It’s easy to get lost in the asteroid field of White House personnel news or in the constellation of legal cases involving President Donald Trump. To help, we put together this guide to the lawyers and legal cases surrounding the president.
PROMINENT LEGAL CASES
Mueller Russia probe: Special Counsel Robert Mueller was directed to investigate any possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 elections and “any matters… that may arise directly from the investigation.”
Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels: Four key points to this complex legal situation.
- Clifford is asking a court to nullify the non-disclosure deal she made with Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in 2016. Under the deal she agreed to stay silent about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump in return for $130,000. Her lawyer has said the deal is void because Trump never signed it.
- Clifford is suing Cohen for defamation after he accused her of lying about the affair.
- Separately, Cohen may be in legal trouble if the $130,000 payment he made to Clifford on Trump’s behalf is seen as an illegal campaign contribution.
- From the president’s side, a law firm is asking a court to force Clifford to pay $20 million in fines for what she has said.
Summer Zervos: The former “The Apprentice” contestant is suing Trump for defamation after he insisted she was lying about allegations that he groped her.
TRUMP LEGAL TEAM
Mueller probe, personal attorney: Jay Sekulow is currently the primary lawyer working on the Mueller probe for Trump as a private citizen. But Sekulow’s specialty is religious freedom, not criminal defense. He and the president are searching for another lead personal attorney for the case. This, as the probe is expected to shift more toward Trump’s private actions before taking office and questions of whether he will testify in the probe.
Mueller probe, White House attorney: Ty Cobb is the White House lawyer focused on the Mueller probe. He represents the president and White House staff as government officials. Cobb has overseen and coordinated Mueller’s interviews with White House employees, which some believe could soon come to an end.
White House counsel: Don McGahn is the chief White House counsel and oversees all legal activity for the president’s executive office.
Clifford case: In the past few weeks a patchwork of lawyers and firms have defended the president. A Trump Organization attorney named Jill Martin responded to Clifford’s initial filing, saying she was working in a personal capacity outside of the company. More recently an attorney named Brent Blakely has picked up Trump’s defense.
Not on the president’s legal team: These attorneys have recently left or have declined to join the Trump legal team:
- John Dowd: The former head of Trump’s personal legal team resigned last week.
- Joseph diGenova: The attorney hired to replace Dowd left within days of his hiring.
- Victoria Toensing: DiGenova’s wife was considered but will not join the team due at least in part to her handling of other related cases.
- Emmet Flood and Theodore Olson: The veteran Washington attorneys both declined overtures to join the Trump team. (Olson later said the situation is “turmoil.”)