Vice President Mike Pence hires outside counsel in Russia probe

Kari Scott
June 16, 2017

Vice President Pence has hired an outside attorney to help handle inquiries relating to federal and congressional probes into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Mr. Trump has retained his own private legal counsel, as Mueller goes forward with the "witch hunt" Russian Federation probe, as the president has called it.

Pence's office confirms he has hired Richard Cullen, who served as US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during the term of George H.W. Bush and later worked on George W. Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount. Paul Trible during the Iran-Contra investigation and was a member of former President George W. Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount, according to his official biography.

Pence chaired the president's transition after the election - a period during which Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn had repeated contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The Washington Post first reported Pence was hiring counsel.

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The public comments were followed by a series of private meetings at which officials were expected to discuss such matters as whether the US will extend the temporary legal residency status of about 200,000 migrants from Central America who have been allowed to stay in the country without becoming citizens for almost 20 years. Just before the story broke, Trump wrote a pair of angry tweets, suggesting that Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the election, should be under investigation instead of him.Earlier on Thursday, Trump called the probe a "witch hunt" on Twitter.

The White House says Pence will travel from August 13 to August 17. He used to work with former FBI Director James Comey, and he's the godfather to one of Comey's daughters.

Trump responded to reports he is personally being investigated for obstruction of justice with a characteristic scorched earth defense: claiming mistreatment of historic proportions and calling into question the probity of his accusers. Trump later contradicted his own staff, saying on May 11 he had the Russian Federation issue in mind when he fired Comey.Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's legal team, denounced the Post report, saying on Wednesday: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

Cullen previously served as attorney general of Virginia. Any such step would face a steep hurdle as it would require approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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