On Monday afternoon, President Trump’s hired Joseph diGenova, a veteran Washington lawyer who has propagated the idea — shared by the president himself — that Trump is being framed by the FBI and Justice Department.
The New York Times reports that diGenova will not play a lead role in the president’s already crowded legal team. But given diGenova’s aggressive views, and, importantly, his propensity for appearing on cable television to enunciate them, it’s not surprising that Trump took a liking to him.
DiGenova, who has also represented former Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, said on Fox News in January that “there was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.”
This make-believe view matches up nicely with the president’s. Trump has repeatedly called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”
DiGenova joins a team of lawyers that has sometimes been split about the administration’s approach to the Mueller investigation. On one side of the divide is Ty Cobb, who has tended to advocate full cooperation with the investigation while assuring/misleading the president that the probe is on the verge of wrapping up any day now. He has clashed with White House counsel Don McGahn, who has been more resistant to give up documents and information to Mueller.
Then there are more truculent types like Jay Sekulow and John Dowd, the president’s personal lawyer. On Saturday morning, Dowd told the Daily Beast that Mueller should immediately abandon his investigation, then had to clarify that he was not speaking for the president.
But on Saturday night and Sunday morning, President Trump for the first time attacked Mueller directly via Twitter, making it clear, as if it wasn’t already, that he’d like to get rid of the special counsel.
On Sunday night, Cobb issued a statement claiming that, despite his weekend eruptions, President Trump was not considering firing Mueller. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley reiterated that claim on Monday afternoon.
No matter what the White House says, though, Trump looks to be spoiling for a fight. And having another voice in the room telling him exactly what he wants to hear is unlikely to mollify him.