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Former Trump Fixer Michael Cohen Is Hiring a Major Trump Critic as His Own Lawyer

July 6, 2018, 10:13 AM UTC

Longtime Donald Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen has brought in an outspoken critic of the president — a former special counsel for Bill Clinton — to help respond to a federal probe of his businesses and finances.

Lawyer and crisis manager Lanny Davis confirmed Thursday that he’s representing Cohen. Davis is the author of The Unmaking of the President 2016, in which he questions the legitimacy of Trump’s election and raises the possibility of removing Trump from office for “mental impairment.”

“Like most of America, I have been following the matter regarding Michael Cohen with great interest,” Davis said in a statement. “As an attorney, I have talked to Michael many times in the last two weeks. Then I read his words published on July 2, and I recognized his sincerity. Michael Cohen deserves to tell his side of the story — subject, of course, to the advice of counsel.”

ABC News on July 2 published excerpts from an interview with Cohen in which he rejected Trump’s description of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt.” Cohen also said he puts “family and country first,” before protecting the president.

FBI agents seized Cohen’s records in an April 9 raid of his office in Trump Tower, as well as in his home and hotel room. Cohen, who hasn’t been charged with any crimes, was intimately involved in Trump’s personal dealings, including an agreement to keep adult-film star Stormy Daniels silent about an affair she claims to have had with Trump.

Davis joins Guy Petrillo, a former federal prosecutor in New York, who is also representing Cohen.

Davis was special counsel for Clinton from 1996 to 1998 during campaign finance investigations. He later served on President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. His clients have included Pennsylvania State University in the wake of Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, as well as Martha Stewart and Washington Redskins football team owner Dan Snyder.

Chaos, Flip-Flopping

In a March 2 Bloomberg Television interview, Davis criticized Trump’s trade policy and his rapid changes in position on issues such as gun control and immigration.

“Consistency and stability, as opposed to chaos and flip-flopping every moment, every hour every day, is the problem with the Donald Trump presidency,” Davis said. “What most people, I think, in America want is a mentally, politically stable presidency, and we’re not getting that from Donald Trump.”

Davis stopped short of calling for Trump to be impeached in that interview, saying the standard for impeachment must be very high, such as the president endangering the Constitution or posing a risk to national security.

“Cohen could have lots of different reasons for hiring Davis,” said David Sklansky, a law professor at Stanford University. “But Davis is a crisis manager, not a trial lawyer. You probably don’t hire him if your main focus at the moment is preparing for a knock-down-drag-out battle in court.”

The New York Times reported Davis’s hiring earlier.