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Can Rudy Giuliani handle the job every other high-powered lawyer turned down?

The former mayor of New York has at last secured himself a position in Trump's White House—but the role is an unenviable one

20 April 2018

9:49 PM

20 April 2018

9:49 PM

So Rudy Giuliani finally got a job from Donald Trump.

The former mayor of New York was one of the few establishment Republican figures to back Trump early in his run for president. His support was enthusiastic, and he broadcast it forcefully and repeatedly during the campaign. He thought it would lead to a plum post in a Trump administration—he had his sights set high, on either secretary of state or attorney general—but he was rebuffed. Now he’s got a job, though it’s one almost no one else in the country wanted: personal legal counsel to the president.


“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 Washington Post. It was one of the most politic things Rudy Giuliani has said in a long time. Rather than attack the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible American connections to it—something his new boss likes to do—Giuliani took a diplomatic approach, one that recognizes Mueller is a public servant with a task he can’t simply turn his back on. “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. That recognition makes the other part of his first comment a little hard to understand. How does one “negotiate an end” to an investigation that isn’t meant to end until the whole story is uncovered?

Giuliani, who is taking a leave from law firm Greenberg Traurig while he serves Trump, has some qualifications for the job besides his loyalty. (In his speech—though to many, it felt more like an angry rant—at the Republican National Convention in 2016, Giuliani said, “I have known Donald Trump for almost 30 years, and he has created and accomplished great things, in my city and all over the world.”) The lawyer was once the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York—exactly the jurisdiction in which another of Trump’s personal lawyers, Michael Cohen, is being investigated.

It was the FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office that led Trump to rethink his position that he’d be happy to sit down for a chitchat with Mueller and his legal team. There’s something ironic about that, because Trump’s refusal to take the advice not to is reportedly the main reason for the resignation of John Dowd, who led the president’s personal legal team in the Russia investigation until last month.

Can Giuliani handle a job that every other high-powered lawyer asked by Trump turned down? The man who was New York mayor when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001, is a tough, often heated guy. But he’s also 73 and in the midst of his third divorce. The Washington Post hints at some rumors going around D.C. with this line about Trump’s newest lawyer: “He has been frequently been seen holding court at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, dining and drinking with friends and browsing for gourmet cigars.”


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