The Note: All the president’s men line up against special prosecutor

Trump is shuffling his legal team.

ByABC News
July 21, 2017, 7:15 AM


  • It's quite the round robin of investigations: Special counsel Robert Mueller is digging into President Donald Trump's business dealings, Bloomberg reported a day after Trump told The New York Times if Mueller does so, it's crossing a red line.
  • Trump's attorneys and aides are investigating Mueller's team in hopes of uncovering any conflicts of interests to undercut the Russia probe, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported.
  • Trump has also been asking about his authority to pardon his associates, his family and even himself, The Washington Post said.
  • Meanwhile, Trump is shuffling his legal team: Ty Cobb takes the lead from Marc Kasowitz, while spokesman Mark Corallo resigned Thursday night.
  • And the tension will continue: After Trump criticized him in the New York Times interview, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he's not going anywhere ... "so long as it's appropriate."
  • A new addition to the Trump team: Trump is expected to announce Wall Street's Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    Call it a reshuffling, or a shakeup, or a simple expansion of the team. Just don't call it an effective new strategy, not until certain other behaviors are moderated or changed altogether. Moving people around in the communications operation and the legal team suggests that President Trump's problems have stemmed from either the communications or legal advice he's getting. But it's his own behavior – from hiring Michael Flynn to firing James Comey, denouncing the special counsel's "witch hunt" and slamming the nation's three top law enforcement officials – that lie at the heart of the swirling controversies his aides and advisers are trying to calm. With talk of pardons and of undercutting special counsel Robert Mueller's team, not to mention his unprecedented public brushback of his own Justice Department, a president who respects no boundaries seems to be daring those investigating his activities to go further, with behavior that would not be tolerated in an underling. Bringing in new people won't make it easier for spokespeople to explain the inexplicable, or for lawyers to defend the indefensible.


    "I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction." -- Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, to Politico


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    Global warming warrior and former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday there might be a silver lining to President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," he said, citing a law of physics. "What we are seeing in the United States of America today is the biggest upsurge in favor of the climate that we have ever experienced, and it is in reaction to what President Trump has said." Gore listed U.S. governors and mayors who, in the wake of the announcement from the White House, have made their commitments to expand renewable energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions locally. "And we're seeing it around the world, where countries have doubled-down on their commitment to the Paris Agreement," he went on. During a Sirius XM town hall promoting his new movie, he added it was as if the president's announcement lit a fire under world leaders who are now saying they will meet their energy and environmental goals even faster, just to show up Trump, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks reports.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam

    Senators say Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. will get subpoenas if they skip hearing. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is threatening to issue subpoenas to compel Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. to testify before Congress if they do not cooperate with the panel's ongoing investigation and appear for a public hearing next week. "If they don't voluntarily come, they will be subpoenaed," Grassley said Thursday.

    Exxon slapped with $2 million fine for allegedly violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO. The Treasury Department announced Thursday that it has fined Exxon Mobil $2 million for allegedly violating Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO. According to a penalty filed Thursday, the president of Exxon's U.S. subsidiaries in 2014 signed eight agreements for oil and gas projects with Igor Sechin, the president of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft.

    Who is Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general under Sessions and Rosenstein? President Donald Trump's criticism Wednesday of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has cast a spotlight on the third person in this hierarchy, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. Brand, the first woman to serve as associate attorney general, was nominated by Trump in February.


    @SenJohnMcCain: I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support - unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I'll be back soon, so stand-by!

    @AmyEGardner: MUST READ -->> What John McCain learned from Ted Kennedy on challenging his own party, from @pkcapitol

    @markberman: As Trump fumes about Mueller's probe, he's told aides he's particularly disturbed Mueller can access his tax returns

    @FreedomPartners: "History is on the side of bold #TaxReform, it's time for Congress to deliver."

    @shaneharris: Pompeo: "It is difficult to imagine a stable Syria that still has Assad in power." About as close as he'll get to US policy on the regime.

    @joshrogin: Pompeo suggests regime change for North Korea, says twice U.S. will try to separate Kim from his own nuclear program. #AspenSecurity

    @jimsciutto: Asked about POTUS saying "I love Wikileaks" during the campaign, CIA's Pompeo says simply "I don't love Wikileaks"

    @brianstelter: >> @TuckerCarlson: "For God's sake, lay off Jeff Sessions, he is your friend -- one of the very few you have in Washington."

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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