Dear Commons Community,
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time federal prosecutor, is joining U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal legal team, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement yesterday. Giuliani was the Republican mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001, Giuliani was also the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan for much of the 1980s. During that time, he brought many high-profile cases targeting insider trading on Wall Street. Since exiting the mayor’s office, Giuliani has been in private practice, most recently at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig. The firm said Giuliani is on a leave of absence, effective today. As reported by the New York Times:
“Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and longtime friend of President Trump, will join the president’s legal team in an effort to “quickly” resolve the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties to Trump associates.
Mr. Trump will also bring on Jane Serene Raskin and Martin R. Raskin, former federal prosecutors based in Florida, according to Mr. Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow. Mr. Giuliani is himself a former federal prosecutor.
“The president said: ‘Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country,’” Mr. Sekulow said in a statement.
The three new lawyers give Mr. Trump a broader legal stable to rely on as he faces not just the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, but the threat of an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan into the president’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. Federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s office and hotel room last week.
Mr. Trump has a difficult time retaining top-flight lawyers as the inquiries have increasingly unsettled him, and he has angrily chafed against his lawyers’ legal strategies.
Mr. Trump and his associates believe the issues in New York pose a far greater challenge to the president than even Mr. Mueller’s investigation. They do not know what was taken from Mr. Cohen’s office, and it is not clear what exactly investigators are looking into. But the fact that the authorities were able to get a federal judge to give them permission to raid Mr. Cohen’s office and residences has led Mr. Trump and his associates to believe the government possesses some evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Cohen.
In hiring Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump has turned to someone who is a reliable, loyal surrogate and an attack dog on television. Mr. Giuliani is a former top official at the Justice Department and served as the United States attorney in Manhattan. But at age 73 he is no longer known as a powerhouse white-collar litigator and in recent years has been more active as a worldwide consultant.
One person close to Mr. Trump said the Raskins will be the longer-term and more durable additions to the team. Mr. Giuliani, by contrast, is coming on board as a short-timer not only to appear on television but also to see if he can use his decades-long ties with Mr. Mueller to re-establish a working relationship with the special counsel’s team. The relationship between the president’s lawyers and Mr. Mueller’s team blew up after agents raided Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Giuliani’s main focus will be on bringing an end to Mr. Mueller’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice and links between his campaign and Russia. As part of those efforts, Mr. Giuliani will take the lead dealing with Mr. Mueller’s office on an interview with Mr. Trump. The president and his lawyers do not believe Mr. Trump has any real legal exposure but are wary of the interview.
At the same time, though, they have determined that for Mr. Mueller to complete his inquiry in a timely manner, Mr. Trump will need to sit down for questioning. Mr. Giuliani plans to try to work with Mr. Mueller to come up with a way to question Mr. Trump that both sides are comfortable with.”
In a brief interview last night, Mr. Giuliani said that he planned only on working for Trump for a few weeks. This seems more like a Hail Mary pass from President Trump to disentangle himself from his legal problems. Mueller does not seem to be somebody who is going to be rushed and the Michael Cohen case in New York is just getting started.