President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and notorious attack dog Michael Cohen — well-known largely due for his intense, combative nature, second only to his boss — will reportedly serve as Trump’s personal attorney during the 45th President’s tenure in office.
The Washington Post reports Cohen made the announcement on Thursday, saying he will defend Trump in a personal capacity, outside both the Trump Organization and a formal position with the White House Counsel’s Office. Cohen told the newspaper he was leaving the Trump Organization, where has spent the last decade, to avoid any “perceived conflict.”
“I’m not a government official. I’m not taking a government salary,” Cohen told The Post. “I’m just going to continue technically in the role that I play for Mr. Trump as president of the Trump Organization. I’m just going to be doing it for Donald Trump as president of the United States.”
While exact details of the position still appear to need some ironing out, Cohen said he absolutely expects to take over Trump’s defense in the recently filed defamation lawsuit brought by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos. LawNewz.com reported that Zervos’ attorney, the high-profile and also notoriously combative Gloria Allred, is now seeking donations to help fund that lawsuit against Trump.
A courtroom showdown between Allred and Cohen might be a must-see event for legal observers. In The Post interview, Cohen appeared to signal a bit of how he plans to handle that case, describing it as “baseless.” He added, “What’s the defense to defamation? Truth. [Mr. Trump] had no relationship with this woman, and the allegations are false.”
Past presidents, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama maintained private legal counsel outside of an official position as well. Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, defended him in the civil lawsuit filed by Paula Jones. Kendall became a regularly heard name for close 2016 campaign election watchers due to his role in advising Hillary Clinton related to her email issues. However, Kendall always maintained a more behind the scenes presence. Cohen, on the other hand, has been much more in your face in his defense of Trump.
One of the best examples of Cohen’s highly combative style can be found in an interview from August 2016 with CNN anchor/reporter Briana Keilar.
This clip quickly went viral and became a hit for the remainder of the election season. Cohen has also been the focus of other reports that he was highly combative in interviews with journalists that sought comment on stories unfavorable to the Trump campaign.
[image via screengrab]