President Donald Trump is in discussions with President Bill Clinton’s impeachment lawyer about joining the White House legal team, specifically to assist with the special counsel inquiry, according to reports.
Emmet T. Flood, a veteran Washington lawyer, met with Trump in the Oval Office last week, the New York Times first reported. But no decision has yet been made about hiring Flood, the report said.
The move appears to be an acknowledgment that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia is “unlikely to end anytime soon,” two sources close to the president told the Times.
Mueller is investigating Russian interference and possible collusion in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump obstructed justice related to the probe, Reuters reported.
In a Washington Post report Friday, sources said investigators for Mueller’s Russia probe have asked witnesses about the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, when Trump reportedly wrote a personal letter inviting Putin to attend.
John Dowd, an attorney for President Trump, dismissed the Post report, saying he was not familiar with the letter.
“It’s all nonsense,” Dowd told the Post.
The Post said representatives of the White House and the Trump Organization declined to comment.
Mueller’s team also examined Trump’s relationship with billionaire Moscow developer Ara Agalarov and his pop star son, Emin, who had “promised Trump he would meet Putin,” he said. Putin canceled his schedule appearance at the last minute, but reportedly sent Trump a “friendly” letter and gift. Trump has offered contradicting stories about whether he has a relationship with Putin.
In June 2016, a music promoter representing Emin Agalarov reached out to Donald Trump Jr. about damaging information against Hillary Clinton, the report said.
Since the summer, White House lawyer Ty Cobb has taken the lead role in the dealing with the special counsel, the Times reported.
Cobb, however, has told friends that he views his position as temporary and does not expect to stay on the job much longer, the report said.
Trump’s personal lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, have been negotiating with Mueller over the terms of a presidential interview, the newspaper reported.
Flood is reportedly the only person the White House has been in contact with about the leading role. He had been on the legal team “wish list” of some presidential adviser since last year, the Times reported.
Flood, who is a partner at the law firm Williams & Connolly, turned down an opportunity to represent Trump last summer, the Washington Post said in another report.
Flood’s law firm also represents Hillary Clinton, including in the email scandal, which could be a possible reason the firm turned down representing Trump as outside counsel, sources told Reuters, which led to Cobb’s hiring.
Flood had been one of more than a half-dozen top lawyers to decline representing Trump, the report said.
Though a Republican, Flood represented President Bill Clinton during his 1998 impeachment proceedings, the Post reported. He also previously worked in the White House counsel’s office under George W. Bush and represented Vice President Dick Cheney.
When reached by the Times, the Post and Reuters, the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesperson for the law firm also could not be reached immediately for comment.