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February 9, 2021 83 min

Joyce White Vance and Jill Wine-Banks entered the Trump era with gold-plated resumes and sterling reputations in the legal world but modest public profiles outside it. Today, however, they are widely known as two members of a cadre of MSNBC legal analysts who conducted a four-year national civics lesson about the rule of law when it was being tested in unprecedented ways — a cadre notably dominated by women, many of them pioneers in their profession.

Wine-Banks earned that status in the 1970s, when, after serving as one of the first female attorneys in the Department of Justice's organized crime section, she joined the staff of Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski; she later became the first female General Counsel of the U.S. Army and first female executive director of the American Bar Association. Vance, too, is a trailblazer: the first woman appointed U.S. Attorney (for the Northern District of Alabama) by President Obama, she established for the first time a civil-rights enforcement unit in that office, prosecuted numerous high-profile public corruption cases, and launched a statewide investigation into inhumane conditions in Alabama's prisons.

Along with two other female legal analysts. Vance and Wine-Banks recently launched a new podcast, #SistersInLaw. And with Trump's second impeachment trial commencing this week, Heilemann invites his friends and colleagues to discuss the case against Trump and why it matters so much — even if Trump, as most expect, is ultimately acquitted. They also delve into the wave of defamation lawsuits and legal threats aimed at right-wing media companies and the former president's lawyers, the degree of legal peril facing Trump as a private citizen, and the challenges facing Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland in repairing the damage wrought by Trump at the Justice Department.

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