President Donald Trump is shaking up his legal defense team as he and his White House signal a more aggressive posture of attacking special counsel Robert Mueller.
Longtime Trump attorney Mark Kasowitz is stepping back as the lead outside attorney for Trump’s legal defense, and will take on a reduced role.
Kasowitz is known as a legal bulldog who represented Trump in the Trump University fraud lawsuit that eventually settled for $25 million with students who claimed they got ripped off.
His move to step back as his chief spokesman, former Justice Department aide Mark Corallo, abruptly resigned Thursday night.
Marc Kasowitz, lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, will be taking a reduced role in the president’s legal defense as he fends off a special counsel inquiry and congressional probers
Corallo’s only public statement is that he left his post, but sources told Politico that Corallo wasn’t on board with the new Trump team strategy of trying to attack special counsel Robert Mueller. He also complained of infighting.
Trump went after Mueller in a New York Times interview Wednesday, accusing him of having conflicts of interest because he had interviewed for the position of FBI Director after Trump fired James Comey.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s lawyers were drawing up a list of Mueller’s alleged conflicts of interest, even as the legal team weighed the president’s pardon powers.
Corallo is a longtime Republican aide who cut his teeth as a House Judiciary Committee aide during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He is reportedly close to Mueller.
RESIGNED: Mark Corallo, who served as spokesman for Trump’s legal team for about two months, abruptly resigned Thursday, amid reports he was concerned about efforts to tarnish special counsel Robert Mueller
Trump made his comments about Mueller in the same interview where he said it would be a ‘violation’ if the special counsel were to probe his financial transactions. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that Mueller is probing a skein of business transactions, from Trump condo sales to large number of wealthy Russians, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant which was held in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a $95 million mansion to a Russian oligarch.
Some beltway insiders expressed surprise when Trump tapped Kasowitz to head his response to swirling congressional inquiries as well as the special counsel’s Russia probe.
This month, ProPublica reported that Kasowitz fired off profanity-laced emails when a retired PR sent him an email saying ‘Resign Now.’
Kasowitz replied that evening: ‘I’m on you now. You are f—— with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back , b—.”
He also wrote: ‘“Call me. Don’t be afraid, you piece of s—. Stand up. If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.”
INSIDE MAN: White collar defense attorney Ty Cobb is joining the White House to help defend Trump
Trump doubled his money on the sale of this Palm Beach mansion to a Russian oligarch for $95 million in 2008
The financing and marketing of Trump Soho is one avenue reportedly under review
Trump and his lawyers have already begun efforts to tarnish special counsel Robert Mueller
The New York Times reported that experienced defense lawyer John Dowd would head up the response to the Russia inquiry from outside the White House.
Ty Cobb, an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney, is joining the White House at the end of the month to coordinate the president’s legal response.
Also on the outside legal team is Jay Sekulow, who has provided an aggressive defense of Trump in TV interviews. He took shots at Mueller Thursday, complaining about the scope of his probe.
“They’re talking about real estate transactions in Palm Beach several years ago,” he told the Post, in reference to a $95 million sale of a mansion to a Russian oligarch where Trump doubled his money. “In our view, this is far outside the scope of a legitimate investigation.”
Trump’s conversations with his outside lawyers would be privileged. Cobb is expected to assume some communications duties when he enters the White House.