One lawyer currently assisting Donald Trump in opposing an ongoing impeachment trial is facing allegations that he has not always had kind words for the former president.
According to recent reports, attorney Michael van der Veen is denying claims that he once called Trump a “f*****g crook” in private.
“Came off as fairly anti-Trump”
Prior to his involvement in the second impeachment trial against Trump, van der Veen represented a client facing charges related to attempted electronic theft of the 45th president’s tax returns.
The defendant, Justin Hiemstra, subsequently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his attorney once used the colorful phrase to describe Trump. He did acknowledge, however, that he was not sure if his counsel employed such rhetoric as a reflection of his true beliefs or simply to encourage him as they battled the criminal allegations.
“I’m not sure if [those comments] were made to make me feel more comfortable, or if they were his actual opinions,” Hiemstra said. “He definitely came off as fairly anti-Trump in the context that I knew him.”
Now, van der Veen is working for attorney Bruce Castor, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor who is leading the defense against Trump.
“The comments about President Donald J. Trump being attributed to me by a former client in your story yesterday are false,” van der Veen said in response to Hiemstra’s claim.
“Not one of the finest I’ve seen”
The attorney has previously sued Trump and the U.S. Postal Service on behalf of another client. In that case, he accused the then-president of attempting to throttle mail-in voting ballots prior to November’s presidential election.
Records indicate van der Veen has also donated to Democratic candidates including the campaign for Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).
For what it’s worth, Trump’s attorneys received overwhelmingly poor reviews following their opening arguments on Tuesday. Many viewers were puzzled by a rambling oratory Castor delivered before the Senate that day.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was one of several prominent Republicans unimpressed with the performance, stating: “The president’s lawyer just rambled on and on. I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments, and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.”
In an interview on Tuesday, van der Veen declared that he would be “approaching this just like any other case,” insisting that he “has a client who is in need of and who deserves the best representation he can get, and that’s what we’re giving.”