Ty Cobb, a former federal prosecutor whom President Donald Trump tapped to serve as White House point man on the Russia inquiry, is one of Washington’s best lawyers — but there’s one awkward detail for the administration.
Cobb comes to the White House from the Washington office of Hogan Lovells, the firm retained to lead the fight against the president’s travel ban.
Though Cobb himself was not involved in the ongoing litigation, his departure for the administration reveals the delicate and uncomfortable realities of elite legal practice in Washington, where former colleagues are made rivals, friends turn coat over client matters, and sterling advocates are expelled from their firms for taking up the wrong cause.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin retained the firm in February to assist a coalition of 16 states challenging the legality of the president’s executive order on refugees and migrants. The lead advocate in the case, former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, has been a partner in Hogan’s D.C. office with Cobb since 2011.
There are approximately 500 lawyers in Hogan’s D.C. office.
A spokesman for the firm told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Katyal and Cobb will have no professional relationship in the future.
“There will be no link between them at all,” he said. “Neal is a partner at Hogan Lovells representing his client’s interests to the best of his abilities. Ty will be Special Counsel to the President.”
He also said that Cobb was not involved in the travel ban litigation at any stage.
His departure from the firm will spare Hogan a startling conflict of interest. And as Jenna Greene points out for The Litigation Daily, his new position affords the firm a sure ally inside the administration, without the strain that attends representing Trump.
As special counsel, Cobb will coordinate the White House’s internal legal and media strategy respecting the Russia investigation, in much the same fashion that Lanny Davis served former President Bill Clinton as an all purpose consigliere during the tumultuous Lewinsky years.
Marc Kasowitz will continue to lead the president’s personal legal team from outside the administration.
The White House declined comment for this story.
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