Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani (AP/Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

Trump world sours on Rudy: Giuliani's status with Trump now uncertain

President Donald Trump may be losing faith in his lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani


Matthew Rozsa
January 23, 2019 10:32PM (UTC)

New reports reveal that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been working pro bono as President Donald Trump's lawyer amidst the Robert Mueller investigation, is losing the faith of the president.

The underlying issue seems to be that Giuliani's statements in interviews wind up undermining the president's positions as he faces legal peril and even creates news controversies of their own. The president was livid when Giuliani said over the weekend that Trump had been involved in discussions about building a Trump Tower in Moscow right up until the end of the 2016 presidential election, according to Politico. Although most of the White House shares Trump's frustration with Giuliani and believes that his public misstatements have caused unnecessary headaches, the president still sees value in Giuliani's ability to attack Mueller and congressional Democrats and thereby turn what might otherwise be a strictly legal battle into a political one.

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"We’ve known each other for 30 years. And I haven’t heard him complain,” Giuliani told Politico when asked about reports that the president is dissatisfied with him. “And nobody in the White House would complain to me. They just do it behind my back."

The former New York City mayor also insisted that he understands the facts of the case quite well and "can spin them honestly, argue them several different ways." He insisted that when his comments have caused controversy, it is because "people don’t understand, or people don’t want to understand, alternative arguing, which is what you do in court all the time. People who want to understand it, do."

Yet the tensions between Trump and Giuliani have lasted for weeks, according to Vanity Fair. As reporter Gabriel Sherman wrote:

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Trump is “furious” with Giuliani’s recent botched press appearances, two Republicans briefed on the president’s thinking told me. What makes the most recent interviews so frustrating to Trumpworld is that, on Friday, the president secured his biggest victory yet when Robert Mueller’s spokesman issued a rare public denial of BuzzFeed’s explosive report alleging Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow. “Before Rudy stepped in it, Mueller had basically called BuzzFeed ‘fake news,’” a Republican close to the White House said. According to sources, a debate is playing out inside the West Wing over Giuliani’s future. Trump is being encouraged by several people, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, to dump Giuliani before it’s too late, while outside advisers Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie are lobbying Trump to keep Giuliani. “Trump is screaming. He’s so mad at Rudy,” one of the sources said. (“No, he’s not pissed. He just wants it clarified,” Giuliani told CNN’s Dana Bash on Tuesday, when asked about the president’s response to the interviews.) The White House had not responded to a request for comment by press time.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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