Trump's outmanned legal team faces another major obstacle — getting his top lawyers security clearances.
Ever since Trump’s top defense lawyer, John Dowd, abruptly resigned in frustration that his client wouldn’t take his advice, Trump’s understaffed legal team has been careening from one crisis to another.
Now, with special counsel Robert Mueller closing in, and raising the possibility of subpoenaing Trump to demand answers to the yearlong Russia investigation, it turns out Trump’s remaining attorneys don’t even have the proper security clearance needed to broker a deal with Mueller’s team.
“Donald Trump’s current team of lawyers lacks the security clearances needed to discuss sensitive issues related to a possible presidential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Bloomberg reports. “When Dowd quit in March over disagreements with Trump on legal strategy, Jay Sekulow became the lead lawyer on the investigation and is still waiting for his clearance.”
Sekulow isn’t even a criminal defense attorney. His background is arguing freedom of religion cases. Rudy Giuliani recently joined Trump’s team, but he’s not a criminal defense attorney either.
The rather stunning security clearance revelation indicates Trump’s outmanned legal team may not be up to the daunting challenge of defending him.
To date, at least one dozen prominent, white-collar attorneys have refused offers to help defend Trump.
Attorneys apparently don’t want to work for, and risk ruining their reputations for, clients who disrespect them publicly, refuse to take their legal advice, and have a habit of not paying their bills.
The security clearance revelation also comes as the White House’s attempted stalling game with Mueller appears to be running out of time.
Ever since last winter, Mueller has been pressing for an interview with Trump, which presents all kinds of dangers for a man who cannot tell the truth.
For months, Trump’s attorney’s have reportedly been trying to limit the scope or any potential interview, and even alternatively arguing Trump’s simply too busy to be bothered with a formal Q&A about his possible involvement with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign.
But ignoring Mueller simply won’t be an option. His team is examining a wide array of troublesome topics, as the leaked list of his questions from Monday reveals.
If Trump refuses, Mueller has signaled he’s willing to issue a subpoena for a grand jury appearance in order to get answers.
Meanwhile, Trump’s top attorney is awaiting his security clearance.