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President Donald Trump’s legal team has been having difficulties not just with the caseload stemming from the ongoing Russia investigation, but also with controlling their client, according to a Washington Post report Thursday.
After a meeting in which lawyers advised Trump to avoid a particular subject, the newspaper reported, he tweeted about it before they even got back to their office.
Trump has frequently been at odds with close advisers, even after seeking their advice, as was evident during his 2016 presidential campaign, in which his use of social media sometimes ruffled feathers in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
“It’s my voice,” Trump said of his Twitter use, according to an article published Tuesday in The New York Times Magazine. “They want to take away my voice. They’re not going to take away my social media.”
Trump hired his outside counsel after the investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election began. Nearly two months after Trump hired his legal team, it is having difficulty keeping up with its client, who habitually strays from legal norms and candidly voices his thoughts on Twitter, The Post said, citing six people familiar with the matter.
Specifically, infighting between Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s legal counsel was also said to be brewing inside the White House, according to The Post.
Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is also a central figure in the ongoing Russian investigation. After reports that he attempted to establish a back-channel line of communication with Russia, he further became a target of scrutiny this week when Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged having participated in a meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016 on the premise that he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Kushner was present at the meeting.
The atmosphere has become so toxic that staff members have been distrustful of one another, especially after news of Trump Jr.’s meeting surfaced. For instance, Marc Kasowitz, the head of Trump’s private legal team, was irritated at Kushner’s “whispering in the president’s ear” about stories on the Russia investigation without telling the lawyers, The New York Times reported this week.
But not all of Trump’s legal team characterized the atmosphere inside the White House in negative terms. “The legal teams have worked together smoothly and professionally from the start,” said Michael Bowe, a member of the legal team.
“Stuff is moving fast and furious,” one source familiar with the legal teams told The Post. “The tensions are just the tensions that would normally exist between two groups of lawyers starting to work together and struggling with facts that we don’t all know yet.”