libertarian. We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights, and the necessity of civil discourse. We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power … 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.”

Fourteen attorneys formed Checks and Balances two days before Thursday’s annual convention of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers’ group with members on the president’s short list of Supreme Court nominees, in hopes of sparking discussion among the members, according to the National Law Journal.

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“Most people don’t realize what he’s doing poses a threat to a constitutional democracy,” said Marisa Maleck, a former law clerk to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump
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According to a CNN interview with founding member Carrie Cordero, Checks and Balances wants to show the next generation of conservative lawyers that they “can support” aspects of the current administration, “but that doesn’t mean they have go along with the … disregard for the rule of law, attacks on the justice system.”

Another member, John Bellinger, a top State Department and White House lawyer under President George W. Bush, explained to The New York Times: “Conservative lawyers are not doing enough to protect constitutional principles that are being undermined by the statements and actions of this president.”

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Kellyanne Conway's husband George Conway
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

In addition, Conway, the group’s organizer, expressed concern to the Times regarding Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department and journalists. “There’s a perception out there that conservative lawyers have essentially sold their souls for judges and regulatory reform,” he said. “We just want to be a voice speaking out, and to encourage others to speak out.”

Last month, Conway also cowrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship unconstitutional. More recently, in another one for The New York Times, he criticized the appointment of Matthew Whittaker as acting Attorney General after Jeff Sessions was pushed out of the role.

Following the latter’s publication on Nov. 8, Trump dismissed Conway, calling his actions attempts to “get publicity for himself” and even referring to him as “Mr. Kellyanne.”

Discussing the issue on This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday, Mrs. Conway said, “Spouses disagree all the time … No, I don’t [agree with my husband’s argument], but it’s also not relevant … People disagree on the Constitution.”

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She continued, emphasizing her unique relationship to the 45th commander in chief: “I offer my advice and opinion to the president in private. I don’t need to put it on the op-ed pages … The president’s never worried how it affects him. He’s always worried about how it affects me … I think people questioning publicly aspects of our life and aspects of our marriage is very inappropriate.”

When contacted for comment, the White House directed PEOPLE to Mrs. Conway’s appearance on This Week.

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