Twelve partners from seven top-tier white-collar criminal defense attorneys turned down President Donald Trump before former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was brought on, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.
“Rudy Giuliani has always been available,” former California Roger Cossack suggested. “Hiring Rudy Giuliani only underlines Trump’s dilemma in finding a lawyer who will work for him.”
The rejection of President Trump has no parallels in American history.
“What we’re seeing with President Trump is really unprecedented,” explained historian Timothy Naftali, former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
None of the lawyers reported to have turned down the president agreed to comment on why they passed. Even experts refused to go on record.
“Everyone who becomes associated with Trump becomes diminished,” said "one leading white-collar crime expert" who feared offending Trump. “You come out with less of a reputation.”
“There is a tradition in this country that when the president calls asking for assistance, one generally provides it. This president provokes a different reaction,” said Trump confidante Alan Dershowitz. “Many people think that helping this president is akin to treason.”
Mark Corallo, the former spokesperson for Trump's outside legal team, complained that Democratic partners at firms were "throwing temper tantrums" in a way that threatened legal tradition.
“We have a longstanding tradition in American law that everybody deserves the best counsel they can get,” Corallo argued. “That is our grand tradition of law, lawyers take controversial clients.”
There are competing theories as to why Corallo is no longer part of Trump's defense.
In July, New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker suggested that Corallo may have resigned in frustration with the attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller.
“He though that Robert Mueller was a person of integrity and that they shouldn’t be attacking him,” Baker said. “So this is a point of stress within the Trump team.”
In January, the Michael Wolff book Fire & Fury quit in fear after believing President Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.
“Mark Corallo … believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice (and) quit,” Wolff wrote.
Trump has also hired Jane and Martin Raskin, who the Globe characterize as "virtually unknown in national legal circles."