Few people speak to former president Donald Trump more these days than Boris Epshteyn.
The pugilistic communications consultant often has five or more conversations with Trump a day, advisers say, with the former president sometimes interrupting meetings with prominent elected officials to take his calls.
A lawyer by training who has also worked as an investment banker, Epshteyn, 40, has morphed into one of the most influential figures in Trump’s orbit, winning his ear on how to respond to investigations that have placed Trump in legal jeopardy unheard of for a former president. Epshteyn’s access and influence has frustrated some of the more experienced lawyers Trump has hired, because of what they see as his unnecessarily confrontational approach, his lack of relevant experience and the fact that Epshteyn’s own actions also have come under scrutiny in some of the probes, people familiar with the situation said.
At the same time, Epshteyn is also dealing with the legal ramifications of his conduct outside of work. He is on probation, according to court records, after pleading guilty late last year to disorderly conduct and fighting during a late-night bar incident in Scottsdale, Ariz. — the second such arrest in Arizona in seven years.
Epshteyn declined to answer questions on the record about those arrests, or any other topic, for this article.
He earned Trump’s loyalty by aggressively pushing false claims about the 2020 presidential election and carrying out Trump’s post-election wishes in states Biden won, according to interviews with 13 people familiar with Trump’s inner circle, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. They said he elevated his rank on the legal team handling the Mar-a-Lago documents case by flattering Trump and feeding his taste for conflict — including presenting options to take a confrontational stance toward the Justice Department while other lawyers counsel a more collaborative approach.
Federal campaign filings shows that Epshteyn has earned almost $1 million from Trump-aligned candidates — who hired him in part to sway the former president for political support, according to advisers on multiple campaigns. While Trump admires Epshteyn for his loyalty, work ethic and willingness to thrust himself into controversies on his behalf, other Trump advisers and lawyers say they fear he is a legal liability — a “sycophant,” one said, who has given Trump the kind of advice that has worsened situations. [Continue reading…]