Longtime Trump attorney set to aid president amid probe

Julie Bykowicz
Associated Press

Washington — President Donald Trump has enlisted his longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz in a still-forming outside legal team that will represent him in the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Kasowitz, who has a history of working on Trump’s most nettlesome legal issues, will likely be part of a group of outside lawyers, according to two people familiar with the deliberations.

Trump and top White House advisers have been considering whether to fill out the team with lawyers with deep experience in Washington investigations, as well as crisis communication experts, said the people, who demanded anonymity because they’re not authorized to disclose personnel moves publicly.

Neither Kasowitz nor the White House responded to requests for comment.

Kasowitz is a New York attorney who also represents ousted Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly.

He’s been a lawyer for Trump since the early 2000s. Trump heaped praise on him and his firm in an August 2004 article in American Lawyer, calling them “phenomenal lawyers.”

At the time, Kasowitz and David Friedman, the firm’s bankruptcy head, had been advising Trump on his Atlantic City casinos. “They’re highly talented with great insight into the future,” Trump said. As president, Trump chose Friedman as the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Kasowitz’s work with Trump also has included threatening and filing lawsuits after unflattering media coverage of the businessman-turned-president.

He was involved in cases against Trump’s now-defunct Trump University. The Trump Organization ultimately agreed to a $25 million settlement with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises to teach success in real estate.

Kasowitz is the founding and managing partner of Kasowitz Benson Torres, a large legal firm that also employs former Sen. Joe Lieberman, whom Trump recently interviewed as a potential head of the FBI.

The Justice Department last week appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead a federal probe of allegations that Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s broad mandate gives him not only oversight of Russian interference but also of “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

Trump has called the probe “a witch hunt.”