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'Unqualified' federal judge chosen by Trump 'fails to disclose' marriage to White House lawyer

Andrew Buncombe
Mr Talley has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee: YouTube

Donald Trump’s pick to be a federal judge in Alabama - despite having only practised law for three years and having never tried a single case - reportedly failed to disclose he is married to a White House lawyer.

Brett Talley, who writes a blog in which he has described Hillary Clinton as “rotten” and suggested efforts to regulate guns after the Newtown elementary school massacre as the "greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime”, was nominated for the position by the Trump administration in September.

When he was nominated, the American Bar Association rated him as “unqualified” - the fourth such Trump administration judicial nominee to receive such a rating.

Now, it was been reported Mr Talley, 36, failed to disclose he is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald McGahn.

The New York Times said Mr Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are “likely to present potential conflicts of interest”. Despite this, he did not mention his wife.

The newspaper said Ms Donaldson had in recent weeks been interviewed by the team lead by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, which is proving Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

It said she had been interviewed because she had taken detailed notes about conversations with Mr McGahn on a variety of topics and which included the firing of the former FBI director James Comey.

Mr Talley and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to inquiries.

In a statement to the Times, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said: “Mr Talley served as deputy solicitor general for the state of Alabama, currently serves in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy and was recommended by Alabama’s US senators.”

She added: “He is more than qualified to serve in the federal judiciary.”