All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Trumpety together again. Or, put another way, all the lawyers in the world cannot save this ‘man’ from himself. As of last July, Trump’s legal team consisted of:
- Ty Cobb (White House special counsel): Cobb was the first lawyer hired to work inside the White House as special counsel. The former federal prosecutor will oversee the White House legal and media response to the Russia investigations. In private practice, Cobb specialized in white collar crime and congressional investigations. He is in fact a distant relative of the former baseball great of the same name.
- Jay Sekulow (personal lawyer): Sekulow is the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a radio personality and arguably the most visible member of the president’s legal team. Before he was hired by Trump, Sekulow specialized in litigating cases related to free speech, religious liberty and human rights. His best known case is a 1987 Supreme Court religious rights case. Sekulow is also a musician and fronts the Jay Sekulow band.
- Marc Kasowitz (personal lawyer): Kasowitz has been Trump’s personal lawyer for over 15 years in a wide range of business and personal legal issues. He represented then-candidate Donald Trump in the Trump University lawsuit that settled late last year. He earned his reputation as a tough litigator arguing antitrust, commercial litigation and white collar crime cases. Some of Kasowitz’ more notable clients currently include Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch reported to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s largest state-owned bank, Sberbank.
- Michael Bowe (personal lawyer): Bowe is a longtime partner at Kasowitz’s firm. He specializes in cases related to commercial litigation, real estate and hotel disputes, and insider trading.
- John Dowd (personal lawyer): Dowd is best known for the investigation that led to former baseball Hall of Famer Pete Rose being banned from the sport. He also represented Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the “Keating Five” banking scandal in 1989. Earlier in his career, Dowd was part of a U.S. Department of Justice organized crime unit.
- Donald McGahn (White House counsel): Formerly a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he was instrumental in loosening regulations on campaign spending. McGahn managed all litigation involving Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, and he successfully defeated numerous litigations and legal efforts to derail the campaign. Several weeks before the election, lawsuits were filed in four battleground states alleging voter intimidation and seeking to enjoin the Trump campaign from having observers at polling locations. McGahn successfully managed and won these litigations.
These names have become household words in the past 14 months. I could not name a single lawyer in the employ of President Obama, nor Bush, for that matter, but Trump’s lawyers are as well-known to us as our own family. But now, it seems a shakeup is in the wings, as he is reported to be considering firing one, another is considering resigning, Trump has hired one new one and is said to be considering yet another new one. Just how many lawyers does it take to protect this person from himself?
So, who’s likely on their way out the door? Start with Ty Cobb. Although Trump assured Mr. Cobb that he had no intention of firing him, two White House staffers report that Trump has been seriously considering doing exactly that, mainly because Mr. Cobb has encouraged Trump to fully cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. My guess is that Mr. Cobb’s days are numbered.
John Dowd is said to be considering tendering his resignation because he has concluded that he has no control over the behavior of the president. Took him a while to figure that one out, didn’t it? Remember, though, that Dowd was the one last week who nearly demanded that Rod Rosenstein put an end to Mueller’s investigation.
And then there’s the ‘new kid on the block’, Joseph E. diGenova, a nutcase conspiracy theorist. He claims that the Mueller investigation is “a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.” The perpetrators of said plot? Why, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), of course. Listen to what he told Sean Hannity (he who lives for conspiracy theories) last month …
“We are headed toward a very sad ending for the FBI and senior DOJ officials. … I believe that several high FBI officials will be charged criminally. And it is conceivable that some DOJ people will also be charged criminally. … I would consider this the largest law enforcement scandal in history for this reason. The activities of McCabe and others and Bruce Ohr and others were designed to subvert the Constitution and a national election, the most serious offense under our Constitution.”
And just this month he told Tucker Carlson …
“It means that the system of equal justice has been rent asunder by the conduct of James Comey, America’s best-known dirty cop, Andrew McCabe and others, including senior Obama administration Justice Department officials. This is a moment in history that has sullied the reputation of the FBI and the Department of Justice, and deservedly so. Every one of these people should be put in a wanted poster at a post office, even though they may never be arrested.”
This, folks, is the man who will now have Trump’s ear, any time, day or night. I suspect his hiring is the reason John Dowd is considering a resignation. But, I’m still not done …
Trump’s ‘legal team’ has extended an offer to Theodore B. Olson, one of the country’s most high-profile and seasoned litigators. Mr. Olson served as solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration. From what I have read, Olson might actually be a stabilizing influence on this team of clowns. However, he turned down the position once, and after being asked yet again, is said to be considering it. If he’s smart, he will turn it down again.
I end where I began, with the question: how many lawyers does it take to protect this ‘man’ from himself? And I add a few more questions. Who protects us from him? Who is paying all these high-priced buffoons, Trump or us? How much more of this insanity does it take before Congress opens their collective eyes, rubs the sleepy dust out of them, and says, “WHOA … looks like we better stop this runaway train!!!”?