VP Pence hires outside counsel for Russia investigation

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Vice President Mike Pence has brought in outside legal counsel to handle his response to the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between Russian officials and members of President Trump's campaign.

Pence's spokesman confirmed Thursday that the vice president had retained Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods "to assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel," referring to former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

"The Vice President is focused entirely on his duties and promoting the President's agenda and looks forward to a swift conclusion of this matter," Jarrod Agen told Fox News.

Cullen previously served as Virginia attorney general and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He also served as special counsel to Virginia Sen. Paul Trible during the Iran-Contra investigation and was a member of former President George W. Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount, according to his official biography.

President Trump has also hired a private lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. Trump denies doing anything wrong and calls the efforts a "witch hunt."

A senior aide to Pence told Fox News that Cullen's retention was not related to recent reports about the progress of Mueller's investigation or the investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committes.

Pence chaired the president's transition after the election — a period during which Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn had repeated contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The Associated Press and other news organizations have also reported that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in December proposed a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.

Scrutiny of the president's actions has intensified since he fired FBI director James Comey last month. Cullen and Comey used to work together at McGuireWoods.

Fox News' Serafin Gomez and the Associated Press contributed to this report.