Ty Cobb, who represented the White House amid Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into Russian election meddling, called the special counsel an “American hero” in a new ABC News interview. He also said that he does not agree with Donald Trump’s view that the Russia inquiry is a politically motivated “witch hunt” or “hoax.”
“I think Bob Mueller’s an American hero … even though he came from an, arguably, privileged background, he has a backbone of steel,” Cobb said during an appearance on the ABC News podcast “The Investigation.”
“I don’t feel Mueller’s investigation is a witch hunt,” he added.
“He walked into a firefight in Vietnam to pull out one of his injured colleagues and was appropriately honored for that,” Cobb continued. “I’ve known him for 30 years as a prosecutor and a friend. And I think the world of Bob Mueller. He is a very deliberate guy. But he’s also a class act. And a very justice-oriented person.”
Cobb began working with the Trump administration’s legal team six months into President Trump’s term. He became a widely-known television spokesman for Trump, and he said he thinks he served him well. He said that he “was able to prevent the president from going on the attack against Mueller” during his time in the White House.
“It wasn’t really until Dowd sent out a critical tweet of Mueller and Rudy joined the team that the president felt unleashed,” he said, referring to former veteran attorney on Trump’s legal team, John Dowd and the president’s current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Cobb also said he clashed with some of his former White House colleagues at times over strategy. He advocated for more cooperation between the White House and the Russia probe, which led to the Trump administration sharing scores of documents with Mueller’s team.
“I was the one that advised it. But the president did make the decision,” Cobb remembered.
Cobb also lamented that differing opinions on what strategies to pursue eventually split Trump’s legal team into two sides. He said the White House counsel began to move toward a more aggressive approach with hires like Dowd and Giuliani. And because he didn’t agree with this approach he decided to leave his job at the White House after just 10 months.
Mueller may soon release his findings to the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, but Cobb says he believes the report will not be politically damaging to the president. According to Cobb, Mueller has already revealed most of his findings through the sentencing memos and “speaking indictments” issued against a group of 34 defendants.
One of the indictments, against Russian hackers, was “highly detailed,” Cobb said. “And there’s no link to Trump or the campaign. The same thing with Manafort — they just filed an 800-page sentencing memorandum, and in 800 pages there’s no reference to collusion,” Cobb said.
Unlike some other attorneys hired to work with the Mueller probe, Cobb made clear his client was not the president, but “the presidency.”
“My legal obligations were to the institution,” he said.