The growing list of lawyers who will not be representing President Trump
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In less than one year, President Donald Trump has faced two shake-ups of the legal team defending him in the special counsel’s probe.
His longtime personal attorney Marc Kasowitz, whom he had retained as his lead lawyer to represent him in all matters related to the Russia investigation, was pushed from that role. While he remains on the legal team and continues to represent the President in other matters; he is no longer the lead lawyer on the Russia probe.
Kasowitz was replaced by John Dowd, who abruptly resigned last week. Sources with knowledge of the discussions told ABC News Dowd resigned in part because he felt the president was no longer taking his advice. White House special counsel Ty Cobb and outside attorney Jay Sekulow continue to represent the president.
In recent days, Trump attempted to add veteran Washington attorneys Joe diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, but has said he did not ultimately end up hiring the two, due to conflicts of interest with some of their other clients.
Yet the search for more attorneys continues.The president’s advisers recently reached out to Emmet Flood who advised Bill Clinton during his impeachment and separately also contacted attorney Ted Olson, the former solicitor general under George W. Bush who advised him during the2000 Presidential recount, sources say.
Neither Flood nor Olson joined the team.
On Monday, two other prominent lawyers turned down a request to represent the president, citing “business conflicts.”
“President Trump reached out to Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan to provide legal representation. They were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts,” Buchanan and Webb said in a joint statement to ABC News. “However they consider the opportunity to represent the President to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so. They wish the president the best and believe he has excellent representation in Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.”
White House special counsel Ty Cobb and outside attorney Jay Sekulow continue to represent the president in the Russia probe.
“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, adding that “fame and fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.”
Cobb says there remains an active search to add to the president’s legal team, and while he believes expanding the team would be wise, he says it’s not urgent nor is it hindering the negotiations between the president’s lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team about a potential interview with the president.
“We haven’t been actively trolling the yellow pages the way many in the press would make it look,” Cobb said, adding that many lawyers have contacted them to express their interest in representing the president.
While the president insists he is “very happy” with his current legal team and has disputed reports that he’s considered expanding his team, many top-drawer attorneys have turned down the gig — some citing conflicts, while others admitting the administration is in “turmoil.”
Olson, who would not speculate as to what legal representation the president needs currently, did discuss the administration’s unprecedented cabinet turnover.
“I think everybody would agree this is turmoil, chaos, confusion,” Olson said on MSNBC Monday. “It’s not good for anything. We always believe that there should be an orderly process, and of course government is not clean or orderly ever, but this seems to be beyond normal.”
Sekulow remains the only attorney on the team helping the president navigate the special counsel investigation. However, Sekulow does have a team of lawyers at the American Center for Law and Justice assisting him with legal issues related to the president.
While Cobb remains the in-house White House lawyer handling issues related to the presidency, there has been growing friction between him and the president, according to sources with direct knowledge.
Trump has discussed with his closest advisers potentially firing Cobb, those sources say, but he has privately assured him his job is safe.
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