Who Is Mark Corallo? Trump's Former Legal Spokesperson Could Be The Key To The Russia Investigation
Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election is reportedly focusing in on a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. One person Mueller plans to interview on that front is Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for President Trump's legal team who reportedly resigned citing concerns about the administration's potential obstruction of justice.
Corallo left Trump's legal team in July 2017. His departure came just after news broke of a meeting between members of Trump's campaign team, including Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer in the summer of 2016. According to released emails, Natalia Veselnitskaya offered Trump Jr. "very high level and sensitive information" about then-candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. replied, "If it's what you say I love it."
According to Michael Wolff's bombshell book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Corallo was concerned over Trump's potential obstruction of justice in the aftermath of his son's meeting with Veselnitskaya being made public. Wolff's account portrays Corallo as distressed by the president's alleged attempt to form a misleading statement for Trump Jr. (the president and his son have denied any sort of wrongdoing related to Russia or the election).
Corallo was also reportedly concerned about a phone call with White House communications director Hope Hicks. The New York Times reports that, according to three unnamed sources, Hicks said that emails from Trump Jr. about the meeting "will never get out." According to the Times, Corallo was concerned that indicated Hicks could be considering obstruction of justice.
A lawyer for Hicks stated, "She never said that." He also said that the idea Hicks "ever suggested that [information] would be concealed or destroyed is completely false."
Prior to working for Trump, Corallo has had a long career in Washington, D.C. He was a spokesman for the Department of Justice under former President George W. Bush. Before that, Corallo worked as a spokesman for the House oversight panel responsible for investigating President Bill Clinton.
Corallo also has past ties to a one James Comey, the FBI director Trump promptly fired in May 2017. Corallo was working as director of public affairs at the Justice Department when Comey served there as deputy attorney general. Comey appointed a special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, to look into the illegal leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to the public.
Corallo did not agree with Fitgerald's decision to subpoena several journalists in the case, which helped Corallo build a reputation as a staunch supporter of the press, according to POLITICO.
After becoming a spokesman for George W. Bush chief of staff Karl Rove in "Plamegate," Corallo opened his own political consulting and crisis management firm, Corallo Comstock, with fellow political hand Barbara Comstock.
Corallo has also been highly complimentary towards Mueller. "I don't know if there is a finer human being than Bob Mueller," he said, calling Mueller "the brother you want — [or] the dad you want" and "the guy you want your daughter to marry."
Given the rather different rhetoric on Mueller from Trump and many of his public supporters, perhaps it's little surprise that Corallo eventually resigned from the president's employ.
One other note about Corallo: back in 2009, he penned an op-ed for Breitbart, when it was still under the direction of its original creator, the since-deceased Andrew Breitbart. In it, he lambasts the movie Land of the Lost for its profanity and sexual innuendo, and lauds his then-11-year-old son for telling him and his wife they should all walk out of the film — which they did. Corallo also mentions in the article that he has daughters who were then attending a Catholic grade school in Virginia.