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Donald Trump Has a Huge Problem: He Has No Lawyer

From Gage Skidmore. U.S. Congressman Andy Biggs, President of the United States Donald Trump and U.S. Congressman David Schweikert speaking with supporters at a "Keep America Great" rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona.

The case against former President Donald Trump is proceeding. Trump, who is facing federal charges relating to his handling of classified documents, will have familiar counsel – despite efforts to recruit fresh blood.

Two lawyers, each experienced Trump representatives, are expected to be at the former president’s side when he makes his first court appearance on Tuesday. “Top former federal prosecutor Todd Blanche and the former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise,” will join Trump, according to The Guardian. Yet, “Trump and his legal team spent the afternoon before his arraignment interviewing potential lawyers but the interviews did not result in any joining the team in time for Trump’s initial court appearance…after several attorneys declined to take him as a client.”

I’m not sure I blame the lawyers who declined to represent Trump – he seems unpleasant, and prone to self-inflicting damage. But then again, the charges against Trump appear to be politically tainted, and representing Trump would give an individual the opportunity to push the government to make a proper argument in a monumental and consequential case – an enticing prospect.

Donald Trump looking for a national security lawyer

Trump appears to be seeking a “specialist national security lawyer, eligible to possess a security clearance, to help [Trump] navigate the Espionage Act charges,” The Guardian reported.

The Espionage Act is a controversial law that was enacted at the onset of World War One. The law is oft-criticized as being overbroad, and has been used in the past to chill freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In many respects the law is BS, but the thing does have teeth. Trump will want someone on board who understands the intricacies of the overly applicable law.

Trump has had problems finding lawyers before

“The last-minute scramble to find a veteran trial lawyer was a familiar process for Trump, who has had difficulty hiring and keeping lawyers to defend him in the numerous federal and state criminal cases that have dogged him through his presidency and after he left the White House,” The Guardian reported.

Trump, in searching for representation that could help navigate the DOJ’s charges, interviewed several lawyers at the Trump Doral resort. Nothing panned out and Trump opted to have Kise appear. Kise and Blanche had dinner with Trump on Monday at the BLT Prime restaurant.

Who turned Donald Trump down?

One of the lawyers who rejected Trump’s offer was Howard Srebnick, who had apparently been interested in joining Trump. But Srebnick’s law partners told Srebnick he could not represent the former president.

David Markus also rejected Trump’s offer. Markus recently defended Andrew Gillum, the Florida gubernatorial candidate, on charges that he lied to the FBI and “funneled campaign contributions into his personal accounts.”

Trump also interviewed Benedict Kuehne, an attorney who was indicted in 2008 for money laundering (although the charges were eventually dropped). Kuehne is not viewed as an ideal choice to represent Trump, given that Kuehne is facing disbarment for contempt of court.

Trump is also believed to have interviewed William Barzee and Bruce Zimet, federal prosecutors from Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach respectively.   

You know, Donald Trump is guaranteed legal representation under the US constitution. He could opt for a federal public defender. He won’t of course. But I’ll conclude this article by pointing out that, despite the pervasive stigmas, public defenders are often talented practitioners with heaps of experience.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

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Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.