May 2, 2018

Trump hires Clinton impeachment lawyer Emmet Flood

White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings (R) consults with White House Special Counsel Emmet Flood (L) August 2, 2007. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The New York Times reports that a former Clinton impeachment lawyer, Emmet Flood, will replace Ty Cobb as White House counsel upon his retirement.

The details: "Mr. Flood is expected to take a more adversarial approach to the investigation than Mr. Cobb, who had pushed Mr. Trump to strike a cooperative tone. Mr. Flood initially spoke with the White House last summer about working for the president," per the Times.

What they're saying: The White House released a statement on Cobb's departure explaining, “[f]or several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month.”

The intrigue: Special counsel Robert Mueller recently provided President Trump’s lawyers with a list of dozens of questions on various issues he wants to ask Trump if given the opportunity to interview him as part of his Russia investigation. He also recently added confidant Rudy Giuliani to his legal team following the resignation of Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, in March.

  • The Times adds, "The president’s legal team for the special counsel investigation has been marked by turnover and uncertain strategy, complicated by a client liable to dismiss his lawyers’ advice." Likely a factor that prompted Dowd's resignation.

His background: Flood was on Clinton's legal team during his impeachment proceedings, adds the Times. Adding to his resume, Flood was the lead lawyer for the White House during former President George W. Bush's defense in dealing with congressional investigations. He has also privately represented former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Ty Cobb told Fox News' Major Garrett, "[p]eople will think this means we’re going to war but I would not read that into this. This is good for me. I have postponed many orthopedic procedures and basically been living in an attic ... The key point is all the documents requested by the Special Counsel were produced by late October. All the interviews with White House personnel were conducted by late January. The bulk of the work was done.”

Go deeper

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Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.