Business of Law

Kushner attorney Gorelick hands off responsibility for Russia investigations to co-counsel

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Photo of Jamie Gorelick by ©Kathy Anderson 2012.

Jamie Gorelick, the Washington, D.C. attorney representing Jared Kushner, said Friday that she would no longer represent President Donald Trump's son-in-law in matters related to investigations surrounding the presidential campaign and Russia, the National Law Journal reports.

Gorelick, a regulatory and government affairs partner at WilmerHale, will continue representing Kushner in matters related to his federal disclosures, including his security clearance and ethics disclosures. However, in an email to the National Law Journal, Gorelick said she was handing off responsibility for Russia-related matters to white-collar criminal defense lawyer Abbe Lowell of Norton Rose Fulbright, who Kushner hired June 26.

“As you may recall, and as we have stated, once [Robert] Mueller and three of our partners left the firm to form the Special Counsel’s Office, we advised Mr. Kushner to get independent legal advice whether to continue with us as counsel,” Gorelick told the Journal. “As [a] result of this process, Abbe is now responsible for the Russia-related inquiries.”

Gorelick told the publication that it was “hard to know” when she would be done representing Kushner. She still represents Ivanka Trump–Kushner’s wife and the president’s daughter–on matters related to her security clearance, ethics disclosures and financial disclosures.

Gorelick’s representation of Kushner and Ivanka Trump was always uneasy. As her email noted, the person responsible for investigating whether Kushner and other Trump associates broke the law in their dealings with Russia is Mueller, who left WilmerHale to become special counsel and thus was Gorelick’s law partner. The Department of Justice said this was not an issue, and WilmerHale partner Reginald Brown represents another Trump associate–former campaign manager Paul Manafort Jr.—in connection with the Russia investigation.

The security clearance disclosure forms Gorelick helped Kushner prepare have had to be amended in order to add information that was originally omitted, including information on his meetings with Russian nationals during the Trump campaign and transition. Knowingly leaving out this kind of material information is a crime, but Gorelick characterized his initial omissions as a mistake, the New York Times reported in April.

According to The Hill, Congressional Democrats have twice tried unsuccessfully this week to pass legislation that would revoke Kushner’s security clearance.

Gorelick is a Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton and reportedly would have been considered for the job of U.S. Attorney General if Clinton had won the election. As the Washington Post noted last month, other Democrats in the D.C. bar have criticized her harshly and publicly for representing Kushner.

Gorelick told the Post that the ethical questions she had to answer for Kushner and Ivanka Trump were interesting, that WilmerHale is a “consciously bipartisan” law firm and that she doesn’t put clients through “a political litmus test.” The article mentions that she sent some pro bono work she’d done fighting the president’s policies on “sanctuary cities” to Kushner and Trump, “just so they would know, this is what your lawyer is doing.”

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