With the investigation into his Russian connections growing more complicated by the day, President Trump has lawyered up. His new lead attorney is a familiar face — with indisputable ties to a Russian bank.
Marc E. Kasowitz, a longtime Trump lawyer, represents OJSC Sberbank, Russia's largest state-run bank, in a federal lawsuit. The bank has been accused of helping grab a company's assets in what has been called "a textbook case of corporate raiding" by the plaintiff, BuzzFeed News reported.
Instead of a Washington insider who has represented government figures in major investigations and is knowledgeable in that process, the president chose Kasowitz, who has served as his attorney for more than 15 years. He does not have experience as a criminal defense lawyer.
Kasowitz is representing Sberbank in a federal lawsuit that claims the bank conspired to run a Russian granite company, P-Granit, out of business. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges P-Granit's rivals used shell companies and "straw men" to "trap" P-Granit as it tried to refinance loans held by Sberbank, BuzzFeed reported.
Trump, who on the campaign trail promised Americans they would be "tired of winning" with a Trump administration, has not experienced that kind of fatigue with Kasowitz's representation. In 2006, Kasowitz filed a $5 billion defamation lawsuit against the author of the book "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald," which reported that Trump's net worth was $250 million, less than the $10 billion Trump claimed. (The lawsuit was dismissed, and Trump lost on appeal.)
Last year, Kasowitz threatened to sue The New York Times after it published three pages of Trump's tax returns and a story about women who claimed the president sexually assaulted them, if the Times did not retract the story. The Times did not. Kasowitz also assisted in defending Trump against fraud claims involving Trump University, which Trump settled for $25 million shortly before Inauguration Day.
Kasowitz had not commented by Tuesday night.