In what looks like another shuffling of his legal team, President Donald Trump is reportedly hoping to add Theodore Olson, a star defense attorney who successfully represented George Bush before the Supreme Court during the Florida recount, to his legal roster, according to the Washington Post.
If the president is successful, Olson could be the fourth attorney hired by the president this month (that is, assuming all of the attorneys who have reportedly been pursued by Trump agree to join the team). The changes come as Trump has publicly complained that his legal team has been too cooperative with the Mueller probe – and as the president has sought to counter a push by former adult film actress Stephanie Clifford – aka Stormy Daniels – to have an NDA she signed shortly before the election thrown out by a judge. Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump beginning back in 2006 and ending the next year, is arguing that the agreement is invalid because Trump never signed it, and has also offered to return the $130,000 that she received from Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Olson was reportedly on Trump’s shortlist for his legal team back in May, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Mueller to be special counsel before recusing himself. As WaPo explains, Olson, 77, a former solicitor general under Bush 43, has long been considered a legal superstar and would bring deeper ties to Department of Justice and more experience on landmark cases than any of Trump’s current lawyers.
However, Olson’s hiring isn’t a sure thing: He is said to be reviewing the offer as he weighs potential conflicts with clients at his firm. Olsen has reportedly previously declined offers to join the team.
But conflicts of interest aren’t the only potential impediment: Olson recently penned a scathing editorial for Fox News where he castigated the Trump administration for issuing a brief recommending that the Supreme Court reject an appeal by families of victims of terrorism in Israel after a judgment for hundreds of millions of dollars was overturned by an appellate court. The appellate court ruled that the law under which the settlement was granted is unconstitutional. Olson questioned why the administration hasn’t instead rushed to defend the law.
Olson’s hiring would follow the addition, reported on Monday, of Joe diGenova, an occasional TV pundit who has argued that Trump is the victim of an FBI conspiracy. Trump is also reportedly in talks to hire Emmet T Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment. He has also hired Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in his successful defamation suit against Gawker media. Harder was reportedly hired to assist Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen with their actions against Stormy Daniels.
WaPo explains that the hiring of diGenova, Flood, Harder and Olson reflect a preference for “experienced lawyers “with gravitas to contend with the experienced prosecutors on Mueller’s team.”
Other attorneys reportedly under consideration have included Brendan Sullivan, Robert J. Giuffra Jr.; A.B. Culvahouse and Reid H. Weingarten.