White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who is dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, is leaving his position and being replaced by Emmet Flood, the attorney who represented former president Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. Cobb’s exit would be the latest in a string of top White House departures, including from the president’s legal team as Trump wants his lawyers to adopt an aggressive stance to counter the ongoing special counsel investigation. “Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Veteran Washington lawyer Flood represented Clinton during his 1998-99 impeachment proceedings. Referring to Ty Cobb as “a friend of the president” who has done a “terrific job”, Sanders said the attorney will be retiring at the end of the month. “For 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,” she added. Cobb had been one of the Trump lawyers pushing the president to cooperate with Mueller, amid an internal debate over whether or not the US President should agree to be interviewed by the special counsel. The news was first reported by The New York Times. Like many veterans of the meandering, years long Clinton investigation, Flood has told people he is wary of special counsel inquiries, the daily said. “He has expressed concerns about the scope of Mr. Mueller’s investigation in particular, a view that resonates with the president. Mr. Cobb, by contrast, has expressed admiration for Mr. Mueller and has never adopted the president’s witch hunt language,” it said.
The Wall Street Journal said that Trump decided to remove Cobb as the White House attorney because he was adopting a cooperative approach with the Special Counsel, Robert Muller, who is investigating into the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. “Mr. Cobb has been a calming force in the White House, routinely urging Mr. Trump not to fire Mr. Mueller or any top Justice Department officials, and making plain that he would consider resigning were that to happen, according to a person familiar with the matter,” the daily said. Cobb often grew frustrated with Trump’s tweets attacking Mueller and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the Trump campaign, The Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Similar reports had surfaced earlier too, but Trump refuted them.
“The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job,” the US President said in a tweet on March 11. Cobb took the lead of the White House team after the previous lead lawyer, John Dowd, quit in March convinced that Trump was not following his advice. Dowd vehemently opposed Trump submitting to an interview, but the US president at the time was reportedly inclined to talk to the special prosecutor, believing it would lead to a quicker end to the probe.