Trump Hires One-time Impeachment Lawyer

U.S. President Donald Trump shook up his legal team again Wednesday, hiring a lawyer who two decades ago helped defend former President Bill Clinton against impeachment charges.

The White House said veteran Washington white-collar defense attorney Emmet Flood is joining Trump’s defense against special counsel Robert Mueller’s year-long criminal investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign links to Russia and accusations that as president Trump has obstructed justice by attempting to thwart the probe.

The hiring of Flood comes days after Trump talked about the possibility of being impeached, leading to a trial in the Senate on whether to remove him from office, if Democrats retake control of the House next January after the November elections.

“We have to keep the House because if we listen to Maxine Waters, she’s going around saying, We will impeach him, we will impeach him,’” Trump said of the California Democratic congresswoman at a political rally in Michigan.

Trump interviewed Flood in March. Flood was a special counsel in the administration former Republican President George W. Bush and before that defended Clinton, a Democrat, in the late 1990s when he was impeached by the House but later acquitted in a Senate trial for lying about an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

The White House said one long-time Trump defender, attorney Ty Cobb, is retiring at the end of May, after serving as the key White House contact with Mueller. His departure from Trump’s team follows that of another long-time Washington lawyer, John Dowd.

Two months ago, Trump, in a Twitter comment, denied he was unhappy with his legal group, calling a newspaper account suggesting he was about to add new lawyers a “false story. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.” Now, only Sekulow remains.

In recent weeks, Trump has also hired former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to help defend him, as well as a husband-and-wife legal team from Florida, Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin.

Trump’s legal team faces an immediate issue in dealing with Mueller, whether to allow Trump to sit for an interview with the prosecutor. News surfaced this week that Muelle’s prosecutors have compiled 49 questions they want to interview Trump about, a range of issues from the campaign, the aftermath of the election before Trump assumed power in January 2017 and actions he has taken as president, including the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and one-time FBI director James Comey. 

Trump has said several times he wants to do the interview with Mueller’s lawyers, although lately may have cooled on the idea. Trump’s ire was drawn by a recent raid federal agents conducted on the office and home of his New York lawyer, Michael Cohen, partly in search of documents related to the interactions between the attorney and Trump.

If Trump refuses to talk to Mueller face to face, the prosecutor could subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury, which could lead to a legal confrontation that the U.S. Supreme Court might have to decide.

— 02/05/2018

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