Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump who earned a name for himself prosecuting mobsters, told The Washington Post on Thursday that he has joined the president's legal team dealing with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III's ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani told The Post.
Giuliani, who joins a legal team that has struggled to recruit new members to its ranks, told The Post he has been speaking with the president for weeks about joining his legal team. The former mayor said he would work alongside Trump’s current attorneys, Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb.
Giuliani will soon take a leave from his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, The Post reports. The former mayor also said he recently formalized his decision, having discussed it over dinner last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Giualini’s entry into Trump’s personal legal team won’t be the first time he’ll cross paths with Mueller. Indeed, Giuliani has previously worked with Mueller at the Justice Department and while he was the mayor of New York. At that time, Mueller was at the FBI.
“[Giuliani] hopes [his relationship with] Mueller can help bring the investigation to conclusion, saying it ‘needs a little push ... maybe a couple of weeks,’” CNN's Dana Bash reports.
Giuliani and Trump talked on Thursday about a legal strategy moving forward, along with Sekulow, whom Giuliani called a “good friend,” according to The Post. Giuliani also told The Post that he and Cobb spoke on Wednesday.
When asked whether Trump has made a final decision on whether to sit for an interview with Mueller and his team, Giuliani said, "It’s too early for me to say that."
Trump has been debating for weeks whether to do so, shifting between wanting to meet with Mueller to moving away from the idea, especially after the FBI raided the home and offices of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, this month.
Giuliani also declined to discuss whether Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has been under scrutiny from conservatives and oversees the Russia probe, could soon be fired by President Trump.
“I’m not involved in anything about those issues. My advice on Mueller has been this: He should be allowed to do his job, he’s entitled to do his job,” Giuliani told The Post.
Trump has reportedly raised the possibility of nominating Giuliani to be attorney general in July. Many top white-collar lawyers, such as Theodore Olson, have declined Trump's offers to join his personal legal team.
In late March, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough expressed incredulity that President Trump had been unable to find a leading lawyer to represent him in the Mueller's investigation. He pointed out that while the job of representing the president of the U.S. is "the dream of a lifetime for any attorney," few lawyers were willing to defend a client who would lie and ignore their advice, tarnish their reputation and then fail to pay the final bill.
"It is very clear, and we've heard it around Washington, we heard [GOP lawyer] Ted Olson talk about it — nobody wants to be this guy's lawyer," Scarborough said. "They don't want to be his lawyer, because first of all, he doesn't pay his bills. And secondly, he lies to lawyers all the time. They can't trust him going into court."
Scarborough's comments came after John Dowd, President Trump's lead lawyer on the Russia probe, resigned. Dowd allegedly quit Trump's legal team amid disagreements on handling the response to the Russia investigation, according to CNN.