A new report from The Washington Post reveals an ongoing struggle to secure a solid legal team for former President Donald Trump amid the federal investigation into his handling of critical government records.
That investigation recently led to the high-profile raid of Trump’s southern Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago, where he’s largely resided since exiting the presidency. Trump’s team previously provided records to U.S. authorities after the documents were improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago, but a substantial amount remained. According to an official listing of items seized from the resort during the search, agents recovered nearly a dozen sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and sensitive compartmented information — some of the most closely guarded information in the U.S. government. Now, the status of Trump’s legal team is in flux, even as the former president faces potential criminal exposure.
An attachment to the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search identified a few particular federal laws in a list of potential violations. One was the Espionage Act, which concerns matters that could impact national security (not just espionage). A prominent Republican lawyer, who goes unnamed in the report, told the Post regarding the search for new lawyers for Trump: “Everyone is saying no.” Per the same report from the Post, “Longtime confidants and advisers of Trump have grown extremely worried about Trump’s current stable of lawyers, noting that most of them have little to no experience in cases of this type, according to two people familiar with the internal discussions.”
As one so-called confidant of the former president put it, discussing the state of Trump’s legal team: “This is not good… Something big is going to pop. Somebody needs to be in charge.” Yet, the former president is “struggling” with lawyers, as the Post summarizes the situation. The divisiveness associated with anything connected to Trump is certainly a relevant factor, but issues continue from there.
Past incidents show Trump also won’t necessarily follow the advice of his legal counsel, and he also has a history of sometimes evading his bills. One lawyer identified by the Post as turning down the chance to represent Trump is Jon Sale, who worked on the prosecution team during Watergate — but Sale cited scheduling issues. The Post said some of those involved in searching for new legal counsel for Trump include Trump adviser Susie Wiles, current Trump attorney Christina Bobb, and former campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn. Besides Bobb, Trump is currently represented by another lawyer based in Florida, Lindsey Halligan — who doesn’t appear to have any experience in federal court whatsoever. Alina Habba, another attorney for Trump, who is based out of Bedminster, New Jersey, near Trump’s golf property there, has experience including service as a general counsel at a parking garage company.
Trump’s legal team features at least a couple folks with federal experience who themselves used to work at the Justice Department. Former prosecutors Evan Corcoran and James Trusty are both now involved with the Trump defense, and John Rowley, another former prosecutor, has also done recent work for the former president. These former prosecutorial attorneys don’t seem to be running everything. It was Bobb — a former host on the far-right media outlet called One America News — who signed for the listing from the FBI of what agents took during the recent raid.