President Donald Trump is reportedly not an easy person to work with.
Lawyer John Dowd suggested as much when he resigned from Trump’s legal team last week, reportedly because the president was refusing to listen to his advice on how to approach the special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation.
Trump had advocated an aggressive approach toward the probe and said that he “would like to” sit down with Mueller to prove his innocence on the probe’s questions over whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. But Dowd pushed for a more cautious attitude toward the investigation.
Experts said Dowd’s exit was a symptom of a legal team that is not on the same page.
“It looks to me like they have too many conflicting power centers on their defense team, and all will be competing and giving advice that conflicts with one another,” Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor who worked on a notable 2003 special counsel investigation, previously told Business Insider.
But even as Trump has sought to shake up his legal team in order to tap attorneys who would let him pursue whatever course he thinks is best, he has been stonewalled by several prominent lawyers.
Here are eight lawyers who have decided not to work with the president so far:
- Screenshot/Fox News
DiGenova made a name for himself in the 1980s as a lawyer in the Justice Department’s case against a Washington, DC mayor.
As a controversial media personality, he has also peddled baseless conspiracy theories about the Clinton family, the Democratic Party, and federal law enforcement agencies in the past.
DiGenova was slated to join Trump’s legal team as recently as last week. Just days later, he and his wife, Victoria Toensing, who run a law firm together, dropped out of consideration. The reason given was because of apparent legal conflicts involving one of Toensing’s clients, who is a witness in Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said the president “is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team. However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”
Toensing is diGenova’s wife, and like him, didn’t take Trump’s offer because she is reportedly representing former spokesman for Trump’s legal team Mark Corallo, who is a witness in the Russia investigation.
Her representation of Corallo could potentially be seen as a conflict of interest, according to some scholars, and even the appearance of a conflict could be damaging to Trump’s case.
Together with her husband, Toensing has frequently touted conspiracy theories in the media, and the pair were a major presence on cable TV during the Monica Lewinsky scandal during the presidency of former President Bill Clinton.
Ted Olson is a renowned lawyer who served as former President George W. Bush’s solicitor general, and represented Bush in the landmark Supreme Court case that ultimately secured the presidency for him.
Olson has rebuked Trump personally twice in the media – once as he was under consideration to join Trump’s team, and another time shortly after he rejected Trump’s offer.
“This is turmoil, it’s chaos, it’s confusion, it’s not good for anything,” he said on MSNBC.
Emmet Flood is another renowned Washington lawyer, and represented Clinton during his impeachment process in the late 1990s.
He also worked in the White House counsel’s office during the Bush administration, and at one point represented former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Flood had previously rejected another offer to work for Trump in the summer of 2017, according to The New York Times, and was in negotiations again this month to join his team.
Although Flood declined to say whether he would be taking Trump up on his offer, CNN reported that he rejected it.
Robert Bennett is a top defense lawyer who has also served as a federal prosecutor in the past, and his activities have ranged from representing companies in Securities Exchange Commission cases to working on congressional matters.
He is perhaps best known for being on the team that represented Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Bennett has also worked with numerous other big names in Washington from both parties, including Sen. John McCain and former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford.
He too recently declined Trump’s offer, according to CNN.
Robert Giuffra‘s main claim to fame has been his history of representing corporations like Volkswagen, and participating in law cases that arose out of the Enron scandal in the early 2000s.
Throughout his career, he has served as a lawyer in Congress, the White House, and the judicial branch.
- John Gress/Reuters
Dan Webb is prominent private practice attorney who was at one point the US attorney in Chicago.
He is well known for successfully prosecuting former Admiral John Poindexter as part of the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, and has tried a number of other high-profile cases in the Chicago area.
“President Trump reached out to Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan to provide legal representation,” they said in a statement. “They were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts. However, they consider the opportunity to represent the president to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so. They wish the president the best and believe he has excellent representation in Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.”
Tom Buchanan is Webb’s lesser-known partner in law. Like Webb, he has been active as an attorney in the Chicago area, and is the co-head of a task force on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that deals with payments to foreign governments.