Vice President Mike Pence hires outside counsel in Russia probe

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 21:31:38-04

Vice President Mike Pence has hired his own lawyer to represent him in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. The lawyer, Richard Cullen, is a former Virginia attorney general and a former US attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.

President Donald Trump has been putting together his own team of outside lawyers to represent him through the Justice Department special counsel’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Pence’s communications director Jarrod Agen said in a statement: “I can confirm that the vice president has retained Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods to assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel. The vice president is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the President’s agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter.”

Reached by CNN’s Kevin Bohn, Cullen said he had nothing to add beyond the official statement.

Pence’s hire comes just one day after The Washington Post reported Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.

Mueller is reportedly interviewing three top intelligence officials — Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and retired deputy NSA director Richard Ledgett — as part of the probe, as early as this week.

In a tweet Thursday morning, Trump called the Post’s report “phony.”

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” he wrote. “Nice.”

Pence, who after the election served as head of Trump’s White House transition team, has stood by Trump’s assertion that there are no ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“As has been stated repeatedly and the President has been told, he’s not under investigation,” Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill in May. “There is no evidence of collusion between our campaign and any Russian officials.”