Top advisers to President Trump have reportedly warned him against elevating Emmet Flood, a lawyer representing him in the ongoing special counsel investigation, to the position of White House counsel.
Fox News reported Friday that the president’s aides believe that Flood is “eminently qualified to be White House counsel,” but believe that his current value to the White House defense team is too great to risk moving him off the team.
One adviser told Fox’s John Roberts that Flood’s security clearance, which allows him to be a part of discussions centered around the declassification of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court documents, is a key factor.
“It is vital that Flood finish what he is doing,” sources told Roberts. One added that the lawyer, who joined the Trump team in May, “is a battlefield general you need on the front lines to win the fight.”
The news comes amid reports that McGahn is planning to exit the White House in coming months, either following November’s midterm elections or the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
McGahn had previously indicated Flood as his intended successor, according to an Axios report, further complicating Trump’s search for an alternative.
One possible alternative to Flood could be Pat Cippolone, Fox News reports, as Cippolone has been quietly advising the president for months according to the network, which also noted that Cippolone faces internal resistance from some members of Trump’s team.
A source told Axios last month that Flood believes that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has overstepped the intended scope of his investigation similar to how Flood believes investigations against former President Clinton, whom he also represented, were handled.
“The reason he can represent both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump is because he thinks these investigators come and basically put a target on their backs, trying to overturn every aspect of their lives searching for a crime,” an associate of Flood told the news outlet.