9 Reasons Why President Trump Is Having Trouble Retaining Lawyers

Since Donald Trump took office, there have been many changes. Some say the White House is downright chaotic these days with people leaving — and being fired. It appears that President Trump is also having trouble hiring some people — in particular, lawyers.

Dive in and discover which lawyers said no to working for Donald Trump — and why — then decide for yourself if the current administration is in more trouble than the public thought.

1. Ted Olson says no

George W. Bush lawyer Ted Olsen and his wife, Lady. | Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME

Ted Olson worked for George W. Bush as his solicitor general. Recently, according to HuffPost, Donald Trump extended him an offer to join his legal team to represent Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian election interference investigation. Olson turned Trump down.

Next: Why Olson said no

2. Chaos and turmoil in the White House didn’t appeal to Olson

Trump signs tax reform bill

Olsen wants nothing to do with the turmoil in the White House. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Why did Olson turn down the opportunity to serve under another president? Apparently, the “turmoil” and “chaos” in the White House isn’t his cup of tea, according to HuffPost. In addition, Olson implied other attorneys aren’t champing at the bit to work for the president.

“I think everybody would agree this is turmoil, it’s chaos, it’s confusion, it’s not good for anything,” said Olson. “We always believe that there should be an orderly process, and of course, government is not clean or orderly ever. But this seems to be beyond normal.”

Next: Trump saves face.

3. Here’s what Trump had to say


Trump is hard at work.

Trump feels confident that he can find a new lawyer. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

When Trump said that “many lawyers and law firms want to represent me” for “fame and fortune,” he must not have meant Ted Olson. When Twitter followers heard about Olson turning Trump down, Trump urged them not to believe “fake news.” Trump’s story? He said he decided not to hire new lawyers to represent him against Mueller because they would need time “get up to speed.” In addition, Trump declared he was “happy” with his present team.

Here’s what Trump tweeted: “Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.”

Next: Another one bites the dust.

4. John Dowd resigned

John Dowd left because Trump wasn’t following his legal advice. | Yana Paskova/Getty Images

In March 2018, John Dowd, Trump’s lead attorney on the Mueller investigation, resigned. He left his post because Trump wasn’t planning on following his legal advice regarding the Mueller probe, according to The New York Times. Trump wanted to be questioned in the inquiry, and Dowd thought it was too risky. This isn’t the first time Trump has had to reshuffle his legal team — when Dowd left it was just one more employee that went through what seems like a revolving door at the White House.

Next: Other reasons lawyers have said no.

5. More lawyers say no

Washington DC in Spring

Most of Washington’s top law firms have already turned the president down. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

During the summer of 2017, Donald Trump tried to hire some of Washington’s top lawyers to represent him, according to The New York Times, but he didn’t have much luck. Many said no based on the of the president’s history of ignoring his lawyers’ advice, not to mention his reputation for not paying his legal bills. When the top lawyers that Trump approached said no, he was left with a pool of attorneys who were considered past their prime and ones who had gained reputations from making media news as opposed to their legal work.

Next: Other reasons lawyers have said no.

6. Add five large firms to the “no” list

Stern judge about to bang gavel on sounding block in the court room

Few law firms seem to want to take on the risk of representing Trump. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

According to CNN, on March 28, 2018, five large law firms said no to working for Trump. Besides Trump being a difficult client who refuses to follow his lawyers’ advice, the firms stated other reasons, including the fact that he’s so unpopular that it might damage the firms’ reputations. And the firms’ corporate client might leave them if they represented the president.

Next: More “no thank you” replies

7. Big-name lawyers say no

Bill Clinton addresses Lewinsky Scandal

One of Bill Clinton’s lawyers has turned down Trump. | Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images

No is not a word Trump likes, but he has been hearing it from many attorneys. According to CNN, he also asked the following lawyers to join his team:

  • Robert Bennett, Bill Clinton’s attorney in the Paula Jones litigation
  • Bob Giuffra, a New York litigator with the firm Sullivan & Cromwell
  • William Burck, who today counsels Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and White House counsel Donald McGahn as Mueller witnesses
  • Attorneys from the law firm Kirkland & Ellis
  • Trial lawyer Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson

All of the above declined Trump’s offer.

Next: Renouncements

8. Two lawyers actually said yes, but Trump’s lawyer said no

Jay Sekulow (with Mitt Romney) vetoed these high-powered lawyers. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Donald Trump wanted to add Washington lawyers Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing to his team and they actually agreed, but he will not be hiring the married legal team after all. According to Donald Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, diGenova and Toensing have “conflicts that won’t allow them to represent the president regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.” This came right after the team was appointed.

Next: This White House lawyer didn’t last.

9. Ty Cobb is gone now

White House

The White House’s lead lawyer Ty Cobb has moved on. | Idesignimages/iStock/Getty Images

Ty Cobb joined the White House legal team in July 2017 and was the lead lawyer working on the Trump-Russia case, but he too has left his job. CNN reported that Cobb and Trump had clashed over the Russia investigation. Emmet Flood, who previously represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings, as well as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, has joined the White House staff.

Read more: These Are the Presidents Donald Trump Hates Most, Including Barack Obama

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