President Donald Trump has hit back at claims he is unhappy with his legal team, amid reports that he has spoken to a lawyer who represented Bill Clinton in impeachment hearings about joining the White House.
Mr Trump tweeted that a story suggesting he was looking to add Washington lawyer Emmet T Flood to his team – as he looks to deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election meddling and any possible links to his campaign – was “false”.
“I am VERY happy with my lawyers…They are doing a great job,” Mr Trump said, saying that it was “wrong” that he was “going to add another lawyer to help out.”
The New York Times reported that Mr Flood had held discussions with Mr Trump in the White House during the last week, citing a number of people connected to the matter – although it is said that a final decision had not yet been made. The duties that Mr Flood might take up in the White House, would revolve around the day-to-day dealings with the Justice Department.
Mr Trump tweeted that his lawyers “John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow” had “shown conclusively that there was no collusion with Russia” – a refrain that he has repeatedly used in recent months. Mr Trump also fell back on a number of other tropes from his campaign, alleging without presenting any evidence that the “only collusion” was by the “DNC, the Democrats and Crooked Hillary [Clinton]”, his presidential opponent in 2016.
While calling the New York Times story “false”, Mr Trump did not directly address the question of whether he had held recent meetings with Mr Flood, with sources also telling Reuters that the meeting had taken place.
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Attacking the newspaper as “failing”, another constant in his regular criticism on the media that covers him, Mr Trump called one of the reporters on the story, Maggie Haberman, as a “Hillary flunky” who “knows nothing about me and is not given access”. That is despite Ms Haberman having previously been given interviews in the Oval Office, and also being known for breaking stories about the president.
As for Mr Flood, he has previously worked in the White House Counsel’s office under George W Bush, represented former Vice President Dick Cheney and is said to have turned down an offer to work in the White House last year.
It said that Mr Trump has no new concerns about Mr Mueller’s inquiry, any discussions about his legal team would indicate that Mr Trump’s team believe that the investigation would be ending swiftly. That the investigation would end in relatively short order has been the line of Mr Cobb, who has taken the lead role in dealing with the special counsel’s office and advocated a co-operative approach.
Word of the discussions came as Trump’s outside legal team has been negotiating with Mr Mueller over a possible interview with the president.