President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign pushed back Monday against suggestions that there is a rift between the Trump camp and Jones Day related to former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who has returned to the partnership at the firm.
Politico reported Friday that the Trump campaign had hired Nathan Groth, an associate at Michael Best & Friedrich, as a form of “payback” against Jones Day and McGahn, “whose behavior has irked the president and some of his family members.” But the Trump campaign now says Groth’s addition was made in direct response to Jones Day’s advice.
“Jones Day has been and remains the Trump Campaign’s principal outside legal counsel,” said Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, in a statement. “At Jones Day’s recommendation, we have hired in-house counsel to save costs and handle our day-to-day work. For that work, we have contracted with Elections LLC as a vendor. Nathan Groth provides legal work for the campaign through this vendor and remains affiliated with Michael, Best & Friedrich LLP.”
William Burck of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who represents McGahn, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been fighting over McGahn’s comments to special counsel Robert Mueller in the redacted report released last week. But despite the lawyers’ feud, the president’s campaign indicated its relationship with McGahn’s firm has not been damaged by the ongoing squabble.
Neither Jones Day nor McGahn had any immediate comment.
The omnipresence of Jones Day alums in the Trump administration hasn’t much diminished in the aftermath of McGahn’s exit. Upon news of McGahn’s return to Jones Day last month, The American Lawyer counted at least a dozen former Jones Day lawyers still working across the government, including U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco. Other former Jones Day lawyers continued to work in the Justice Department, the White House, with the secretary of agriculture, with the secretary of commerce, and as a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Former Jones Day lawyer Chad Readler, nominated by Trump, was also confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit after McGahn’s departure.
Jones Day, meanwhile, does not look to have lost a step in the absence of lawyers moving into government work. Gross revenue at the firm eclipsed $2 billion last year, according to ALM data.