No, surprisingly, he won’t be replacing Marc Kasowitz.
The goal of Ty Cobb, a veteran Washington lawyer, is to handle the Russia issue from inside the White House, and to attempt to bring some discipline to the administration – including President Trump.
Four law firms have previously refused to take on Trump’s defense, simply because they considered him too undisciplined and obstinate to follow their advice.
Cobb will be the central in-house figure on matters related to the investigations into Russian interference in the election and the Trump campaign’s possible involvement, working closely with Trump’s outside legal team led by Marc Kasowitz and John Dowd. Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, sought to model the White House’s Russia war room in the vein of former President Bill Clinton’s operation during the investigations of his White House in the 1990s, two people familiar with the matter said.
Bannon went so far as to reach out to Lanny Davis, the Washington lawyer who acted both as Clinton’s legal adviser and aggressive spokesman. Others on the Russia-response team include lawyer Jay Sekulow, a frequent TV surrogate for Trump, and Mark Corallo, a public relations consultant.
Cobb (Yes, he’s related to the baseball player of the same name) gained experience in these matters during the Clinton administration, working with different government investigations, and has knowledge of the workings of the FBI and Justice Department.
Along with the unenviable task of trying to corral President Trump’s reckless social media habits, he will also be the public mouthpiece, speaking to congressional panels, fielding questions from special counsel Robert Mueller, and working with lawyers hired by others in the Trump camp.
Some Trump allies are concerned that the president’s biggest legal liability isn’t the suspicion about his campaign’s possible collusion with the Russian government but rather obstruction of justice charges related to his response to the investigation, including his tweets and his decision to fire FBI director James Comey.
With the hot news of the day being Trump Jr’s fantastical display of bumbling (possibly inadvertent) collusion (It was time to say it), we almost forgot that the president also drew heat to himself, and possibly made an already complicated situation worse, when he fired the FBI director in the middle of an investigation, then later undermined his own spokespeople by admitting on national television that he fired him because of the Russia investigation.
I give Mr. Cobb a week before all the “And you thought your job sucked!” memes begin to circulate.