Trump Adds Giuliani to Legal Team in Wake of FBI Raid on Cohen
(Bloomberg) -- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined President Donald Trump’s personal legal team, adding a trusted ally and veteran prosecutor to a group that has struggled to attract and retain top talent.
“Rudy is great,” Trump said in a statement released Thursday by Jay Sekulow, his lawyer. “He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”
Trump announced the hire six days after a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which the Justice Department official assured the president he isn’t a target of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation or the probe into the president’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, according to several people familiar with the matter.
Giuliani, contacted by telephone, confirmed he is joining the legal team and said he is taking a “very brief” leave of absence from his firm, Greenberg Traurig LLP, to assist the president in dealing with Mueller’s investigation.
“My job is going to be to try to get him what he needs to wrap it up,” Giuliani said. “I know everybody involved, maybe they’ll trust me. ”
Giuliani added that a decision on whether Trump should agree to be interviewed by the special counsel’s team will be “up to the president” but “we’ll hash that out.”
In recent weeks, Trump has struggled to bring on attorneys and last month lost one of the key lawyers representing him.
The addition of Giuliani, who campaigned for Trump and has been an informal adviser to the president, comes after an FBI raid on Cohen’s office and home.
Trump has few senior attorneys on his team. Ty Cobb runs the White House’s response to the Russia probe, and Sekulow, a talk radio host known for arguing First Amendment cases, is leading the president’s personal team.
The previous head of that team, John Dowd, quit last month amid disagreements about strategy. Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing were announced as new hires to Trump’s team that week, but the president reversed course, with one of his other lawyers saying that conflicts precluded them from joining the team representing him in the Russia probe.
Giuliani, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, was rumored to be under consideration to be Trump’s attorney general. Instead, Trump named the former mayor an informal adviser on cybersecurity issues.
One of Giuliani’s recent clients sent shock waves through the New York legal community. Federal prosecutors in New York were preparing to try a case against an Iranian-born gold trader who they accused of helping the country launder billions of dollars in violation of U.S. sanctions. Giuliani used his political contacts in Washington to seek a dismissal of the case through diplomatic means, going outside the judicial process. The trader, Reza Zarrab, ultimately pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
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