Winston & Strawn’s Abbe Lowell has tapped former federal prosecutor Carol Elder Bruce to represent him as he and other attorneys representing those in President Donald Trump’s orbit face scrutiny from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.
The intelligence panel, led by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, is reportedly probing whether the four attorneys—Lowell, Jay Sekulow, Alan Futerfas and Alan Garten—were involved in alleged efforts to obstruct the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Specifically, the committee is said to be investigating whether the lawyers were involved in editing false testimony that Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen provided to Congress in 2017. The panel sent all four requests for information, which their lawyers in a collective statement issued Tuesday slammed as part of a “truly needless dispute.”
The statement said: “Instead of addressing important intelligence needs, the House Intelligence Committee appears to seek a truly needless dispute—this one with private attorneys—that would force them to violate privileges and ethical rules. As committed defense lawyers, we will respect the Constitution and defend the attorney-client privilege—one of the oldest and most sacred privileges in the law.”
The letters that were publicly reported on Tuesday identify the attorneys, including Bruce and Patrick Strawbridge, who are representing the four lawyers now facing House lawmakers’ glare.
Sekulow, Trump’s personal attorney, is represented by Strawbridge, a partner at conservative boutique firm Consovoy McCarthy Park, according to the letters. Strawbridge is separately representing Trump in his personal capacity in his legal bid to block enforcement of a House Oversight subpoena issued to the president’s longtime accounting firm. A judge heard arguments about the validity of the subpoena, demanding years of Trump’s financial statements and other related records, on Tuesday.
Lowell, who represents Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, has brought on Bruce to represent him. Bruce, now an attorney at Washington firm Murphy & McGonigle, previously worked on federal investigations that concerned former Sen. John Ensign, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Attorney General Edwin Meese. She previously spent about a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, according to her firm biography page.
The letters also identified Stefan Passantino as representing Garten, the top legal officer for the Trump Organization, and Alan Futerfas, a New York-based lawyer for Donald Trump Jr. and Trump’s namesake business. Passantino previously served as a deputy White House counsel in the Trump administration, where he oversaw ethics and compliance issues. He decamped last year to join Michael Best & Friedrich. Since then, Passantino has represented the Trump Organization in its dealings with Congress, including representing the company as a plaintiff in the legal spat with House Oversight over Trump’s financial records.