U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting with the National Association of Manufacturers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Pool

Trump’s strange legal team can’t seem to help itself

Given the seriousness of the Russia scandal, it’s incumbent on Donald Trump to assemble a capable and competent outside legal team to represent his interests. After all, this is a controversy that represents an existential threat to his presidency, and Trump’s fate may very well be tied to the work of these attorneys.

And given their recent track record, this should make the president and his allies rather nervous.

For example, John Dowd, who is helping lead Trump’s legal team, recently forwarded an email to journalists and government officials that “echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda” and argued that Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.” Then there’s Marc Kasowitz, another Trump lawyer, who was caught sending some unhinged messages of his own.

Yesterday, Business Insider reported that yet another member of the president’s legal team has run into related trouble.

White House special counsel Ty Cobb engaged in a lengthy email exchange in which he defended his decision to join President Donald Trump’s legal team and appeared to refer to himself and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the “adults in the room.”

The exchange on Tuesday night was with Jeff Jetton, the owner of a popular ramen restaurant in Washington, DC, who has made himself known to reporters by digging into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia – partly as an unabashed troll.

Apparently, Ty Cobb, a partner at a major DC firm and a White House special counsel, received some angry emails from a restaurateur he does not know. Instead of ignoring them, Cobb proceeded to exchange a series of messages with his antagonist, ultimately telling the angry stranger that it’s “better” for everyone when there are “more adults in the room” with Trump.

Asked later by Jetton to “set the record straight” and explain how Cobb is “justifying” his role at the White House to himself and others, Cobb replied he “can say assertively [that] more adults in the room will be better. Me and Kelly among others.”

The same article noted that Cobb got into another email argument with a different stranger on Tuesday night.

Asked about his missives, Cobb told Mother Jones’ David Corn that he “was trying to turn someone who appeared angry into a friend. And privately. My bad. This was what I believed to be a private conversation. There are many pros and talented people in the White House. I am proud to be there. It was not for public consumption but it appears I was catfished.”

That’s not even close to what “catfished” means.

I suppose the obvious question here is why Trump’s lawyers have such strange email habits, but what I find even more perplexing is that these guys have so much free time. We’re in the midst of the most serious political scandal since Watergate; a special counsel is investigating the president for, among other things, obstruction of justice; and there’s credible evidence the president’s political operation colluded with a foreign adversary to win an election.

It’s against this backdrop that three of Trump’s top lawyers have time to get into pointless email arguments with people they don’t know and forward racially charged propaganda.

Shouldn’t these guys be too busy for such nonsense?

Donald Trump and White House

Trump's strange legal team can't seem to help itself