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Giuliani Joins Trump Russia Legal Team 04/20 06:19

   Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald 
Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers 
representing the president in the special counsel's Russia investigation.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken 
supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the 
team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel's Russia 
investigation.

   With the addition of Giuliani, Trump gains a former U.S. attorney, a past 
presidential candidate and a TV-savvy defender at a time when the White House 
is looking for ways to bring the president's involvement with special counsel 
Robert Mueller's investigation to a close.

   The president has been weighing whether to sit for questioning by Mueller's 
team, and his legal team has repeatedly met with investigators to define the 
scope of the questions he would face. Giuliani will enter those negotiations, 
filling the void left by attorney John Dowd, who resigned last month.

   It's a precarious time for Trump. His legal team has been told by Mueller 
that the president is not a target of the investigation, suggesting he's not in 
imminent criminal jeopardy. But he is currently a subject of the probe --- a 
designation that could change at any time.

   Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow told The Associated Press that Giuliani 
will be focusing on the Mueller investigation --- not the legal matters raised 
by the ongoing investigation into Trump attorney Michael Cohen. That probe is 
being led by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, an office that Giuliani headed in 
the mid- to late 1980s.

   Cohen's office, home and hotel room were raided last week by the FBI, who 
are investigating the lawyer's business dealings, including suspected bank 
fraud. They also sought records related to payments to porn actress Stormy 
Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claim to have had 
sexual encounters with Trump several years ago. The White House has denied the 
claims.

   The raids enraged Trump, prompting him to publicly weigh whether to fire 
Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He also intensified his 
public attacks on the Mueller investigation, calling it "an attack on our 
country."

   In a statement announcing Giuliani's hire, Trump expressed his wish that the 
investigation wrap up soon and praised Giuliani, a fellow New Yorker, confidant 
and Mar-a-Lago regular.

   "Rudy is great," Trump said. "He has been my friend for a long time and 
wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country."

   Giuliani will be joining Sekulow on Trump's personal legal team but will be 
working closely with White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who has also been handling the 
administration's cooperation with the Mueller investigation.

   "It is an honor to be a part of such an important legal team, and I look 
forward to not only working with the President but with Jay, Ty and their 
colleagues," Giuliani said in a statement.

   In addition to Giuliani, two other former federal prosecutors --- Jane 
Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin --- will be joining Trump's legal team. The two, 
who are married and run a law firm together, are based in Florida but handle 
cases across the United States. Both have extensive experience prosecuting 
organized crime and representing defendants in complex white-collar and fraud 
investigations.

   Giuliani, who was New York mayor during the Sept. 11 attacks, has known 
Trump for decades and his aggressive, hard-charging rhetorical style can at 
times mirror that of the president.

   He had widely been expected to join Trump's administration. But Giuliani 
rejected the idea of becoming attorney general, lobbying Trump to name him 
secretary of state. Trump picked Rex Tillerson and Giuliani was left without a 
Cabinet post.

   The two men share similar policy ideals, publicly supporting law enforcement 
in ways that have alienated minorities, and taking bullish stances on 
immigration enforcement.

   In 2016, for instance, Giuliani fiercely criticized the Black Lives Matter 
movement, saying it encouraged violence against police. More recently, he has 
said he was consulted by Trump on how to implement the travel ban put in place 
last year against Muslim-majority nations.

   Giuliani has been working at the influential law firm Greenberg Traurig, 
where he has been a senior adviser and head of the firm's cybersecurity, 
privacy and crisis management practice.

   On Thursday, the firm's executive chairman Richard A. Rosenbaum released a 
statement saying Giuliani would be taking a leave of absence "for an 
unspecified period of time to handle matters unrelated to the law firm or its 
clients."

   Giuliani's addition to the Trump legal team puts a renewed spotlight on his 
past legal and consulting work. His flirtation with becoming Trump's secretary 
of state was thwarted, in part, because of growing concerns about his overseas 
business ties.

   After leaving office as mayor, Giuliani advised foreign political figures 
and worked for lobbying and security firms whose clients have had complicated 
relationships with the U.S. government. While not personally involved in 
lobbying, Giuliani spent years at firms that represented foreign governments 
and multinational companies, some of which had interests that diverged from 
those of the United States.

   That included a trip Giuliani took to Belgrade to meet with leaders of a 
Serbian political party once allied with Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

   His consulting firm also did work in the Persian Gulf monarchy of Qatar and 
received money for supporting the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the Iranian dissident 
group, even as it was a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

   More recently, Giuliani's work for Greenberg Traurig, who is a registered 
foreign agent for the government of Turkey, has drawn attention for his 
involvement in a high-profile case with foreign policy implications for the 
U.S-Turkey relationship.

   Last year, Giuliani joined former Bush administration attorney general 
Michael Mukasey in working to resolve the case of Reza Zarrab, a 
Turkish-Iranian businessman who was accused of participating in a scheme to 
help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. The case also focused on allegations of 
corruption against Turkish officials, including Turkey's president, Recep 
Tayyip Erdogan.

   Erdogan's government had pressured the U.S. government to drop the case, and 
in early 2017, Giuliani met with Erdogan to discuss whether the case could be 
resolved outside of court.

   Despite Giuliani's intervention, Zarrab later pleaded guilty and testified 
for U.S. prosecutors against a former Turkish bank official who was himself 
later convicted. Zarrab later said the failure of Giuliani's effort led him to 
cooperate with prosecutors.


(KA)

 
 
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