At the end of the month, Ty Cobb, the top Trump White House attorney handling the Russia investigation, will step down from his position as the White House plans to make a shift to a more aggressive legal strategy to combat special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.
According to Politico, White House spokeswoman
Aunt Lydia Sarah Huckabee Sanders, aka Suckabee, confirmed that Cobb would be leaving the White House and noted that the departure had been discussed between Trump and top staff, including White House chief of staff John Kelly, for some time.
Cobb told the New York Times in a phone interview that he will be replaced by Emmet Flood, “an attorney who helped President Bill Clinton manage his impeachment defense and also served as a White House counsel under President George W. Bush,” Politico reports.
Then, on Tuesday, Trump tweeted this:
Sounds like the departure of Cobb, the more aggressive stance that the White House wants to take regarding the Russia investigation, and Trump’s latest tweet implying that he’s going to have to “use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved” might mean that Trump is leaning toward firing Mueller or gearing up to challenge the special counsel.
Here’s how Politico breaks down the current messy situation:
Trump’s current team of personal lawyers, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, restarted talks last month with Mueller over a potential sit-down interview, though the president and his attorneys have signaled they will resist the special counsel’s overtures and may even force a subpoena fight that could take months as it winds its way through the courts.
Cobb, who hasn’t been a direct player in the negotiations with Mueller on the Trump interview, has withstood months of criticism from conservatives and longtime Trump allies who had been urging the president to fire the top White House lawyer and launch more direct attacks on the special counsel.
Trump had resisted those pleas until March, when he fired off the first in a series of tweets to mention the special counsel by name and also question whether the probe should have ever been launched. Those missives prompted widespread speculation Trump was on the verge of setting in motion Mueller’s firing – which Cobb eventually walked back in an official White House statement saying no such plan was in the works.
Cobb had managed upon joining Trump’s legal team last July to temper the president’s furor against Mueller, tamping down the expectation Trump would get rid of the special counsel. Alongside Kelly, Cobb also was able to limit the president’s Twitter attacks against Mueller.
So basically, Cobb did a decent job wrangling the president off Twitter (imagine what it would’ve looked like if he hadn’t) but a horrible job attacking Mueller. It’s probably proving impossible to work with the president regarding Russia, since clearly he sleeps in hammer and sickle briefs and writes “Make Russia great again” on his empty KFC bucket right before he places it on his head.