Let me note something about this afternoon’s news that Paul Manafort is switching out his legal team. Pay attention to some key parts of the rather brief announcement. The statement by spokesman Paul Maloni says that Manafort is “in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation” and that “as of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort.”
Now, perhaps I’m reading too much into this. But this means that Manafort terminated his relationship with WilmerHale – or vice versa, who knows? – before actually retaining new counsel. Note the statement says that Manafort is “in the process of retaining” this new firm. This isn’t a case of a functioning business switching law firms. Manafort is in the mix of a very serious and very aggressive probe in which investigators appear to be moving quickly to force his cooperation. You really wouldn’t want to be without counsel in a situation like that for more than the better part of a day.
I’m sure Manafort will get these new folks signed up soon. But the wording of this statement suggests a less than orderly hand off. I bet there’s a story there, though I can’t say what it is.