How Jay Sekulow Keeps Surviving Trump's Legal Team Purges
When it comes to tumult, President Donald Trump's legal team has known its fair share.
Less than a year ago, New York attorney Marc Kasowitz was helming the team—and making headlines for telling a stranger who emailed him about Rachel Maddow's show to “watch your back, bitch.” He departed July 21, 2017.
In the months since then, lawyers have come and gone. John Dowd, a veteran white collar defense attorney, came aboard as lead lawyer for the president on June 16, 2017, and departed on March 22 of this year. Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer tasked with overseeing document production and interviews for special counsel Robert Mueller, is set to leave later this month. And husband-and-wife pair Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova were on the cusp of joining the president's legal team until, well, they weren't.
But through all that, one person has remained a consistent presence: Jay Sekulow, a lawyer best known for championing social conservative causes at the Supreme Court.
“His Constitutional prowess, the confidence the president has in him, his steadiness, his lack of volatility, his ability to think strategically and communicate those strategies to the president are the reasons he's been such an essential member of the team,” Cobb told The Daily Beast.
Sekulow gets the most attention for his media appearances; he's a mainstay on Fox News, where he defends the president and lambasts his critics. He also hosts a daily radio show, which he spends several hours preparing for. Sekulow doesn't have experience with white collar criminal law, and is viewed in some corners as a television figurehead. Conservative movement leaders who know him speculated to The Daily Beast that his role on the president's legal team must be primarily cosmetic.
But people familiar with the president's legal team said Sekulow has played a substantial role in its actual inner workings. One source familiar with the matter said Sekulow has played an essential role in efforts to negotiate an interview between Mueller and Trump.
“There's never been a discussion about an interview that didn't include Jay,” the source said.
Sekulow told The Daily Beast that the president's legal team is still working to determine its final advice for Trump on sitting for an interview with Mueller.
“There's a full legal team in place now that's doing a full evaluation of the case, and we'll make a recommendation to the president,” he said.
John Dowd, formerly on the president's outside legal team, told The Daily Beast that Mueller and his team raised 16 issues they wanted to talk about with the president, and that Sekulow and the lawyers working under him played a central role in writing up a response to those queries.
“They raised 16 issues with us they wanted to talk to the president about, and we addressed it in writing, wrote them back,” Dowd said, “and we also laid out why they were not entitled to talk to the president: Article 2, Espy, on and on.”
The following month, Trump tweeted another ACLJ post titled, “Pastor Saeed's Wife Expresses Gratitude to Donald Trump for Raising Her Husband's Plight.” Years later, the pastor would say that he had a vision while in solitary confinement in Iran that Trump would become president and that they would be friends.
Posted on 05/11/2018
See more at: The Daily Beast