Donald Trump, a man at the center of a plot from any number of fictional political dramas, is retaining his personal lawyer to help him navigate the sticky, complicated legal hell that is the current investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Despite his repeated denials of any wrongdoing and insisting that he has been told numerous times that he is not under investigation, the Washington Post reports that, according to sources familiar with the matter, Trump will retain the services of Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney that has been with Trump for years, holding his stubby hand through a variety of tricky legal dealings including his divorce and the allegations of fraud at Trump University. Politico reports that Kasowitz also represented Trump last year during the election when he unsuccesfully tried to get the The New York Times to retract stories about women who alleged that the President of the United States inappropriately touched them several years back.
The president’s decision to lawyer up comes as the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election intensifies. Last week, Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to the Russia investigation in the wake of Comey’s firing. Late last week, White House lawyers started looking into impeachment procedures just in case—news that was delivered during the now-standard end of the day news dump that brings a new wave of awful right before you head home from work.
Hiring outside counsel to handle legal troubles of this magnitude isn’t unusual; the Post notes that Bill Clinton did the same thing for his legal issues when he was in office. There is one potential complication in Trump retaining Kasowitz. Former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman is a senior counsel at the firm that employs Kasowitz. He’s also one of Trump’s top picks to replace James Comey, the man who was leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
Do you see any possible similarities here?
Were Lieberman officially chosen to run the FBI, and Kasowitz chosen to help with Trump’s legal advice, both men — the one leading the organization investigating possible Russian collusion and the one offering Trump legal counsel on that very issue — would hail from the same firm, likely presenting a conflict of interest.
Pretty standard stuff for these times, honestly.