Trump lawyers dish on Russia probe at steakhouse as NYT reporter listens in

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
Trump lawyers John Dowd and Ty Cobb (Photo: @KenVogel/NYT/Twitter)

Two of President Trump’s lawyers were overheard by a New York Times reporter “loudly discussing” the Russia investigation last week at a Washington, D.C., steakhouse that is located next to the newspaper’s D.C. bureau. The conversation led to a front-page story published Monday.

The reporter, Kenneth Vogel, was meeting a source for lunch at BLT Steak in downtown Washington. They were seated outside in the restaurant’s sidewalk seating area. At a nearby table, Trump lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd were talking about the White House’s handling of the ongoing federal probe into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow.

“Cobb was easy to recognize with that trademark bushy handlebar mustache,” Vogel told CNN in an interview on Monday. “My source gets up to leave. I say, ‘You know what, I’m just going to hang out here.‘”


As Vogel sat there alone, taking notes on his iPhone, Cobb and Dowd continued to discuss the case in a way that was “easily audible” to adjacent tables and passersby.

According to Vogel, Cobb was complaining that White House lawyer Donald F. McGahn II has not been forthcoming with information requested by the special counsel in charge of the investigation, suggesting McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” and that there is a “McGahn spy” within the Trump legal team.

“It’s puzzling they would be so indiscreet,” Vogel said.

The conversation led to Monday’s story about the tension within Trump’s legal team. Vogel tweeted a photo of Cobb and Dowd at the steakhouse along with a link to the piece.


According to the Times, when the paper approached the White House about Cobb and Dowd’s open-air comments, McGahn “privately erupted” at Cobb and White House chief of staff John Kelly “sharply reprimanded” him.

Cobb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Cobb engaged in a lengthy email exchange with the owner of a popular Washington ramen restaurant. In it, Cobb defended his decision to join the Trump legal team and appeared to refer to himself and Kelly as the only “adults in the room.”

Cobb also exchanged emails with a prankster who was posing as White House social media director Dan Scavino.

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