Now that the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia has widened to include the president himself, Donald Trump seems to have realized that he needs a much stronger legal team to watch his back — and to go up against Mueller’s all-star legal team.
Last week saw a number of major changes to the makeup of Trump’s legal team. On Thursday, the spokesperson for Trump’s team, Mark Corallo, suddenly resigned just two months after accepting the job. According to Politico, Corallo was frustrated with Trump’s team and the fighting between them.
Reports that same day also revealed that Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz is no longer leading the team. That role has been given to John Dowd, a veteran Washington defense lawyer who only joined the team in June.
So who are the members of Trump’s legal team? And do they have what it takes to keep the president out of trouble? What follows is a quick guide to the team Trump has assembled to help guide him through his current legal woes.
Marc Kasowitz: Trump’s hotheaded longtime personal lawyer
Out of all the lawyers on the president’s team, Marc Kasowitz has a relationship with Trump that runs the deepest. Kasowitz has worked for Trump for the past 15 years, representing him in several high-profile cases including the series of lawsuits against Trump University in 2016 and Trump’s 2006 defamation suit against biographer Timothy O’Brien for allegedly misrepresenting Trump’s net worth.
Given their long history, it’s no wonder Trump appointed Kasowitz to lead his team of lawyers. But last week Kasowitz was pulled from the job, and his role on the team going forward will be significantly reduced.
Even though Kasowitz likes to brag that he’s been called the toughest lawyer on Wall Street, he has little experience dealing with Justice Department or congressional investigations and is known for being quite hot-tempered. Earlier this month, he threatened a stranger in a string of profane emails that included a blunt warning to “watch your back, bitch.”
John Dowd: the team’s new leader
John Dowd, a veteran Washington defense lawyer, is the team’s new leader following last week’s shake-up. He only joined the team in June and has represented many high-profile government officials, including Sen. John McCain during a 1990 investigation known as the Keating Five scandal, in which McCain was accused of improperly meeting with federal bank regulators on behalf of a campaign contributor. McCain was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
Dowd is also known for leading a Major League Baseball investigation into former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose on gambling charges. Because of Dowd’s report, Rose was banned from the MLB for life.
A well-respected lawyer with a long history of dealing with the Justice Department, Dowd adds a much-needed boost to the team’s federal expertise.
Ty Cobb: the special counsel to the White House
Ty Cobb — who, yes, is a distant relative of the famous baseball player of the same name — is the newest member of Trump’s team. It was only announced earlier this month that he would join as special counsel to the White House. Now he’s reportedly overseeing the White House’s legal and media response to the Russia investigation.
A former federal prosecutor and partner at the multinational law firm Hogan Lovells, Cobb specialized in bribery and corruption law and congressional investigations. His addition to the team sends a clear signal of how seriously Trump is taking mounting allegations.
“He brings to the White House a lot of experience the president has not had,” Dowd, who recommended Cobb for the job, told USA Today.
Jay Sekulow: the media guru and public face of the team
Jay Sekulow has become the face of Trump’s team after regularly appearing on Fox News, CNN, and other media outlets. When he does, he always defends Trump. In an interview with CNN earlier this month, for instance, Sekulow said the president “was not aware of a meeting” between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer.
Sekulow, the chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative, Christian-based social organization, also adds a bit more experience to the mix. He’s argued 12 cases in front of the Supreme Court, including hearings on abortion rights and religious freedom. He also hosts his own radio talk show.
Michael Bowe: Kasowitz’s associate
Michael Bowe is one of Kasowitz’s partners and has worked with him for more than two decades. Like his boss, Bowe has specialized in commercial, corporate, and real estate litigation on Wall Street. He has created a name for himself by regularly appearing on cable news outlets. He frequently appears on CNBC, Fox Business News, and Bloomberg, according to his firm’s website.