The Defense Lawyers On Mueller’s Probe

In the months since former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 election, over a dozen former and current White House and Trump campaign aides have lawyered up. Some of the lawyers have even hired lawyers.

Below, Big Law Business has compiled a round-up of the defense attorneys known to be working on the probe. Feel free to tip us to changes in this list as it develops at biglawbusiness@bna.com.

Representing President Donald Trump

John Dowd

John Dowd, attorney for Raj Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon Group LLC, arrives at Federal court in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
John Dowd, outside New York federal court in 2010. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

  • Joined Trump’s legal team in June 2017 and is now reportedly taking the lead as the President’s personal lawyer.
  • Dowd is a former partner at Akin Gump, where he defended hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam on charges of insider trading (Rajaratnam was convicted and sentenced to prison in 2011).
  • Notable public service client: Dowd represented Senator John McCain in the “Keating Five” congressional ethics inquiry in the 1990s, in which the senator was cleared of any wrongdoing.

 

Jay Sekulow

Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), during his radio show broadcast from the Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Thursday, August 9, 2007. (Photo by Gary C. Knapp/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Jay Sekulow, during a radio show broadcast from the Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2007. (Photo by Gary C. Knapp/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
  • Sekulow is chief counsel for the conservative, Christian-based legal advocacy group American Center for Law and Justice.
  • He has appeared before the Supreme Court more than ten times, most frequently defending conservative parties in First Amendment cases, according to his website.
  • He is the host of Jay Sekulow Live!, a syndicated daily radio program.

Marc Kasowitz

Marc Kasowitz, lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Kasowitz said Comey had revealed himself as part of a group of people in the government "who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications," by acknowledging he asked a friend to tell a reporter the contents of a memo he wrote documenting a conversation with Trump. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
Marc Kasowitz arrives to a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
  • Founding partner of Kasowitz Benson Torres.
  • Kasowitz took a step back from his prominent role in the investigation in July, after he sent a series of threatening emails to a stranger who contacted him about a negative ProPublica story. He also had friction with White House advisor Jared Kushner, according to the New York Times.
  • He has represented Trump numerous times in the past, including during his high-profile divorce proceedings from Trump’s first wife, Ivana.

 

Michael Cohen

Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, from left, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, speak in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had the "highest confidence" in the intelligence community, in sharp contrast to President-elect Donald Trump's attack on the CIA after reports it found that the Russian government tried to help him win the presidency. Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, from left, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, speak in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg
  • Before representing President Trump at the White House, Cohen was executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump.
  • He previously worked as a partner at Phillips Nizer.
  • Cohen is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also probing Russian involvement in the 2016 election, in late October.

 

Representing the White House

Donald McGahn

Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • McGahn served as Trump’s campaign counsel during the 2016 campaign.
  • He was previously a partner at Jones Day.
  • McGahn served as a member of the Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013, during which time he played a key role in loosening regulations on campaign spending.

 

Ty Cobb

Denver corporate attorney Ty Cobb in the offices of his law firm, Hogan & Hartson, 1200 17th St., Denver, Friday morning, 1/16/04. Cobb is a distant relative of baseball legend Ty Cobb. (The Denver Post / Jerry Cleveland) Ty Cobb, 303-899-7390 (Photo By Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Denver corporate attorney Ty Cobb in the offices of his law firm, Hogan & Hartson, 1200 17th St., Denver, in 2004. Cobb is a distant relative of baseball legend Ty Cobb. (Photo By Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
  • Was brought to the White House in July to help coordinate the response to Mueller’s investigation.
  • Cobb joined from Hogan Lovells, where he was a partner in the firm’s white collar and investigations practice.
  • In September, after he and John Dowd were overheard by a New York Times reporter “casually and loudly” discussing the Russia investigation, Cobb’s behavior was criticized by legal ethics experts as inappropriate.

 

Representing Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen

Stephen Ryan

An advisor for Erik Prince, Chairman, the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater asks for a minute to confer with Prince during testifimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., private security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan on Oct. 2, 2007. Photographer: Bill Putnam/Bloomberg News
Stephen Ryan, then advisor for Erik Prince, Chairman, the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater, asks for a minute to confer with Prince during testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in 2007.
Photographer: Bill Putnam/Bloomberg News
  • Ryan is a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, where he provides lobbying, litigation, and counseling work to highly-regulated companies.
  • Cohen announced that he had retained Ryan in June.
  • Ryan has held numerous jobs in the federal government, including serving as general counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

 

Representing White House counsel Donald McGahn

William Burck

This is a courtroom artist sketch of Kevin Gruineich, left, being cross-examined by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Burck in federal court in New York during the Martha Stewart trial, February 19, 2004. Artist: Shepard/ Bloomberg News.
This is a courtroom artist sketch of Kevin Gruineich, left, being cross-examined by then Assistant U.S. Attorney William Burck in federal court in New York during the Martha Stewart trial, February 19, 2004. Artist: Shepard/ Bloomberg News.
  • Burck is co-managing partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Washington, D.C. office.
  • He served as Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush.
  • He also spent several years in the Southern District of New York, where he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

 

Representing Vice President Mike Pence

Richard Cullen

(Courtesy photo)
  • Cullen is the chairman of McGuire Woods, where he is a senior litigation partner.
  • He previously served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and then as Attorney General of Virginia.
  • He was a member of George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 election recount in Florida.

 

Representing senior adviser Jared Kushner

Abbe Lowell

GettyImages-468396328
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) listens as his attorney Abbe Lowell speaks outside the federal court after he was indicted on corruption charges on April 2, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
  • Lowell is co-head of regulations, investigations, securities and compliance at Norton Rose Fulbright.
  • He has represented a slew of public officials, including John Edwards.
  • Lowell served as chief minority counsel during the House impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

 

Jamie Gorelick

Jamie Gorelick, former commissioner for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, testifies during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee July 23, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Jamie Gorelick, former commissioner for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, testifies during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee July 23, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Gorelick is a partner at WilmerHale, where she chairs its regulatory and government affairs department.
  • In July, Gorelick announced her plans to remove herself from legal matters related to the Russia investigation, leaving Lowell in charge.
  • Formerly, she was a Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, general counsel at the Department of Defense, and member of the 9/11 commission.

 

Representing Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Charles ‘Chuck’ Cooper

  • Cooper is the founding member and chairman of Cooper & Kirk.
  • Before starting his own practice, he was a partner at McGuire Woods and Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge.
  • In the 1980s, Cooper served as assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel under the Reagan administration.

 

Representing Donald Trump, Jr.

Alan Futerfas

  • Futerfas is a white collar defense attorney with his own practice in New York City.
  • He has a history of representing clients with alleged ties to organized crime, including the Gambino, Genovese and Colombo crime families.
  • He is currently defending several clients facing cyber crime charges of hacking into banks and bank accounts.

 

Representing Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort

Kevin Downing

  • Manafort hired Downing in August after dropping his previous counsel, WilmerHale’s Reginald Brown.
  • Downing left his partnership at Miller & Chevalier shortly thereafter, citing client conflicts.
  • Before joining the firm, he spent 15 years working in the the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division.

 

Representing campaign adviser Michael Caputo

Dennis Vacco

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L) and his lawyer Dennis Vacco talk to reporters after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L) and his lawyer Dennis Vacco talk to reporters after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  • Vacco is a partner at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman.
  • He was elected New York State Attorney General in 1994 and served until 1999.
  • Before that, he served as Assistant District Attorney in Erie County and as United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. 

 

Representing campaign adviser Robert Stone

Robert Buschel

  • Buschel has a private practice, Buschel Gibbons, based in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • He has previously represented Stone. 
  • In 2016, he published the novel By Silent Majority,” a political thriller about a popular president with a “big secret” that threatens to take him down.

 

Representing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks

Robert Trout

From left, attorney Robert Trout, and former Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., speak to the press outside of the Albert V Bryan U.S. Courthouse in Alexandria, VA., following Jefferson's conviction on corruption charges on Wed. Aug. 5, 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
From left, attorney Robert Trout, and former Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., speak to the press outside of the Albert V Bryan U.S. Courthouse in Alexandria, VA., following Jefferson’s conviction on corruption charges in 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
  • Trout founded his own law firm, now known as Trout Cacheris & Janis, in 1996
  • He began his legal career at the Department of Justice, where he spent two years in the Criminal Division.
  • He later served as Assistant United States Attorney in Baltimore.

 

Representing former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn

Robert Kelner

Sally Vastola, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and a longtime aide to New York Republican Representative Thomas Reynolds, right, is accompanied by Robert K. Kelner of Covington & Burling LLP, left, as she exits the Committee On Standards Of Official Conduct, (House Ethics Committee), meeting room at the U.S. Capitol as the investigation of former Congressman Mark Foley continues, Monday, October 23, 2006, in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Chris Greenberg/Bloomberg News
Robert Kelner, of Covington & Burling, accompanies Sally Vastola, then executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, at the U.S. Capitol during the investigation of former Congressman Mark Foley in 2006. Photographer: Chris Greenberg/Bloomberg News
  • Kelner is the chair of Covington’s election and political law practice.
  • He has defended numerous congressional staffers in ethics committee hearings, including the former Chief of Staff to Republican Senator John Ensign, who resigned in 2011 following an ethics investigation.
  • Other clients have included the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

 

Representing former press secretary Sean Spicer

Chris Mead

  • Mead co-founded his firm, London & Mead, in 1994.
  • Before that, he served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Baltimore for five years.
  • His clients have included former Enron executives, False Claims Act whistleblowers, government contractors, and “a nationally-elected leader of a large African country,” according to his firm bio.

 

Representing former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

William Burck*

  • Burck is co-managing partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Washington, D.C. office.
  • He served as Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush.
  • He also spent several years in the Southern District of New York, where he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
  • *Burck is also representing White House counsel Don McGahn.

Write to the reporter at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

Write to the editors at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and gabefriedman@outlook.com.