Over the past week or so, President Trump has been trying to shore up his legal team to counter the sudden resignation of lead attorney John Dowd. But he’s hitting a brick wall everywhere he turns.
Trump had initially announced that former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova would be joining his defense, but diGenova had to recuse himself due to a conflict of interest.
Now, the former acting Solicitor General of the United States under Barack Obama, Neal Katyal, is warning that Trump should be very worried, because it appears he is the main focus of the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Katyal noted:
“What happened between last week, when DiGenova and Toensing were announced as joining the team, and yesterday?. Then Dowd resigns Thursday, and yet by Sunday DiGenova and Toensing are gone, leaving the president with only two lawyers.”
Here’s where it gets very hairy for Trump, who may have assumed he was just seen as a witness by Mueller. Katyal explained:
“Diligent prosecutors, when they see a defendant doing something profoundly dangerous to their self-interest (including hiring lawyers who have conflicts), will raise it with the defendant and suggest they rethink it.”
In other words, Mueller’s team of lawyers may have told Trump that diGenova and Toensing were not the legal representatives he needed because the case against him is more serious than he could have ever imagined:
“I think it very possible that that happened here—Mueller is a scrupulous prosecutor and may have told Trump he had concerns about Trump’s own rights. If it did happen, it would strongly suggest that Mueller is formally thinking of Trump as a target of his investigation . . . A prosecutor would issue such a warning to a target, not to a witness.”
All of this suggests that Robert Mueller is drawing ever closer to the president, and as he does, even the most eager lawyers are getting as far away from Trump as they possibly can.
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