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Pence Hires Private Lawyer for Russia Investigation

Vice President Mike Pence has retained outside counsel to represent him in special counsel investigation, the vice president's office confirmed Thursday.
Image: Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions
Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions attend a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House on June 12, 2017 in Washington.Andrew Harnik / AP

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence has hired a private lawyer to represent him in the special counsel's investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the vice president's office confirmed Thursday.

Pence has retained Richard Cullen of the law firm McGuireWoods to "assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel," according to a statement from Pence's communications director, Jarrod Agen.

"The Vice President is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the President agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter," Agen said.

On Friday, when asked by reporters, Pence said the hiring of a private attorney was "very routine. Very routine."

A source close to Pence said he had been interviewing lawyers for weeks to represent him. The source added that the vice president will not be spending taxpayer dollars to pay for his legal advice and representation.

Cullen’s hiring was first reported by the Washington Post.

Cullen is a seasoned federal criminal attorney with experience relevant to the assignment — he has handled politically sensitive casework as special counsel to former Sen. Paul Trible (R-VA) during the Iran-Contra investigation, he is a former U.S. Attorney, and he served on the House staff for Rep. Caldwell Butler (R-VA) during the Watergate investigation.

Cullen referred all requests for comment to Pence's office.

President Donald Trump has already retained his private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, to represent him in the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russians.

NBC News has confirmed that Trump is facing a criminal investigation for possible obstruction of justice in the FBI investigation.

Trump has denied that and on Thursday he attacked the probe on twitter as a "WITCH HUNT" and said the charges of collusion between his campaign and Moscow as well as obstruction of justice were "phony."

CORRECTION (June 16, 2017, 5:20 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the senator who used Cullen as a special counsel during the Iran-Contra investigation. He is Senator Paul Trible, not Paul Tribe.