Mar 26, 2018

Why lawyers don't want to represent Trump

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: "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. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted."

Reality check: Trump's legal team is down to two core lawyers, including his personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, who works from outside of the White House with a team of helpers, and Ty Cobb, who works from inside the White House and represents the institution as well as the president. Top Washington lawyers, including Ted Olson and Emmet Flood, have reportedly declined to join Trump's legal team.

Why Trump struggles to find top legal talent:

  • He has a reputation within the legal community for being tightfisted and reluctant to pay bills. 
  • He's impetuous. He tweets prolifically and loosely, often ignoring his lawyers' advice. 
  • Top white shoe law firms in Washington don't need the publicity nearly so much as Trump claims. Contrary to Trump's tweet, many are quite happy to turn down the "fame" associated with representing him. Representing Trump can easily bring the wrong type of publicity.
  • Some of these firms have conflicts of interest — meaning they have clients whose interests may not align with Trump's. That's the stated reason, for example, why Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing ultimately didn't join the president’s special counsel legal team. Toensing has been representing Mark Corallo, who represented Trump’s legal team in 2017 before leaving acrimoniously.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

"It was 30 years ago, get over it": Mike Bloomberg's partner brushes off NDA concerns

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Diana Taylor, Mike Bloomberg's longtime partner, dismissed the concerns surrounding non-disclosure agreements used at his company, Bloomberg LP, telling CBS News that she would say to those bothered by the allegations, "It was 30 years ago, get over it."

Why it matters: Democratic candidates have used the NDAs as a talking point against Bloomberg, calling on him to allow women to speak about the reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination they faced while working for him.

Trump's opportunity to use Bernie as an economic scapegoat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Zach Gibson/Stringer, The Washington Post/Getty Contributor

Bernie Sanders is poised to become an economic scapegoat for both the White House and Corporate America, assuming that Sanders comes through Super Tuesday unscathed.

The big picture: If the U.S. economy remains strong, President Trump and CEOs will claim credit (as they've been doing for three years). If it turns sour, they'll blame Bernie (even though it's a largely baseless charge).