As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election amps up, Donald Trump is looking to pad his legal team with top-notch attorneys. But when his team reached out to Ted Olson — one of the lead attorneys (along with David Boies) who took the case against California’s anti-marriage equality measure to the Supreme Court and won — the crackerjack lawyer turned down the opportunity to work for Trump.
“I can confirm that [the firm] and Theodore B. Olson will not be representing Trump,” Theodore J. Boutrous, the global cochair of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, tweeted Tuesday, although Olson declined to comment.
“I’m not going to be commenting on this subject,” Olson wrote in an email, according to The Washington Post.
A White House insider said that Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested the legal team look into asking Olson — who represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 recount case that decided the presidential race in Bush’s favor — to join in defending Trump in the mounting Russia investigation.
Aides floated the idea of enlisting Olson past Trump on Monday, and he was amenable to the idea. Trump has reportedly become increasingly frustrated with two of his attorneys, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, for being “too cooperative” with Mueller even as they have urged Trump to cooperate with the investigation, according to the Post.
While Olson turned Trump down, attorney Joe diGenova, who has claimed that Trump is the target of an FBI conspiracy, was added to the team on Monday.
Olson, who is conservative, seemed to be an odd choice to help fight California’s Proposition 8, considering that he and Boies opposed each other in Bush v. Gore, but Olson proved to be part of a dream team that overturned the hateful measure. The case restored marriage equality in California and helped pave the way for equal marriage rights throughout the United States.