When Scandals Break, Washington Elite Turn to Williams & Connolly

The White House may turn to an old legal standby for Beltway scandals amid pressure by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

President Donald Trump is trying to hire Emmet T. Flood, the lawyer who represented former President Bill Clinton during the 1990s House impeachment hearings, The New York Times reported.

Reached via e-mail, Flood declined to comment on the Times’ story, published Saturday in which it cited four sources familiar with the matter.

The White House previously considered hiring Flood for the special counsel investigation last summer.

Following the Times’ story, there has been some speculation that Trump’s talks with “an impeachment lawyer” might indicate a fear of the House entertaining that step. Yet, no evidence has emerged to back that up.

The House, led by Trump’s fellow Republicans, has rejected calls from some on the Democratic side to initiate impeachment proceedings. But there could be more trouble for the White House if next November’s midterms result in a shift in party control.

The newspaper’s sources indicated that the potential hire doesn’t indicate “any new concerns about the inquiry.” Rather, it may simply stem from a recognition that the investigation will take a long time.

Flood is best known for representing Clinton during impeachment. But he’s made a career of representing high-profile individuals and companies charged with white collar crimes.

Flood worked in the White House counsel’s office during the final years of the George W. Bush administration, where he handled executive privilege-related matters.

Flood represented Vice President Dick Cheney in the civil suit brought by former CIA employee Valerie Plame against a number of senior Bush administration officials, and he represented former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in an investigation over gifts he and his family received while he was in office. McDonnell was convicted of honest services wire fraud, but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Flood’s work also fits in the Williams & Connolly tradition of representing public figures in high-stakes matters.

The D.C.-based litigation firm was founded in 1967 by Edward Bennett Williams, a powerhouse trial lawyer who represented U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, crime boss Frank Costello, and The Washington Post, among others.

Today, the firm’s website advertises that “the defense of individuals in highly publicized controversies – from Oliver North, to President Clinton, to Vice President Cheney – continues to be a major part of the firm’s practice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

To contact the editor on this story: Casey Sullivan at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com.