At least four top lawyers familiar with Washington turned down the offer to head President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing Russia probe before Marc Kasowitz accepted, according to Yahoo News.
Kasowitz, who represented Bill O’Reilly in his sexual harassment suits earlier this year, worked for Trump last October when the then-candidate wanted to sue the New York Times for libel over a story that featured two women who accused him of sexual assault.
But how did he end up with what amounts to a huge promotion?
1. The potential PR blowback: Associating publicly with the president comes with its own risks. Says one source, it would “‘kill recruitment’ for the firms to be publicly associated with representing the polarizing president and jeopardize the firms’ relationships with other clients.” “Do I want to be associated with this president and his policies?,” one lawyer asked.
2. Conflicts of interest: Some mentioned potential conflicts with, for example, the financial institutions that have “already received subpoenas relating to potential money-laundering issues that are part of the investigation.”
3. Trump doesn’t pay, or listen: From the Yahoo report: “The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,’” said one lawyer.”
And as a bonus, here’s a “frequent informal advisor to the White House,” speaking to Axios about Kasowitz:
“There are some people who believe he’s the right choice, because he knows the President. And in something like this, it’s good to have somebody you know and trust and can tell you: ‘I’ve got your back.’ On the other hand, there are people in the building who say that Kasowitz brings out the worst in the President. Kasowitz is a bit of an enabler and spins him up.”