lawyer up
September 9, 2017

Following the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller intends to interview high-ranking current and former White House staff as part of his investigation into Russian election meddling, a legal defense fund is reportedly being created to offset the cost of retaining high-dollar attorneys such as the lawyer White House communications director Hope Hicks has hired.

The fund will allow third parties to cover hefty legal bills for the Trump team members under scrutiny, The Daily Beast reports, citing unnamed officials close to the White House and Mueller's probe. The lawyers selected "will likely bill between $500 and $1,000 per hour."

Hicks' lawyer is reported to be Robert Trout of Trout Cacheris & Janis, a Washington, D.C., firm. The communications director has worked with President Trump since his pre-campaign days and is among his most trusted staffers. She is known for keeping a low public profile, but has come to Mueller's attention — along with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and several other current advisers — because she was present during key events, like the crafting of Trump's misleading statement about the meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer before the election. Bonnie Kristian

July 16, 2017

President Trump's campaign, which is actively fundraising for 2020, spent $677,826 on "legal consulting" in April, May, and June of this year, new campaign finance disclosures revealed Saturday. That is a marked rise from the campaign's legal expenditures in the first quarter of 2017; for example, $538,265 of that figure went to the organization's primary law firm, Jones Day, which from January to March was paid $190,306, less than half the second quarter payment.

Also included in the total is $50,000 for Donald Trump Jr.'s lawyer, paid two weeks before the revelation of Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and a former Soviet counterintelligence officer in hopes of acquiring incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

The Trump campaign proper plus two affiliated joint fundraising committees together raised $13.9 million for 2020 in the reported three-month period. The payments to attorneys are legal so long as the lawyers limit their attention to parts of the Russia collusion investigation pertaining to the campaign. Bonnie Kristian

July 15, 2017

President Trump has added another attorney, Ty Cobb, to his legal team to help manage his response to ongoing federal investigations into allegations of collusion between ranking members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government to manipulate the 2016 election. Cobb is a veteran lawyer and former federal prosecutor. His hiring was first reported Friday by Bloomberg News, citing two unnamed White House sources, and confirmed by the White House Saturday:

Cobb will "seek to play the role of crisis manager and disciplinarian," The Washington Post reports, guiding an administration struggling to handle a steady stream of new revelations about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Bonnie Kristian

June 15, 2017

Less than a month after President Trump hired a private attorney to deal with the ongoing Russia probes, Vice President Mike Pence has followed suit. The vice president's office confirmed Thursday to The Washington Post that Pence has hired outside legal counsel to handle the recently opened independent investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing congressional probes into Russian election meddling and any possible collusion by the Trump team.

Pence has chosen Richmond, Virginia-based attorney Richard Cullen, who is a chairman at McGuire Woods and who previously served as a U.S. attorney. The vice president's office said his decision to hire a personal attorney reflects his intention to "fully cooperate with any inquiries related to the Russia probe."

Pence's decision comes despite Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz's reported assurance to White House personnel that it's not necessary to hire their own lawyers. The Post noted Pence's move "could set off a scramble among other West Wing aides — many of whom are already bracing for subpoenas — to do the same, even if only as a protective measure."

Read more on the story at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

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