President Donald Trump is dealing with ongoing investigations into his administration’s alleged ties to Russia and the possibility of obstruction of justice. Trump’s beleaguered communications staff has had trouble keeping up with the bad publicity and is now getting outside help, Mark Corallo. The longtime communications strategist is helping the administration mold its message by becoming the spokesperson for Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.
Politico reported Sunday the Trump administration had considered bringing Corallo in as White House communications director last month, but he didn’t take the job. The White House has been without someone in the role since former director Michael Dubke resigned in May.
“I think I will be more help to the president on the outside than I would have been on the inside,” Corallo told Politico. “The order of magnitude is a little bigger than some of the other high-profile matters I’ve been involved in, but the president will be cleared because he did nothing wrong. Don’t underestimate this guy.”
Earlier in the month, Trump considered building a “war room” in the White House to deal with accusations his 2016 presidential campaign had ties to Russia. The operation was going to be headed up by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Reuters reported earlier this month, but that plan was scrapped.
Instead, the White House is using outside counsel, Kasowitz, and Corallo as a parallel force to the White House’s official counsel Don McGahn and the leaderless communications staff.
Corallo has a long history of working as a communications strategist and Republican operative. The first line of his bio on his firm’s website comes from the National Journal calling him a “street-smart Republican spin doctor.”
From 1996 to 1999, he served as press secretary to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston. Corallo also worked as the communications director for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and spokesman for the Department of Justice under Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Corallo has been in the private sector since starting his own firm, Corallo Media Strategies. Politico said one of Corallo’s biggest clients was former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, whom he represented during the CIA leak scandal, which unveiled the identity covert operative Valerie Plame. Corallo represented I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators and was sentenced to jail.
Corallo's Twitter profile describes him as a huge Yankees fan. He graduated from Georgetown University and is married with four children.
Corallo is a military veteran who was in the U.S. Army infantry.