Abbe Lowell (Carmen Natale)
Jared Kushner’s new lawyer in Washington, D.C., Abbe Lowell, already has connections to President Donald Trump—and Russia—through his New York law firm, Chadbourne & Parke, and its international merger partner, Norton Rose Fulbright.
News emerged late Monday that Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, had retained Chadbourne’s Lowell to represent him amid probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Kushner is also represented by Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
A look at Chadbourne and Norton Rose Fulbright’s public statements of representation show how the law firms, like many other Am Law 200 firms, have represented Trump and Russia’s interests over the years.
Just like the law firm of Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, Chadbourne has represented Russia’s largest state-owned bank, Sberbank.
Chadbourne’s website boasts that it advised Sberbank in the acquisition of a nearly 20 percent stake in a company working on a mineral deposit development. And the firm represented a bank subsidiary in the acquisition of equity in a Russian retail group in a debt restructuring.
Chadbourne has also represented the Russian state oil company Rosneft in corporate, financing, structuring and operational issues, including in projects related to an alliance with BP and in negotiations with U.S. companies for oil and gas projects.
Chadbourne has directly represented the Russian federation, acting as its law experts in the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, according to the firm’s website.The firm’s extensive business activity in Russia is no secret. Chadbourne maintains one of the most prominent foreign law offices in Moscow, where it was one of the first outside law firms to open an office in 1990. But while it’s commonplace for large law firms to have global aspirations and a wide range of international clients, such connections have attracted public scrutiny in the current political climate, such as when Morgan, Lewis & Bockius drew headlines for its Russia-related work.
Chadbourne also has experience working on Trump development deals. In 2009, Chadbourne’s website said, the firm helped guide the owner of the Trump Ocean Club hotel and condominium development in Panama City, Newland International Properties, through bondholder solicitation. At the time, Chadbourne represented JPMorgan Securities Inc. as solicitation agent.
Later on, in 2013, when the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers, Chadbourne represented trustees related to the company’s debt restructuring.
In another Trump-related matter, a Chadbourne partner briefly represented Trump’s Miss Universe Organization.
According to June 2012 news reports and court papers, then-partner Scott Balber represented the organization when it filed an arbitration action against a former contestant who claimed the pageant’s results were fixed. Balber was at Chadbourne at the time the arbitration was filed, but moved to Cooley in October that year and then to Herbert Smith Freehills in 2013.
Meanwhile, Norton Rose Fulbright, which is expected to finalize its planned merger with Chadbourne this year, has represented another Trump entity, the Trump Hotel Collection.
Norton Rose Fulbright helped the hotel chain respond to possible malware attacks on its system by notifying customers who used payment cards at Trump hotels in 2014 and 2015 that their personal information could be at risk.
Chadbourne, through a spokesman, could not immediately comment on its previous representation of Trump and Russian entities.
Meanwhile Lowell, Kushner’s new lawyer, has already weighed in on the Russian investigation, discussing on MSNBC in late March the potential implications of granting immunity to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
“It is a little ironic, right, that both President Trump and Mike Flynn himself during the campaign both made those ridiculous statements that if somebody gets immunity, they must be guilty of something. But that’s clearly not the case,” Lowell said.
He added, “There may not be anything underneath all this. And I believe as others should that we believe that presumption of innocence means something.”
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