Maybe Donald Trump is planning on representing himself during his interview with Robert Mueller. It isn’t everyday that a president finds himself facing potential obstruction of justice charges not to mention the possibility of impeachment in what is the most important legal case of this century and quite possibly the last as well; yet despite that Trump.Doesn’t.Have.A.Lawyer. Seriously. Jay Sekulow is still on staff as Trump’s personal lawyer, but the only problem with that is Sekulow doesn’t have any experience handling federal criminal investigations. Ty Cobb is still on staff, and he has experience with federal criminal investigations, but he is the White House Counsel and not Trump’s personal attorney. DiGenova was a former federal prosecutor and hired as Trump’s personal attorney, but he’s toast. So what is Trump going to do about Mueller? Vanity Fair:
One of the most critical questions, in the wake of Dowd’s departure, is who is handling negotiations over Trump’s potential interview with Mueller. For months, Dowd had been in contact with the special counsel over the issue, which had reportedly emerged as a sticking point. Dowd was rightly worried about the president testifying under oath, given his penchant for mistruths and exaggerations. Trump, however, has publicly and privately signaled an eagerness to face Mueller. With Dowd out, it is unclear where those negotiations stand. “Cobb can’t do it because he doesn’t represent Trump personally and no one else currently on the team has any experience in this area,” noted William Jeffress, an attorney who worked on the Valerie Plame leak case. Sekulow has reportedly tried to recruit more experienced lawyers, but none have yet signed on.
Joe diGenova had experience in federal criminal cases, but he lasted two days, apparently because Trump hired him based upon his conspiracy theory performances on Fox News and not his performances in the courtroom. Nobody knows what went sour with diGenova, other than “lack of personal chemistry,” which is a goofy consideration since Trump was looking to diGenova to save his ass, not to date him. Trump really screwed the pooch on this one.
Trump’s inability to assemble or maintain an experienced legal team could prove crippling if he is forced to square off against Mueller, a fearsome federal prosecutor assisted by “16 of the best lawyers in the country.” Cobb and Dowd were the only members of the team with the relevant credentials. Sekulow rose to prominence as a conservative commentator and for his work on religious-freedom cases through his work with the American Center for Law and Justice. A team of roughly a half dozen individuals, also affiliated with the conservative nonprofit, are reported to be working with Sekulow on Trump’s defense on a part-time basis. “You wouldn’t go to an ear and nose and throat specialist to perform heart surgery,” [former Obama general counsel Bob] Bauer told me. “It is an odd notion that you just reach out and recruit lawyers that you are personally comfortable with . . . rather than select the people that have the experience and the training to address the very specific problem that you face.”
So here Trump chased away the very person who could have helped him, diGenova. What now? Per usual, Trump blustered and made light of it with his Sunday tweet, “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,” he said. You know, I think for once Trump is right. It’s not hard for him to find a lawyer. It’s impossible.
Carry on, Donald, we’re all watching your next brilliant move in this chess game, which you think is checkers with funny shapes and which, unfortunately for you, you’re playing against a world class opponent. Let the end game begin.