During “Truth on Trial,” a discussion of Ethics and the Collapse of Institutional trust, host Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media asked Ty Cobb about the division of work and process inside the White House legal office. That story and video was picked up on Politico. His answer included the revelation that White House Counsel McGahn recused his office from the Mueller probe. The event also featured White House Counsel’s from both the Obama and George W Bush administrations.
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DOUG: One of the things Ty was willing to do which is excellent from my perspective and hopefully for years as well, is sort of give us a little bit of an inkling of the process-obviously limited in terms of what he’s allowed to talk about-but sort of the process of being White House Special Counsel, different roles and how that works.
TY: Well there are a lot of different roles in the White House Counsel’s sphere and lawyering at the White House. Ambassador Eisen was Ethics Chief for President Obama for years and that’s a very important function. I worked very closely with President Trump’s Ethic’s Counsel virtually on a daily basis because ethics has really risen to the top of the triage, when you’re trying to solve a problem. In my role, because many of the White House Counsel lawyers had been significant participants in the Flint events and the Conney events they recused themselves. The White House Counsel made a decision to recuse his entire office as a result in order to manage the White House response. I came in and interacted between the White House and the Office of Special Counsel, handling their document requests and then arranging for White House people to be interviewed negotiating the terms under which documents were produced the protections necessary and the same with the interviews.
DOUG: Do you think possible confusion about that role can add to difficulties from a communications perspective? Maybe Richard you could also weigh in on that.
TY: Well I would say it certainly did in our situation because the president had personal counsel as well. And it was often in the press, they didn’t distinguish between my role representing the White House and their role representing the individual.