Trump’s lawyers at each other’s throats!
Trump’s legal team is the epitome of discretion. Not.
President Trump’s legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel looking into Russian election interference, an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers and that could shape the course of the investigation.
The friction escalated in recent days after [Trump’s attorney managing the response to the investigation, Ty] Cobb [,] was overheard by a reporter for The New York Times discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation at a popular Washington steakhouse. Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out,” meaning Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been a previous source of dispute for the legal team.
Must’ve been a three-“martoonie” lunch…
After The Times contacted the White House about the situation, Mr. McGahn privately erupted at Mr. Cobb, according to people informed about the confrontation who asked not to be named describing internal matters. John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, sharply reprimanded Mr. Cobb for his indiscretion, the people said.
Mr. Cobb sought to defuse the conflict in an interview over the weekend, praising Mr. McGahn as a superb lawyer. “He has been very helpful to me, and whenever we have differences of opinion, we have been able to work them out professionally and reach consensus,” Mr. Cobb said. “We have different roles. He has a much fuller plate. But we’re both devoted to this White House and getting as much done on behalf of the presidency as possible.”
Tension between the two comes as life in the White House is shadowed by the investigation. Not only do Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. McGahn all have lawyers, but so do other senior officials. The uncertainty has grown to the point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.
Backbiting, distrust, intrigue – that’ll sure boost the effectiveness of their defense of Trump! Speculation has been turned up to 11…
What does Trump lawyer Ty Cobb want from WH Counsel McGahn? Could it be the initial “fire Comey” letter with McGahn’s edits and deletions? https://t.co/9Vd4TwoKOT
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 18, 2017
Hi Special Counsel Mueller. There appears to be a safe in the office of Don McGahn that needs to be subpoenaed. Thanks.
— The Glare ™ (@PolPOTUS2017) September 18, 2017
… and the Arch High Zen Tweep whose rumors turn out more often than not to be premature facts puts the cherry on top.
Word in legal community is Cobb’s been trying to get back into his old firm. Former partners are not having it. Ty Cobb is striking out. https://t.co/Ydniqxpml1
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) September 18, 2017
The circus of legalistic backbiting could not come at a less opportune time, as yet another of Trump’s attorneys is going to spend some time in the barrel:
“If you compare Donald Trump to a mafia don, this is his consigliere. This is the guy who knows all the secrets,” said terrorism expert Malcolm Nance.
Cohen’s name came up repeatedly in emails between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, including emails in which Cohen was feverishly trying to set up a Russian real estate deal that would entail a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The Senate may not be able to compel Cohen to reveal everything he knows, said Nance, but the investigation could learn a key question: “Was he acting independently or as an agent of the president?”
“This is going to be earth-shattering testimony if it comes out,” he continued.
“We are looking at testimony that could be explosive,” Roll Call’s Jonathan Allen said, but hastened to add, “The real thing to keep an eye on is the Mueller investigation. The Senate Intelligence Committee has a role in all this, but it is a minor one compared to the Mueller probe.”
We are also looking at testimony that may, as David Corn pointed out yesterday on MSNBC, may be – well, less than completely ingenuous.