Donald Trump hires only the best people. Except in most cases, such as when he hires a lawyer he’s never met without vetting him for the most important job in Trump’s life.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow announced on Sunday that Fox News contributor Joseph diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, would no longer be next up to defend the president in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. The Trump administration announced that the two attorneys would join his legal team just last week.
The news follows the resignation last Thursday of John Dowd, Trump’s former lead attorney on the Russia probe. That leaves Trump’s legal team to a total of two main players: Ty Cobb and Sekulow, The Washington Post noted. According to The New York Times, longtime Trump attorney Marc E. Kasowitz “remains on the periphery.”
Sekulow’s statement cited “conflicts” that prevented diGenova and Toensing from joining the team.
“The President is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining his Special Counsel legal team,” Sekulow said. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the President in other legal matters. The President looks forward to working with them.”
The Times reported that Trump “did not believe he had personal chemistry” with diGenova after meeting with him on Thursday. It seems the president had been interested in hiring diGenova after the attorney claimed on Fox News that Trump had been “framed” by the FBI and the Justice Department, according to CNN.
The conflict that was cited, however, involved Mark Corallo, a former Trump legal team spokesman who left in July 2017 and is represented by Toensing. Corallo famously got into a Twitter fight with former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara over Trump’s firing of Bharara and accusations that the president had committed obstruction of justice in the Russia probe.
Corallo also reportedly told Mueller’s investigators that he believes that former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks may have been conspiring to commit obstruction of justice over the infamous Trump Tower campaign meeting with Russian operatives and Trump insiders, including the president’s own son and son–in–law.
Trump alluded to the announcement earlier Sunday in a series of tweets attacking “Fake News” for reporting that no one in Washington seems to want to take on such a toxic case.
“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted,” Trump tweeted.
“Problem is that a new......lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country - and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!
Regardless of Trump’s legal situation in the Russia case, many speculated the announcement was made in an attempt to distract from the pending airing on CBS’ 60 Minutes of an interview with porn star Stormy Daniels. That interview, with Anderson Cooper, is set to air Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET.