Here's What Trump's Major Legal Team Shakeup Means for His Defense Strategy Against Mueller
President Donald Trump's legal team underwent a major shakeup Wednesday as it was officially announced that Ty Cobb will leave and Emmet Flood will come on board. But what does all this mean?
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, citing multiple sources familiar with the team's strategy, said the move signals that the president intends to use executive privilege as a defense against Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
A report from the New York Times earlier this week detailed an extensive list of questions that the special counsel reportedly wants to ask the president, which appeared to show that Mueller's focus continues to be on possible obstruction of justice charges and conspiracy with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
Other reporting indicates that while the Trump legal team is hesitant to have the president sit down for an interview, Mueller is willing to issue a subpoena for his testimony, if necessary.
"Three sources tell me that the recruitment of Flood to the president's legal team sends a clear signal that the team plans to rely much more heavily on a legal strategy long advocated by current White House counsel Don McGahn to exert executive privilege more aggressively," she said. "Two of these sources say Flood's finesse at asserting this privilege more aggressively was on display in work he conducted during the Bush 43 administration. I'm told that while he takes a hard line on executive privilege, he's known to do so in a way that is both professional and effective."
However, Trump's team might run into serious problems as it attempts to invoke executive privilege, which means that the president has unique ability to shield certain materials from review by the other branches. Attorney Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday night that this option may be severely limited for Trump with regard to Mueller's investigation because he has already commented on the matter so extensively in public.
Watch the clip of Wallace below:
"3 sources tell me the recruitment of Emmet Flood to Trump's legal team sends a clear signal the team plans to ... exert executive privilege more aggressively ... 2 sources tell me Flood is Don McGahn's hand-picked successor as WH counsel" - @NicolleDWallace pic.twitter.com/zpU2PFFJwH— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) May 2, 2018