As the revolving door of Donald Trump’s legal team spins once again—with attorney Ty Cobb announcing his retirement today by citing a need for....many surgeries and a distaste for “living in an attic”—a new character is slated to take his place in this melodrama: Emmet Flood, an attorney who helped represent Bill Clinton in his impeachment proceedings.
Flood is a partner at DC firm Williams & Connolly, and has represented high-profile government officials multiple times before. He served as special counsel for the White House during George W. Bush’s second term in office, during which he handled the White House response to the scandal over the Justice Department’s firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
In private practice, he represented former Vice President Dick Cheney in the civil suit brought against him and several other Bush administration officials by Valerie Plame, the former CIA operative whose identity was leaked to the press. Cheney’s top lieutenant, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was convicted of lying to investigators and sentenced to 30 months in prison (his sentence was later commuted by Bush and Trump pardoned him in April).
Flood was part of the team that represented Clinton when he was tried before the Senate. Although he wasn’t a major player, he was present for the deposition of Vernon Jordan Jr., a confidant to the former president.
On paper, Flood has all the bona fides: He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dallas, went on the get a Master of Arts and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated from Yale Law, according to his Williams & Connolly bio, which also boasts of his expertise dealing “in complex white-collar matters, Congressional investigations, professional liability disputes, and other high-stakes litigation and crisis situations.”
To dedicated Russia probe tea-leaf readers, the addition of Flood to Trump’s legal team shows their intention to get more “adversarial.” A source also told the Washington Post that Flood seems to agree with his client that Robert Mueller’s investigation is a witch hunt:
Flood appears willing to take a more adversarial approach to the special counsel than Cobb, who advised Trump that cooperating with the probe would help bring it to a rapid conclusion.
For his part, Flood “feels strongly that this whole investigation is essentially an attempt to undermine an election,” said a person familiar with his views who requested anonymity to describe private conversations. “He doesn’t like the idea of an independent counsel.”
Flood had talked with the White House about potentially joining Trump’s growing legal team last summer, but those talks fell apart because he didn’t want to work with one of Trump’s longtime lawyers, Marc Kasowitz, according to the New York Times. He joins the team as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani recently came on board with a focus of bringing the probe to a close. As the Times reported in March, Jay Sekulow is the only personal attorney for Trump who’s working on matters related to the Russia probe full-time.
He’s also got his work cut out for him. Another former lead lawyer on Trump’s team, John Dowd, quit in March, fed up with representing a client who refused to take his advice.