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26/03/2018 3:26 AM AEDT

Trump Says 'Many Lawyers Want To Represent Me' Even As Legal Team Shrinks

Two lawyers who were slated to join his legal team — including Joe diGenova — have now bowed out.

President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at suggestions that he was having difficulty hiring lawyers to help him handle the Russia probe ― even as news emerged that he would not be hiring two attorneys who’d recently been tapped to join his embattled legal team.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that lawyers Joe diGenova, who is known for his aggressive style and was supposed to replace Trump’s top attorney, and diGenova’s wife, Victoria Toensing, would not be joining the legal team because of unspecified “conflicts.”

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, said in a statement that the president was “disappointed” by the development, but that the conflicts “do not prevent” the two from assisting “in other legal matters.” Sekulow did not detail what those other matters might be.

DiGenova has questioned the legitimacy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s  investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and Trump allies had applauded the prospect of him coming to the president’s defense.

Before the news broke about diGenova and Toensing ―- and after a conspicuous Twitter silence on Saturday as hundreds of thousands of protesters nationwide called for tougher gun laws ― Trump returned to his usual prolific posting on Sunday to lambast the coverage of his alleged attorney troubles. He called such reports “Fake News.” 

Several news outlets, including the Times, The Washington Post and Reuters, reported late last week that the president was struggling to find good defense lawyers as Mueller intensifies his probe.

The Post reported that several top attorneys, including former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, had refused to represent the president ― whose legal team appears to be in disarray following the resignation last week of its lead lawyer, John Dowd. 

In his Sunday tweets, Trump said “many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case.” 

He added that “fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer,” though he did acknowledge that “some are conflicted.” 

“Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia,” the president concluded, “except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!”

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