President Trump has his eye on the exit, and he’s worried a dumpster fire may be blocking it.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Trump has met with the lawyer who defended Bill Clinton during impeachment proceedings, and he’s bringing the veteran attorney onto his legal team to deal with Robert Mueller’s special-counsel investigation.
If Emmett Flood comes aboard, he would help guide Trump’s daily dealings with the Justice Department. The scenario would not involve Trump’s current lawyer Ty Cobb leaving. The Times reported that Trump’s meeting with Flood doesn’t reflect new concerns about the investigation but rather acceptance that it won’t be ending anytime soon.
A hitch: Trump has long wanted Flood on his legal team, but the attorney has been reluctant. Last summer, Flood turned down an invitation to represent Trump, the “Times” said, and it’s not clear what has changed, if anything.
Mueller’s investigation continues to inch closer to the president. Last week, it was reported that a new cooperating witness told Mueller about a secret meeting in the Seychelles, which included representatives of Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin and was intended to open a backchannel between the Trump transition team and Russia. Mueller is investigating if any money or assistance changed hands, which would be illegal. It would almost certainly — to the extent anything can be certain these days — end Trump’s presidency.
On Sunday, Trump denied the Times story, tweeting, “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.”
But Trump did not deny that he might add Flood to his legal team.
The president also tweeted that reporter Maggie Haberman is a “Hillary flunky” and “knows nothing about me and is not given access.” The second assertion has been refuted by multiple accounts of Haberman getting exclusive access, with Trump calling her directly to give her scoops. On Twitter, Haberman is frequently accused of being too soft on the administration in her reporting, and for debating Trump detractors on the social network. Haberman’s co-author on the piece, Michael Schmidt, was excoriated by the same crowd for not challenging Trump enough during an impromptu 30-minute interview over the holidays.