Trump to replace Ty Cobb with Clinton impeachment lawyer Emmet Flood

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, May 2 (Reuters) - White House lawyer Ty Cobb, hired to assist President Donald Trump with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election, will retire at the end of May, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.

He is expected to be replaced by veteran Washington lawyer Emmet Flood, who advised former President Bill Clinton in impeachment proceedings, a person familiar with the matter said.

The New York Times first reported the moves, citing two people briefed on the matter.

"For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff (John) Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month," Sanders said in a statement.

Neither Cobb nor Flood immediately responded to requests for comment by Reuters.

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Last year, Flood turned down the post that ultimately went to Cobb, Reuters reported in July. He then met with Trump in March about assisting the administration with the Russia probe, but it was unclear what position he might take, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time.

Flood advised former President Bill Clinton in impeachment proceedings in the late 1990s brought by the U.S. House of Representatives and tried before the U.S. Senate, where Clinton was acquitted.

Flood also spent two years in the White House counsel's office, where he handled executive privilege-related disputes for President George W. Bush's administration and congressional investigations and other inquiries. He also once clerked for Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Cobb joined the administration in July after resigning from the Washington law firm of Hogan Lovells. In an interview with Reuters in August he predicted a quick end to the Mueller probe.

"I'd be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving, and worse if it's still haunting him by year end," Cobb told Reuters at the time.

Trump has since appeared increasingly frustrated with the ongoing investigation. (Reporting by Karen Freifeld; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Mohammad Zargham and Susan Thomas)