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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Retains Personal Attorney As Russia Crisis Engulfs White House

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

By Kevin Daley
23 May 2017, 11:34 PM

President Donald Trump has retained Marc Kasowitz, a veteran litigator and longtime associate, to counsel him through ongoing law enforcement probes into alleged collusion between members of his campaign and Russian officials.

Kasowitz is a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, a commercial litigation shop in New York which — in Trumpian fashion — boasts of its “aggressive legal strategies.” The Washington Post reportshe has represented Trump in real estate deals, divorce proceedings, and litigation related to Trump University. He has also represented disgraced Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly in the ongoing legal controversies surrounding his alleged harassment of women.

Though the president maintains an in-house legal staff managed by White House Counsel Don McGahn to represent and advise him in his official capacity, historically presidents facing civil or criminal charges have retained their own lawyers. Former President Bill Clinton hired David Kendall of Williams & Connolly LLP to represent him during the Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals.

Kasowitz’s hiring may complicate the ongoing search for a new FBI director. Former Senator Joe Lieberman, who Trump said was a leading contender for the post, is senior counselat Kasowitz’s firm. As such, Lieberman’s appointment could raise questions of impropriety, given his close relationship with Kasowitz and the firm’s long and storied relationship with Trump.

The White House has not confirmed Kasowitz’s hiring.

The Post reports other attorneys under consideration included former Solicitor General Theodore Olson and Robert J. Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

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