President Donald Trump has a new lawyer. Emmet Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment and worked in the George W. Bush administration, has been hired as Trump’s new attorney in the latest shakeup to his legal team. Flood joins the White House staff as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continues and amid questions about whether Trump will be interviewed by Mueller as part of the probe.
Flood, 61, will replace Ty Cobb, who worked in the White House representing Trump since July 2017, the Trump administration said May 2 in a statement. “Emmet Flood will be joining the White House Staff to represent the President and the administration against the Russia witch hunt. Ty Cobb, a friend of the President, who has done a terrific job, will be retiring at the end of the month,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. “For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month.”
Flood has been working in private practice as a partner Williams & Connolly LLP since 2009, “Practicing in the areas of white collar defense, congressional investigations, federal and state agency investigations, complex civil matters and other high stakes litigation,” according to his Linkedin profile. Flood has not commented about his move to join Trump’s legal team.
Here’s what you need to know about Emmet Flood:
1. He Is Expected to Take a More ‘Adversarial Tone,’ Was in Talks to Join the White House Last Summer, but That Move Fell Through, the New York Times Says
Emmet Flood has been rumored to be joining President Donald Trump’s legal team for several months, but Trump denied that a shakeup was coming. The New York Times reported in March that Trump had met with Flood to talk about hiring him to handle matters related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump lashed out at the Times in a tweet after the report was published, writing, “The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job and……have shown conclusively that there was no Collusion with Russia..just excuse for losing. The only Collusion was that done by the DNC, the Democrats and Crooked Hillary. The writer of the story, Maggie Haberman, a Hillary flunky, knows nothing about me and is not given access.”
The Times broke the story on May 2 that Flood would in fact be joining the White House staff. The Times also reports that Flood almost joined Trump’s team last summer, but the talks fell through because Flood did not want to work with Trump’s longtime New York lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, who is no longer working on the special counsel matter. Flood joining and Cobb retiring is the latest change for Trump’s legal team. John Dowd, Trump’s lead lawyer in the case, quit earlier this year and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani recently came on board with the goal of negotiating an interview with Mueller.
“Some people have talked about a possible 12-hour interview. If it happens, that’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you that. It’d be, max, two to three hours around a narrow set of questions,” Giuliani told The Washington Post on Wednesday, not long after the hiring of Flood was announced. “We’ve been talking about this. We are going to ask for a narrowing of the questions… we’d like to know more about what they have, if anything… They are going to need to narrow, to a great extent, the questions. The president let us know he had Emmet coming for an interview and we talked it through. Jay (Sekulow) had the most to do with it. Jay felt he need someone that more aggressive.”
The Times reports, “Mr. Flood is expected to take a more adversarial approach to the investigation than Mr. Cobb, who had pushed Mr. Trump to strike a cooperative tone.” Flood is also expected to have a better relationship with White House counsel Donald McGahn than Cobb did. According to The Times, Cobb, a white-collar lawyer, was not a Trump supporter and didn’t view himself as being part of that team. He also “rushed to turn records over to Mr. Mueller,” which McGahn thought Cobb should have more thoroughly reviewed, The Times reports. Flood is expected to succeed McGahan as White House counsel, according to reports.
A source familiar with the legal team told The Washington Post that Flood, “feels strongly that this whole investigation is essentially an attempt to undermine an election,” and “he doesn’t like the idea of an independent counsel.”
Cobb told The Times, “It has been an honor to serve the country in this capacity at the White House. “I wish everybody well moving forward.”
2. Flood Was Part of the Team That Represented Bill Clinton During His Impeachment Proceedings & His Law Firm Represented Hillary Clinton in the Email Scandal
Emmet Flood, who is a Republican, was part of the team of lawyers who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. According to the New York Times, “he did not have a high-profile role, Mr. Flood did attend the Senate’s deposition of Mr. Clinton’s lawyer and confidant, Vernon E. Jordan Jr.”
“We can’t yet know what his plan is, but we do know that Flood represented Clinton during his legal battles. And we also know that Clinton was subpoenaed, and Clinton eventually submitted to an interview which caused Ken Starr to pull back the subpoena. So we don’t actually know how Emmet Flood is going to want to play this,” Above the Law executive editor Elie Mystal wrote. “Still, it’s Donald Trump. We should already know that he will be willing to do anything to save himself and keep himself in power. He doesn’t care about the Constitution. He doesn’t care about the justice system. He’s likely willing to use all of his power to protect himself.”
Flood’s work with Bill Clinton is not his only connection to the family that has been Trump’s chief rival for the past three years. His law firm, Williams & Connolly LLP, has represented Hillary Clinton, including in matters related to the email server controversy, according to Fox News. Sources told Reuters that Williams & Connolly turned down a chance to represent Trump as outside counsel, possibly because of its Clinton ties.
3. He Worked for the Bush Administration for 2 Years, ‘Formulating & Executing (Its) Response to More Than 700 Congressional & Other Investigations
Flood left Williams & Connolly in 2007 to become special counsel and deputy counsel to President George W. Bush, according to his biography on the firm’s website.
“The House and Senate had newly-elected Democratic majorities, and Mr. Flood was charged with formulating and executing the White House and wider Administration response to more than 700 Congressional and other investigations and inquiries addressed to the Executive Branch. Mr. Flood also coordinated internal White House response strategy among the counsel, communications, and legislative affairs offices, and joint responses for the White House and Cabinet departments and agencies,” the firm’s website says.
While working in the White House, Flood worked on the administration’s response to the investigation into Bush’s controversial firing of seven U.S. attorneys. He also represented then-Vice President Dick Cheney during the Valerie Plame scandal. Flood continued to work with Bush after he left the White House, representing him in “executive privilege-related disputes involving the House Judiciary Committee and Obama administration after President Bush left office.”
4. Flood, a Chicago Area Native, Is a Yale Law School Graduate, Clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia & Started His Career at Williams & Connolly in 1994
Emmet T. Flood is an Illinois native. He was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs, according to his bio on the Williams & Connolly website. He attended St. Mary’s Riverside elementary and middle school and Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois, according to his Linkedin profile. He then attended the University of Dallas, graduating with a philosophy degree in 1978. He completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and was a post-doctoral fellow at Wesleyan University from 1987 to 1988. He then attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1991.
“Mr. Flood clerked for Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Supreme Court of the United States before joining Williams & Connolly LLP in 1994,” the law firm’s website says. He left the firm in 2007 to work in the Bush administration.
Flood returned to Williams & Connolly LLP in 2009 as a partner after his time in the Bush administration ended. According to the firm’s website, “Emmet Flood represents individuals, corporations and professional services firms in complex white-collar matters, Congressional investigations, professional liability disputes, and other high-stakes litigation and crisis situations. He has tried criminal and civil cases in state and federal courts and in arbitration, and has represented clients in investigations conducted by grand juries, Independent Counsel and Special Counsel, multiple federal agencies, state agencies and attorneys general, and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.”
Additionally, “In his civil practice, Mr. Flood has served as lead plaintiffs’ counsel in trial court matters involving trusts and estates, ERISA, takings, and professional malpractice, and as defense counsel in complex commercial, securities, professional liability, regulatory and tax matters. He has represented religious institutions in litigation involving the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise clauses, and has handled many domestic and international arbitrations and related litigation. Mr. Flood has also argued numerous appeals in federal and state appellate courts.”
Flood advised former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell when McDonnell and his wife were under federal investigation over gifts they had received during his time in office. He also represented former Vice President Dick Cheney in the civil suit brought against him by former CIA employee Valerie Plame. His other clients include Cameron International, ” the oil well blowout-preventer manufacturer,” which he represented “in government investigations and Congressional inquiries relating to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill,” Ernst & Young and KPMG. He is a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, its website says.
Flood, who is married, was a donor to the Catholic Charities Legal Network in 2017, according to its annual report.
5. He Has Drawn Praise From Trump Critics, Including Former Obama Ethics Czar Norm Eisen, Who Says the Battle With Mueller Will be a ‘Fight for the Age’s
A source familiar with the legal team told The Washington Post that Flood’s hiring comes because the investigation has reached a pivot moment. Cobb had been tasked with leading the White House’s efforts to turn over documents in response to requests from Mueller, but the team is now preparing for a showdown with Mueller.”“You had the discovery phase, and now you’re entering the litigation phase. Who do you want on your side if Mueller decides to subpoena the president? You want to have your wartime consigliere. Emmet is a quintessential wartime consigliere,” the source told The Post.
Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has defended the president on cable TV, told Politico the addition of Flood shows that the WHite House is “preparing for battle,” and said the move could indicate more “posturing” from Trump’s legal team.
Flood has a top reputation in D.C. and has even draw praise from Trump critics. Norm Eisen, a lawyer who was Obama’s ethics czar, tweeted Wednesday, “Fasten your seat belts folks. It’s war. I know Emmet—in fact, he briefed me during the Bush to Obama transition when I was coming in as special counsel & he was headed out. He’s one of the very best. This will be a fight for the ages.”
In March, when it was first reported that Flood was considering joining the team, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted, “Emmet Flood is top notch. He might feel out of place.”