On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that former President Donald Trump is struggling to find high level, respected lawyers as his legal team as the FBI investigates the reasons why he kept highly classified documents in his personal possession.
“The struggle to find expert legal advice puts Trump in a bind as he faces potential criminal exposure from a records dispute with the National Archives that escalated into a federal investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other statutes,” reported Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig, Jacqueline Alemany, and Rosalind S. Helderman. “‘Everyone is saying no,’ said a prominent Republican lawyer, who like some others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential conversations.”
The ability to hire or appoint top-list candidates for positions is nothing new for Trump, whose presidential tenure was marked by a personnel churn that was called a revolving door, or turnover “on steroids”. According to the Washington Post, by the end of Trump’s freshman year in office, 35 percent of his A-team were no longer on the job.
Furthermore, Tenpas reported on the Brookings Institute blog, “Just 32 months into the Trump administration, the rate of turnover had exceeded his five predecessors’ full first terms.”
Now that he is looking to put together a legal team, he seems to be having the same problem: attracting A-list players who are competent and who are willing to serve or represent him. “Ordinarily, the prestige and publicity of representing a former president, as well as the new and complex legal issues at stake in this case, would attract high-powered attorneys. But Trump’s search is being hampered by his divisiveness, as well as his reputation for stiffing vendors and ignoring advice,” said the Washington Post report.
The situation is further hampered by his current status as a Former President. “In olden days, he would tell firms representing him was a benefit because they could advertise off it. Today it’s not the same,” said his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
We may recall that Cohen was convicted of tax evasion, false statements, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress in 2018. Cohen was also known as Trump’s “fixer” for the many times that he was called on to cover up Trump’s misdeeds–such as paying off Stormy Daniels to keep her from revealing a damaging relationship that could have affected Trump’s election viability in 2016.
Cohen goes on to detail another serious detail that may be contributing to the lack of willing candidates to sign on as Trump’s legal representatives: “He’s also a very difficult client in that he’s always pushing the envelope, he rarely listens to sound legal advice, and he wants you to do things that are not appropriate, ethically or legally.”
According to sources close to Trump, some of the prospective candidates include Susie Wiles, a close adviser to Trump, and attorney Christina Bobb, who was present at Mar-a-Lago during the search and signed for the list of documents taken,” said the report. “Former campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn is taking a prominent role, and former White House aide Kash Patel is advising informally. Patel is raising money for a ‘legal offense’ fund by selling merchandise such as tank tops and beanies emblazoned with the logo ‘K$H.'”
At this point Trump will have to repeat the history of his administrative appointments: slide further and further down the quality scale to find those that are willing to serve him.