‘Conflicts Prevent’ Two Lawyers From Joining Trump’s Team, Sekulow Says

NA/PLAME  LOCATION:  WASHINGTON, DC  DATE: 03/16/07 NEG:  maram 189122  CAPTION:  Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill Friday, March 16, 2007 — Hearing witness Victoria Toensing, left, and Joe diGenova listen to Plame's testimony.
The Washington Post/The Washington Post

Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensign, the husband and wife legal team who were expected to represent President Donald Trump in the Russia probe, will no longer do so, Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow told the New York Times Sunday.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Sekulow told the Times.

“However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters,” he added. “The president looks forward to working with them.”

The news came hours after Trump claimed on Twitter that “Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case […] though some are conflicted.”

Sekulow announced Monday that DiGenova “will be joining our legal team later this week.” CNN reported Friday that diGenova and Toensing had spoken with Trump the previous day. The Times said Trump “did not believe he had personal chemistry” with the pair.

DiGenova asserted in fiery television appearance two months before the announcement of his hiring that the FBI and Justice Department had framed Trump.

As CNN reported Friday, the pair also presented complicated conflicts of interest: Toensing represents Trump’s legal team’s former spokesperson, Mark Corallo. Corallo left the team in July of last year, and, according to a subsequent New York Times report, was concerned about potential obstruction of justice he’d witnessed while employed on Trump’s team.

Toensing also represents former Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, who, like Corallo, has spoken to special counsel Robert Mueller. And she has represented Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder who faces scrutiny for a meeting — one he claims was coincidental — with a Kremlin-linked businessman in the Seychelles in January 2017.

George Nader, a participant in the meeting who is now cooperating with Mueller, reportedly told the special counsel that it constituted an attempt to establish back-channel communications with Russia.

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