Jamie Gorelick, left, and Robert Mueller, right. (Photos: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)
Jamie Gorelick said Friday she is no longer representing Jared Kushner on Russia-related inquiries. Instead, she said she is “completing the work” the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser originally hired her to do before President Donald Trump took office: handling Kushner’s ethics compliance, security clearance and other federal disclosures.
Abbe Lowell, whom Kushner added to his white-collar team on June 26, is now Kushner’s primary defender in the multiple investigations into the Trump team’s interactions with Russian officials.
“As you may recall, and as we have stated, once Bob Mueller and three of our partners left the firm to form the Special Counsel’s Office [at the Department of Justice], we advised Mr. Kushner to get independent legal advice whether to continue with us as counsel,” Gorelick said in an email Friday. “As [a] result of this process, Abbe is now responsible for the Russia-related inquiries.”
Gorelick runs the regulatory department at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, while Lowell is head of the white-collar group at Norton Rose Fulbright. Both are among Washington, D.C.’s most well-known litigators, and both are long-time Democrats.
The shift in responsibility is especially notable because Gorelick has withstood since January the Washington political community’s intense criticism of her representation of Kushner.
On a personal level, The Washington Post noted in June how prominent D.C. liberals were keen to bad-mouth Gorelick’s work anonymously. At least one did so publicly on Twitter.
Gorelick, a former Clinton administration deputy attorney general, had campaigned for Hillary Clinton and was a frontrunner for the U.S. attorney general job if Clinton had won the presidency last year.
On a professional level, Gorelick faced questions over whether her work for Kushner in the Russia matter would conflict with Robert Mueller III’s work at the Justice Department, where he leads the special counsel investigation. A conflict could have arisen because Mueller and three others on his team were partners with Gorelick at Wilmer. However, the Justice Department said it was not a problem.
Another Wilmer colleague, Reginald Brown, represents former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort Jr. in the Russia investigation.
Despite Gorelick’s departure from the Russia defense, Kushner has entered a complex and precarious legal briar patch. Gorelick said in April that the Trump son-in-law failed to say on his initial security clearance application that he held several meetings with Russians during the campaign and presidential transition. Kushner then disclosed additional information three times, according to CBS News this week.
Gorelick has continued to defend Kushner publicly, providing statements on his behalf to media outlets as recently as last weekend. In one of the meetings her client disclosed, Kushner, Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton to help the Trump presidential campaign.
The Times reported Friday that a Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military member also attended the meeting.
Separate from the congressional and Justice Department investigations into the Russia matter, Democrats in Congress have tried and failed to revoke Kushner’s security clearance.
When asked Friday when Gorelick expects to finish her representation of Kushner, she responded it was “hard to know.”
Gorelick also represents Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and Kushner’s spouse, on her ethical implications of working with the president, financial disclosures and security clearance process.