BY JORDAN FABIAN – 05/23/17 06:49 PM EDT
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President Trump plans to retain Marc Kasowitz as his personal attorney to represent him in the federal investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to media reports.
Fox Business and ABC News reported that Trump is expected to bring aboard the New York-based lawyer, who has represented Trump numerous times in the past.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hiring Kasowitz would be a major step for Trump, who has been advised to seek outside legal counsel in the sprawling investigation into whether his associates colluded with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 election.
The stakes became higher for Trump last week when former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named as special counsel to oversee the probe.
The move was made after it was revealed the president allegedly pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to ease off his inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn before firing him, which drew accusations that he could have obstructed justice.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly denied he acted improperly and the president has long insisted he is not under investigation.
Kasowitz is known as a hard-nosed trial attorney whose own website bills him as “one of the most prominent and feared lawyers in the United States.”
He represented Trump last year when The New York Times printed accusations from women claiming Trump sexually assaulted them, demanding a retraction from the paper.
The lawyer has mostly represented business and corporate clients, and he appears to have little experience dealing with intelligence investigations.
It’s unclear whether Trump will enlist other lawyers to work with Kasowitz.
Trump’s aides and legal experts recommended he bring in a private attorney to handle the Russia probe.
Past presidents have brought in their own lawyers when their personal actions have been the subject of investigations because the White House counsel represents the office of the president, not the man himself.
Anything that happened during the campaign could also fall outside the scope of the White House counsel’s office, and White House lawyers would likely be unable to maintain attorney-client privilege about matters related to the Russia probe.
“It’s important you keep these things separate and that he be represented in his personal capacity by lawyers who can sort through these issues in matters other than those related to his official duties,” said Jack Quinn, a longtime Washington lobbyist who served as former President Bill Clinton’s White House counsel.