Ty Cobb, President Donald Trump’s lead lawyer in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, is planning to retire at the end of the month, NBC News confirmed on Wednesday.
The New York Times reported Trump’s plans to replace Cobb with attorney Emmett Flood, who advised Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings, to assist the president with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
“For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff (John) Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
-Lawyer Ty Cobb, who is retiring from President Donald Trump’s legal team. Courtesy Hogan Lovells
Based on NBC News’ multiple conversations with Cobb, he seemed largely in favor of Trump granting an interview to Mueller under the right conditions. He consistently encouraged the president and legal team to cooperate fully with Mueller to bring about what Cobb had hoped would be a swift end to the investigation.
Trump tweeted last month about Cobb, “I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller (Unlike the Clintons!). I have full confidence in Ty Cobb, my Special Counsel, and have been fully advised throughout each phase of this process.”
For his part, Flood was part of the legal team that represented Clinton during his impeachment proceedings in the late 1990s.
He also spent two years in the White House Counsel’s office for President George W. Bush’s administration, where he was the lead lawyer handling hundreds of congressional investigations involving executive privilege- related issues, according to his online biography.
Flood represented Vice President Dick Cheney in a civil suit brought by former CIA agent Valerie Plame against a several Bush administration officials. His firm, Williams and Connolly, also represented Hillary Clinton, including in her email scandal, according to Reuters.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a longtime Trump ally and ex-federal prosecutor in New York, recently joined Trump’s legal team to provide advice on how to deal with the special counsel’s investigation.
John Dowd, another of Trump’s outside attorneys, resigned in late March, amid reportedly “very sensitive negotiations” between the president’s legal team and Mueller’s office about a potential interview of Trump, NBC New has reported.
The shifts in Trump’s team come in the wake of an FBI raid on the office and hotel room of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Trump called the raid “a whole new level of unfairness.”
Mueller reportedly wants to question Trump in detail about ties to Russia, the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and whether he tried to interfere with the investigation itself, according to a list of questions published by The Times this week.
Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible collusion with his presidential campaign a “witch hunt.”