WASHINGTON — A lawyer who President Trump said last week would come on board to help handle his response to special counsel Robert Mueller III’s Russia investigation will no longer be joining the legal team.

The lawyer, Joseph diGenova, has often vehemently defended the president on Fox News and cast the Mueller probe as a conspiracy against him. Trump enjoyed the TV appearances and wanted diGenova on his team even though he did not know him, officials say.

But in a statement on Sunday, a spokesman for Trump’s legal team said both diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, who is also a lawyer, would not be working on the Russia probe.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining his Special Counsel legal team,” said Jay Sekulow, counsel to Trump. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

Trump met with diGenova in person on Thursday after his hire was announced. Three days later, diGenova’s hiring has unraveled.

Trump’s legal team has now shrunk to two: Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer who does not personally represent the president and occasionally draws grumbles from him, and Sekulow, an outside conservative attorney and radio host.

John Dowd, who was Trump’s top attorney handling the Russia probe, resigned Thursday morning amid strategy disputes with the president.

He had been the president’s main point of contact with Mueller’s office and had been helping to negotiate the terms for an interview between the president and Mueller’s team as it examines whether Trump obstructed justice by seeking to shut down the investigation.

Trump had not closely researched diGenova or even consulted with top aides, including Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn, before hiring him.

Trump had hoped diGenova could serve as a surrogate in television interviews and play the role of attack dog in criticizing the Mueller probe.

Sekulow approached him two weeks ago about joining the team, but diGenova and his wife run a law firm that represents clients with conflicting interests.

One is Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team and a witness in the Mueller investigation. He resigned in the wake of a dispute over the president’s role in a misleading statement about his campaign aides’ meeting with a Russian lawyer offering “dirt” on 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.

In a burst of tweets early Sunday morning, Trump insisted that he is “very happy” with his existing legal team.

Trump said that many “lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case” and that people should not “believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on.”

“Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted,” the president said, adding that “there was NO COLLUSION with Russia.”

Trump’s struggles are reminiscent of his difficulties in the spring of 2017 when he was first seeking new lawyers to represent him in the Russia probe. He interviewed a half-dozen high-profile legal stars in the white-collar defense bar, including Emmet T. Flood, Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. and A.B. Culvahouse Jr.; all of them declined.

The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.

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