Politics

Top Lawyers Pass On Trump: 'Won't Pay ... Won't Listen'

| by Michael Allen

Lawyers with four major law firms have reportedly refused to represent President Donald Trump in multiple investigations of the Trump campaign's possible collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election.

According to Yahoo News, the attorneys believe Trump won't listen to them or pay for their services.

Four congressional committees and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating the Trump campaign.

Trump's head counsel is currently Marc E. Kasowitz, a New York attorney who previously represented Trump in Trump University lawsuit cases and divorces. However, Kasowitz is reportedly not experienced in Justice Department and congressional investigations.

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Sources told Yahoo News that before the White House hired Kasowitz, several high-profile lawyers turned Trump down, including Brendan Sullivan, Ted Olson, Paul Clement, Mark Filip and Robert Giuffra.

Olson is a particularly heavy hitter, having won the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision that resulted in an election victory for President George W. Bush in 2000.

The reasons given for turning down Trump included existing commitments, upcoming trials and potential conflicts with existing clients, among others.

"The concerns were, 'The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,'" an unidentified lawyer told Yahoo News.

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The lawyer added that the law firms were also concerned that being associated with Trump would "kill recruitment."

A second lawyer confirmed that law firms were worried about their reputations: "Do I want to be associated with this president and his policies?" More concerns included: "Who’s in charge?" and "Would he listen?"

The lawyers who reportedly turned down Trump did not issue comments.

The search for outside counsel reportedly began after the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of Mueller as a special counsel in the Justice Department investigation.

While the White House has had problems lawyering up, Politico reports that Mueller, a former FBI director, is putting together a top-flight prosecution team whose experience includes work on Enron, the Mafia and Watergate.

Mueller's team includes former assistant Watergate prosecutor James Quarles; Andrew Weissmann, who is taking a leave from his current position heading up the Justice Department’s criminal fraud unit; Aaron Zebley, former FBI chief of staff under Mueller; and Jeannie Rhee, a former lawyer with the Justice Department.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, told Politico that Mueller is "focused on providing a management structure to oversee ongoing matters" in the Russia-Trump investigation. Carr said that Mueller's team "will be determined by the needs of the investigation."

Sources: Yahoo News, Politico / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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