Trump hires Giuliani and two other lawyers in effort to rebuild his legal team
President Trump hired New York’s former mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, as one of his new lawyers Thursday, turning to one of his oldest political allies as two federal investigations have reached deep into his inner circle.
Trump said Giuliani would help him left the cloud of investigations that has hung over the White House almost since he took office last year.
“Rudy is great,” Trump said in a statement. “He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”
Giuliani’s reputation as a hard-charging, crime-busting federal prosecutor in New York in the 1980s launched his political career, and he served two terms as mayor before he made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2008. He will take a leave of absence from the law firm Greenberg Traurig to work with Trump.
The president also hired former prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin. Jay Sekulow, the president’s only personal lawyer since John Dowd resigned in March, said the married couple have “a nationwide practice and reputation for excellence and integrity.”
The decision to hire Giuliani represents a potential turning point in the president’s legal defense, placing a zealous and high-profile lawyer at the center of Trump’s multiplying legal dilemmas.
It also shows him reaching to a fellow New Yorker and avowed political supporter. Like Trump, Giuliani was a Democrat for years before he became a Republican.
Trump has struggled to hire lawyers, an unusual problem for a president. High-profile attorneys, such as former Solicitor Gen. Ted Olson, have turned down the chance to represent him. Others faced conflicts because they or their law firms had represented people involved in the Russia investigation.
Trump also is a notoriously difficult client, sometimes reluctant to accept his lawyers’ advice and often tweeting when it would be safer to stay quiet. In his business career, he earned a reputation for trying to pay law firms less than what they were owed.
Giuliani said he was excited to represent the president along with Sekulow, and Ty Cobb, who works in the White House.
“It is an honor to be a part of such an important legal team, and I look forward to not only working with the President but with Jay, Ty, and their colleagues,” Giuliani said in a statement.
Trump is eager to see special counsel Robert S. Mueller III complete his investigation into whether Trump or any of his campaign aides illegally assisted a Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign. The inquiry also is looking at whether Trump obstructed justice by trying to derail parts of the investigation.
So far, the Mueller investigation has led to charges against 19 people, including four of Trump’s former aides. Three pleaded guilty to reduced charges and are cooperating with Mueller, while the fourth, Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty and faces separate federal trials this year in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, a Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge in Washington that Mueller initially focused on Manafort because investigators believed he might have served as a “back channel” to Russian authorities during the campaign.
None of the charges against Manafort or Trump’s former aides is directly related to the Russia meddling. Trump has consistently denied “collusion” and has derided the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
The case has spawned a separate, but potentially explosive investigation into Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer in New York.
On April 9, FBI agents armed with court-approved search warrants removed 10 boxes of documents and other materials from Cohen’s home, office and hotel room. The investigation is reportedly focused, in part, on whether Cohen broke the law when he arranged hush-money payments to two women who say they had sexual encounters with Trump.
Giuliani attained national fame after he was named U.S. attorney in Manhattan in 1983, the same year that Trump finished work on the Trump Tower skyscraper on Fifth Avenue where he lived and ran his real estate and other business affairs.
Both sought the spotlight. Giuliani boosted his reputation as being tough on crime by holding “perp walks” where suspects were marched in front of TV cameras. Trump became a tabloid sensation for his affairs with women and hyped development projects.
Giuliani served as mayor from 1994 to the end of 2001, and thus led the traumatized city during and immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He tried to use that fame to run for president in 2008, but failed to gain the Republican nomination.
During the 2016 campaign, Giuliani frequently was at Trump’s side and gave a fiery speech at the Republican National Convention. After Trump won, there was talk of finding Giuliani a job in his administration, perhaps as secretary of State or a national security post. Nothing materialized, but Giuliani remained a frequent Trump defender on Fox News.
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