Trump’s Tortured Relationship With His Lawyers Has Been at the Root of His Most Important Scandals

From a story on by Zachary Basu headlined “Trump’s attorney-client curse”:

Former President Trump’s tortured relationship with his own lawyers has been at the root of his most consequential scandals, including two special counsel inquiries, two impeachments and — now — two indictments.

Why it matters: Trump’s history of treating lawyers like attack dogs and personal fixers — shaped by his mentorship under the infamous Roy Cohn in the 1970s — has put him in the most precarious legal jeopardy of his life.

In New York, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is expected to testify at trial in March that he arranged illegal hush money payments during the 2016 campaign at Trump’s direction.

In Miami, where Trump is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Tuesday, notes and testimony from his lawyer Evan Corcoran gave prosecutors a detailed roadmap to indict the former president in the classified documents investigations.

Zoom in: Corcoran, who remains a member of Trump’s legal team, was forced to testify after a judge determined there was sufficient evidence that Trump used Corcoran to commit a crime — a move that pierced standard attorney-client privilege.

The 37-count indictment unsealed Friday alleges that Trump’s legal team falsely certified to the Justice Department that all classified documents Trump had taken had been turned over in response to a subpoena.

Trump allegedly misled Corcoran by directing his personal aide, Walt Nauta, to move dozens of boxes containing classified records before Corcoran arrived at Mar-a-Lago to conduct a review.

Flashback: The first major investigation of Trump’s time in office found that the then-president may have obstructed justice by ordering White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn refused.

In 2019, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani worked with the president to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden — resulting in Trump’s first impeachment.

In 2020, Trump turned to a cast of conspiracy theorists and fringe legal scholars to help him try to overturn his election loss — leading to a second impeachment and a criminal probe of his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The latest: Trump interviewed new candidates to join his legal team Monday, after reportedly struggling over the weekend to find lawyers qualified — and willing — to represent him in the Southern District of Florida.

Two of Trump’s lawyers resigned the day after his indictment last week, calling it a “logical moment” to step aside because the case was filed in Florida.

Timothy Parlatore, another Trump lawyer who had resigned a month earlier, said on CNN on Friday that the departures were “surprising, and yet at the same time unsurprising” — calling it a “difficult situation.”

The bottom line: Trump is one of the most famous and wealthiest criminal defendants in the world. But his record of dragging his own lawyers into the mud has turned him into a radioactive client.

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