According to the latest story sourced to the usual “several people briefed on the conversations”, the NYT reports that “several White House advisers and personal associates of President Trump have urged him to hire an experienced outside lawyer” to assist on issues arising from the Russia controversy. The recommendations reportedly came even prior to a special counsel being named on Wednesday to lead the Russian collusion probe.
Mr. Trump has signaled he is likely to hire a new lawyer, but has not yet made a decision, according to three people who have spoken with him. Aides to Mr. Trump did not immediately comment on his discussions. Mr. Trump is said to recognize that he needs help beyond the White House counsel. But he is deeply cautious in selecting people he trusts, and he adds new people to his orbit slowly.
Other presidents have hired personal lawyers suited to an investigation by a special counsel or special prosecutor in the past. For instance, Bill and Hillary Clinton hired David E. Kendall during the summer of 1993 as they were grappling with a Justice Department effort to subpoena business records related to their Whitewater real estate holdings.
Of course, Trump already has an army of existing lawyers: a personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and a tax lawyer who worked on his business issues before he went into the White House, Sheri Dillon. Daniel Petrocelli, an alumnus of the O.J. Simpson civil trial, was the lawyer to whom Mr. Trump turned when he was dealing with a class-action fraud case against the defunct Trump University.
At this point the NYT story deviates from the topic and hand and speculates about the picture of gloom inside the White House, saying Trump staff members “are grimly aware that they will likely have to hire lawyers of their own as the special counsel probe takes shape — a circumstance that can drain the finances of presidential associates. And special counsel investigations can begin with one issue and refocus on another, as was the case with the Whitewater investigation that ended up with Mr. Clinton’s impeachment after disclosures of his affair with Monica Lewinsky.”
It is not clear when and how Trump will progress issue, however it is quite likely that once Trump does hire outside representation this will promptly be spun as definitve confirmation the president is clearly hiding something.