On Wednesday, it was announced that current White House attorney Ty Cobb intends to retire, opening up a slot on President Donald Trump's defense team. And if you've been following the news, you may have already heard that the spot is reportedly going to be filled ― so, you might be wondering, who is Emmet Flood, Trump's soon-to-be lawyer?
It's possible you've heard the name before, if you're a little older, and were politically aware during the administration of former president Bill Clinton. That's because Flood previously worked for Clinton, and was one of the attorneys who tried to shield him from impeachment. Clinton, for the record, ultimately was impeached by the House of Representatives, but the U.S. Senate fell short of the number of votes needed to remove him from office.
According to CNBC, it's believed that Flood will take a more aggressive posture towards the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller than Cobb did; the 67-year-old outgoing attorney had, according to many different reports, urged Trump's cooperation with the probe.
Cobbs has not retired from his post yet, to be clear. He'll reportedly remain at the White House likely through the month of May, according to The New York Times, to help ease Flood into the new job.
Flood hasn't worked for a president for years, but at least one recent White House legal mind seems to think he's a strong pick to defend Trump. Namely, Norm Eisen, an ethics lawyer under form president Barack Obama, who tweeted on Wednesday that his hiring could have a big impact.
"Fasten your seat belts folks. It’s war," Eisen tweeted. "I know Emmet—in fact, he briefed me during the Bush to Obama transition when I was coming in as special counsel & he was headed out. He’s one of the very best. This will be a fight for the ages."
To be clear, Flood's hiring has not yet been officially announced. That said, as Vox details, if he's indeed brought onto the team, it could signal a change in how the White House engages with the Mueller investigation. While Cobb had attempted to cooperate with the special counsel, Flood has a wealth of experience fighting, challenging, and trying to stymie such investigations, thanks to his work on behalf of Clinton against the investigation of then-special counsel Ken Starr.
That's not the full extent of Flood's history working in the executive branch. He also worked in the White House Office of Legal Counsel during the George W. Bush administration. It's also not the only connection he has to somebody with the last name Clinton, either. According to The Wall Street Journal, while working at his private law firm, he actually represented former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
The news of Cobb's impending retirement was announced by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday, although she notably did not announce Flood as his replacement. It remains to be seen when the announcement will be made.
Trump, for his part, has been vociferous and unsparing in his public statements about the Mueller probe, regularly decrying it as a "witch hunt" and "fake news." He's also reportedly been eager to sit down with Mueller for an interview, confident that he'd be able to exonerate himself through making his case face-to-face with the special counsel. That has not happened, however.
Reports have suggested that Trump's legal team is hoping to avoid such an interview, in which the president would be exposed to the possibility of perjury if he made any false statements.