Emmet Flood, the veteran defense lawyer the White House brought in to help navigate Robert S. Mueller III’s special counsel investigation, will be leaving on June 14, President Trump said Saturday.
In a tweet announcing the departure, Trump said Flood had “done an outstanding job.”
“NO COLLUSION — NO OBSTRUCTION! Case Closed!” the president said, repeating his oft-used phrases to describe and attack the special counsel investigation. “Emmet is my friend, and I thank him for the GREAT JOB he has done.”
Flood’s departure had been expected after Mueller concluded his investigation in March, as his main role was helping manage the White House’s responses to Mueller’s work. But even after the inquiry concluded, Flood had played a key role in decisions about how the White House handled requests from Congress for investigation-related documents.
For example, in an April 19 letter to Attorney General William P. Barr, Flood criticized Mueller’s final report for failing to “comply with the requirements of governing law.” He said the president’s decision not to assert executive privilege over the report did not mean he was prevented from doing so now to block Congress from compelling aides to testify or to stop lawmakers from accessing underlying investigative materials.
Flood, who served previously on President Bill Clinton’s personal legal team as Congress prepared to impeach him, entered the Trump White House in May 2018 and replaced Ty Cobb.
A graduate of Yale Law School and former Supreme Court clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, Flood spent much of his career at the Williams & Connolly law firm. In addition to working for Clinton, he represented former vice president Richard B. Cheney in a lawsuit filed by former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose identity was provided to the media by a Cheney aide. He also served as special counsel to President George W. Bush during the investigation of the firing of seven U.S. attorneys in that administration.
Flood was based in the White House Counsel’s Office, though his title was White House lawyer and he was uniquely focused on responding to Mueller’s investigation. He served as White House counsel temporarily after McGahn’s departure in late 2018 before he was ultimately replaced by Pat Cipollone.
Mueller found insufficient evidence to allege that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election, but he declined to decide one way or the other whether Trump had tried to obstruct his investigation. The president has at times hailed that as a victory, though he has also repeatedly sought to attack Mueller.