White House lawyer Cobb steps down: "Ty was uncomfortable with the Mueller tweets"

Emmet Flood — who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings — has been tapped to replace Ty Cobb

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published May 2, 2018 2:54PM (EDT)

Ty Cobb (YouTube/CBS News)
Ty Cobb (YouTube/CBS News)

Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer who has been a key player in managing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, is slated to leave his job at the end of May.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement on Wednesday after The New York Times first broke the news.

“For several weeks, Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement. And, last week, he let chief of staff [John] Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month,” Sanders said.

According to The New York Times, Emmet Flood — who represented former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings — has been tapped to fill Cobb's shoes. The report notes, however, that a replacement has not been finalized.

Cobb joined the White House's legal team in July 2017. Flood initially turned down the position that Cobb assumed, according to Reuters.

Cobb told The New York Times that he notified Trump about his plans to retire weeks ago and that he plans on assisting Flood’s transition.

“It has been an honor to serve the country in this capacity at the White House,” he told the Times. “I wish everybody well moving forward.”

However, there may be more behind Cobb’s pending departure. The lawyer reportedly clashed with Trump over his erratic outbursts aimed at Mueller, according to CNN.

"Ty was uncomfortable with the Mueller tweets," a source told the network.

As the Times noted, it’s unclear what motivates Flood to work with Trump’s legal team, one that has been inflicted with turnover. In mid-April, Trump recruited former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and two additional former federal prosecutors. Those onboardings followed the resignation of John Dowd in March, who reportedly disagreed with Trump on whether or not the president should have a voluntary interview with Mueller — and released a questionable statement calling for Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to end the investigation.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country, and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said in an interview with The Washington Post, following the news.

Recently, Cobb told ABC News that an interview with Mueller was still under consideration.

"It's certainly not off the table, and people are working hard to make decisions and work towards an interview," Cobb said on ABC's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "And assuming that can be concluded favorably, there'll be an interview. Assuming it can't be . . . assuming an agreement can't be reached, you know then it'll go a different route."

According to Bloomberg, who spoke to two sources familiar with the matter, one reason why there has been a lot of upheaval on Trump’s legal team is because some individuals have lacked the proper security clearances needed to engage in discussions about sensitive material. Jay Sekulow is reportedly still awaiting his clearance.

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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