Sunday’s New York Times report on the conversation of two loose-lipped presidential lawyers also cited concerns among administration officials that their co-workers are wearing wires for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“The uncertainty has grown to the point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller,” The Times‘ Peter Baker and Kenneth Vogel wrote Sunday, referencing the increasing tension between factions of the White House legal team.
Ty Cobb, one the attorneys Vogel overheard loudly discussing Mueller’s investigation at Washington, DC’s BLTSteak restaurant, is, according to the Times, locked in a dispute with White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II over the extent of material that should be turned over to the Special Counsel’s Office.
Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, ostensibly limited to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has reportedly veered into such far-reaching categories as Donald Trump’s financial dealings years before his announcement for president, adding to the intensity of this dispute.
As Baker and Vogel put it, “Tension between the two comes as life in the White House is shadowed by the investigation. Not only do Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. McGahn all have lawyers, but so do other senior officials.”
Another dimension of complexity comes from White House adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has retained his own legal team in response to Mueller’s probe. Kushner has the most extensive ties with Russia of any current senior White House official. The New York Times reported in July that ex-Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, then-head of the president’s personal legal team, saw Kushner as “an obstacle.” Tensions reportedly got so bad that some on the legal team were calling for Kushner’s ouster.
Cobb’s overheard comments suggested that an unnamed lawyer who was behind “some of these earlier leaks” was among those seeking to “push Jared out.”