Marc Kasowitz, whom President Trump tapped last month as his outside counsel to help defend him against the rapidly escalating federal Russia probe, describes himself on his firm’s website as “the toughest lawyer on Wall Street,” an “uberlitigator” and “the toughest of the tough guys.”
But that approach may not translate to success in a role of defending a sitting President against the most serious allegations in decades.
In the three weeks since being brought in by Trump, Kasowitz has already levied unfulfilled threats and reportedly bragged about convincing his new boss to fire people — actions that wouldn’t appear to help the commander-in-chief defend himself against possible obstruction of justice charges.
“He can be aggressive, he’s got that in him for sure,” John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, who has worked with and opposite Kasowitz, said of Kasowitz after Trump selected him last month.
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Kasowitz — who came of age as Trump’s personal lawyer, defending the former mogul in divorce proceedings, against fraud allegations for Trump University and in multiple real estate transactions — is notorious for his aggressive and loud style and has raised concerns among Republicans that he could do more harm than help in such a high-profile investigation — particularly with his penchant for levying large threats and never following up on them.
For example, last year, during the 2016 race, Kasowitz threatened The New York Times with a libel suit if it failed to retract a story detailing the accounts of women who alleged Trump of groping them.
The Times never retracted the story and Kasowitz never filed the suit.
And since being retained by Trump for defense during the probe, it has only taken Kasowitz a few days on the job to do something similar again.
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Following the testimony last week of James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kasowitz said he would file complaints against the former FBI Director with the Justice Department’s Inspector General and Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the ex-top G-man’s admission that he asked a friend to provide his memos of his conversations with commander-in-chief to news outlets.
Kasowitz acknowledged in an interview with Fox Business Network Friday, however, that no such complaint was likely to come any time soon because “more information has arisen.”
In addition, a report emerged last week alleging Kasowitz had bragged to his friends that he was responsible for the termination of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Kasowitz “boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing” in March of Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ProPublica reported last week.
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“This guy is going to get you,” a source told the news outlet about Kasowitz’s warning to Trump.
Bharara was fired in March — along with 45 other U.S. Attorneys who had been appointed to their positions by former President Barack Obama but stayed in the jobs after Trump was sworn in — after refusing to submit his requested resignation.
Despite his familiarity with Trump, however, Kasowitz still faces an overwhelming task of defending the President amid a rapidly expanding probe being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which is now investigating potential obstruction of justice charges — and with a client whose continued public statements about the probe have opened him up to more scrutiny .
The New York Times reported he’d told White House officials not to say anything about the probe.
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Kasowitz, who did not respond to questions from the Daily News, was pretty much the only high-profile attorney willing to take on the defense of Trump, amid the escalating federal probe, in the first place.
At least four major law firms backed away from talks with the White House to help defend Trump, citing worries that the headstrong commander-in-chief might not listen to their counsel, Yahoo News reported last Tuesday.
“The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,'” one of the lawyers familiar with the talks told Yahoo.
With News Wire Services
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