On Wednesday (May 2) Donald Trump’s lead counsel for the Russia probe, Ty Cobb, resigned. He is the second major member of the president’s legal team to quit in the past six weeks. Another one of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, quit at the end of March. Both of these attorneys believed Trump should play nice and sit down with Robert Mueller, a strategy that is not favored by others on Trump’s legal team.

There is now much speculation as to why Cobb would leave at a crucial time when Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are considering issuing Trump a Grand Jury subpoena.

One speculative reason for Cobb’s departure was that he had completed what he came to do which was to prep and do document collection. Cobb issued a public statement that attested to this notion, but it would appear that an underlying mission to help protect the president from Mueller went unfulfilled.

Sources close to and familiar with the Cobb situation told CNN that Cobb had been at odds with the president because of his tweets and rhetoric toward Mueller and the Russia investigation. Cobb also told insiders that he would leave when things became too “rancid.” Perhaps Trump’s recent tweets against the Department of Justice (DOJ), Mueller, and the probe drew a foul line that Cobb was unwilling to cross.

Game-changer

In order to get ahead of speculation about Cobb’s departure, the White House released a statement saying, “For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month.” This did not squelch the rumors that now exist.

It is important to keep in mind that on March 11, Trump tweeted that he was happy with his legal team and no changes would be made.

Now, it appears that this was just part of a series of Trump’s savvy moves over the last few weeks to restructure his legal team. Trump appears to be pushing back against the DOJ, especially with attempts to wriggle out of testifying and distance himself from the Russia investigation.

Flood

One could also view Trump’s tweet as a deflection tactic considering the POTUS has made two significant changes since that March 11 tweet by bringing aboard Rudy Giuliani and now Emmet Flood to replace Ty Cobb.

These two attorneys join Jay Sekulow and Jay Raskin, and now the question of strategy for this revamped team must be considered. What role will Flood take on? Will Flood act as the lead counsel for the president or for the office of the presidency?

Regardless of roles, Trump’s new lawyer’s name may be an omen of what is to come. Undoubtedly, the president is putting an arsenal together as evidenced by his legal team's resumes, specifically Flood's. This is refreshing considering Trump's record of hiring inexperienced people.

Most will remember Emmett Flood from his legal work with Bill Clinton and his impeachment.

He also worked with President Bush on executive privilege matters after he was out of office, and also worked in the office of the White House Counsel.

Above the law?

Just like in his fixer’s criminal court case, Trump doesn’t have many favorable options when it comes to strategizing for the Russia case. If a subpoena is issued, which, according to CNN legal experts, is most likely to happen, Trump could find himself in the testimony hot seat. And it will all come down to the fact that no one is above the law, not even the president. This is a concept that Trump is having a difficult time accepting -- testifying and not being a supreme ruler.

It will be interesting to see what Trump’s plan of action will be now, considering Mueller has provided Trump’s legal team with over 40 possible questions that could be asked of the POTUS. And even though Trump has the answers, talking to Mueller could go very wrong, very fast. So, pre-planning will be key. That is, if planning to tell the truth is even something one has to plan for.

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