Rudy Giuliani joins Trump's legal team

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and two other colleagues, are joining President Trump's legal team, according to President Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.

Posted: Apr 20, 2018 9:13 AM
Updated: Apr 20, 2018 9:13 AM

If House Republicans thought they were helping President Donald Trump by forcing the release of James Comey's memos, they might want to think again.

The documents written by the then-FBI director, detailing his interactions with Trump, present a contemporaneous and deeply unflattering view of a President throwing his weight around in his first days in the White House -- that at the very least seems highly inappropriate.

Only special counsel Robert Mueller can decide whether the stunning accounts of conversations in which the President got the then-FBI director alone in the White House and leaned on him amount to obstruction of justice.

The Comey memos suggest Trump has a scattershot and self-obsessed mindset, brooding about his subordinates, leaks, his campaign and his inaugural crowd size and not appreciating or caring about protocol boundaries that separate the White House and the Justice Department.

Furthermore, the conversations with Comey soon after Trump moved into the White House paint a picture of a new President more concerned with own fortunes than the burden of his new responsibilities.

CNN obtained the documents, which offer a staggering insider account, after they were sent to Congress by the Justice Department on Thursday in response to requests from three GOP House committee chairmen on Capitol Hill.

Trump responded to the release of the memos on Twitter in an apparent attempt to direct conversation away from the embarrassing substance of the documents.

"So General Michael Flynn's life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don't think so!" Trump tweeted Friday morning. Hours earlier, he insisted the memos "show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?"

'I am aghast'

It's possible that the House committee chairmen wanted the memos released to undercut Comey's current book tour and to weaken the Mueller probe.

If that was the case it has backfired.

"Honestly, I am aghast that they thought this was going to be helpful to the President and undermine Comey, therefore the FBI, therefore special counsel Mueller," Jack Quinn, a former counsel to President Bill Clinton, said Thursday on CNN.

"I can't get over the fact that they made this calculation. I am sure the President is not going to be sitting up tonight writing thank you letters to them," he said.

If anything, the memos appeared to bolster the credibility of Comey -- given their exhaustive detail. Comey will be a key witness in the question of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing him.

But it was also unclear whether they showed a clear intention on the part of the President to obstruct justice. Politically, they seem unlikely to shift entrenched perceptions of Trump among his supporters and critics.

"It doesn't seem like there is very much new in there," Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist, told CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday night, also finding nothing likely to change the trajectory of the special counsel investigation.

The documents will also renew attention on the odd relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That's because while noting Trump's denial about notorious allegations that he watched prostitutes engage in lewd behavior in a Moscow hotel, they include a bizarre comment by the President about an undated conversation with Putin.

"The President said the 'hookers thing' is nonsense but that Putin had told him 'we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world' (He did not say when Putin had told him this)," Comey wrote.

Trump has vehemently denied the allegation about the prostitutes and it has not been publicly authenticated by US intelligence agencies or news organizations.

There will also be renewed debate about Trump's own judgment in personnel matters since Comey writes that he confessed to serious reservations about his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired shortly afterward.

Those questions could extend to former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, whose inquiry to Comey about Flynn showed an apparent disregard in the White House for the firewall between the FBI and the executive office of the president.

Comey writes that the then-chief of staff asked him if the FBI had a secret court surveillance order on Flynn.

The FBI director answered the question -- but also rebuked Priebus, saying it was "the kind of question that had to be asked and answered through established channels."

Return of Giuliani

The documents overshadowed an attempt by Trump to bust out of the deepening morass caused by the Russia investigation and his other legal woes.

Trump's big move Thursday was to recruit a new big-time adviser: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

It's a wonder it took this long. Like the President, Giuliani is a tough talking New Yorker who relishes a fight and proved his loyalty as a lone voice defending Trump when the "Access Hollywood" tape rocked the 2016 campaign.

He fits Trump's template in that he's a master at mixing it up on cable television and will not hang back if required to lacerate the President's enemies.

Even so, Giuliani struck an almost conciliatory note Thursday, suggesting that his acquaintance with Mueller could help him "negotiate" an end to the Russia investigation.

He later told CNN's Dana Bash that he would ask Mueller for a list of what was needed to "comply" with the rest of the investigation as soon as he can -- a process he thought could take a "couple of weeks."

Giuliani's arrival, after he was passed over as Trump's secretary of state and attorney general at the start of the administration, raises a number of questions.

First, his history with Trump, matching personality and political experience suggest that he may have as good a chance as anyone at getting his advice to stick with the President. There have been clear signs in recent weeks that Trump has been acting as his own lawyer, with mixed results.

"If Rudy is the guy that the President will listen to, will keep confidences, will establish a proper attorney-client relationship, then that potentially should be useful to him," said Carrie Cordero, former counsel to the US assistant attorney general for national security, told CNN's Erin Burnett.

Giuliani's legal acumen was proven by a renowned spell as the US attorney for the Southern District of New York before he ran for mayor. But there must be some risk that his love of the limelight could grate on the President over time, a lesson many Trump aides have had to learn.

However, the former New York mayor's apparent plan to leverage his history with Mueller to speed the end of the investigation seems highly optimistic, given the special counsel's by-the-book style.

"I don't know that it changes the dynamic in any way. The idea that he is going to cause by force of personality, or resume, or anything else Bob Mueller to go away in the course of two weeks doesn't seem very realistic to me," Preet Bharara, who was fired as the Southern District's attorney by Trump, said on CNN.

Trump, who has been searching for white collar representation for weeks, also bolstered his legal team with the husband and wife duo of Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, who are criminal defense attorneys from Florida.

Cohen factor

The President was, meanwhile, consumed by the fallout from the FBI's raid last week on Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, a source told CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

Another former Trump attorney, Jay Goldberg, told CNN on Thursday night that he was concerned Cohen will lie to prosecutors to get leniency on his own charges.

Goldberg told CNN's Gloria Borger on Wednesday that he had warned Trump in a call last Friday that Cohen could end up cooperating with prosecutors.

"Anybody who is facing 30 years never stands up," Goldberg says he told the President. "Without exception, a person facing a prison term cooperates."

Trump's concern with the plight of Cohen, who has been his personal fixer for years and intimately understands his web of business interests, raises the question of whether the President thinks that his lawyer committed a crime.

There was a semblance of good news for Trump, though, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein informed him he was not a target of the Cohen sweep, a source familiar with the matter told CNN's Jim Acosta.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43170

Reported Deaths: 1548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13790791
Ramsey5357237
Dakota278196
Stearns254919
Anoka2477114
Nobles16976
Washington132441
Olmsted131920
Mower9902
Scott9234
Rice8958
Clay62738
Blue Earth6002
Kandiyohi5951
Wright5555
Carver5092
Todd4042
Sherburne3715
Lyon3592
Freeborn3160
Watonwan2720
Steele2661
Benton2433
St. Louis24116
Nicollet21212
Martin1765
Winona15315
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1421
Otter Tail1211
Crow Wing11612
Pine1140
Chisago1121
McLeod1020
Dodge1000
Carlton960
Unassigned9238
Pipestone904
Polk893
Murray850
Isanti840
Chippewa821
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas750
Morrison701
Becker690
Meeker661
Faribault640
Beltrami580
Jackson580
Sibley582
Pennington540
Brown512
Wabasha440
Mille Lacs402
Fillmore380
Renville373
Rock350
Swift351
Houston320
Lincoln320
Yellow Medicine320
Grant310
Roseau300
Redwood250
Koochiching241
Wilkin233
Cass212
Norman210
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin170
Marshall160
Clearwater140
Pope140
Mahnomen131
Hubbard110
Stevens110
Lake90
Traverse80
Lac qui Parle60
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35769

Reported Deaths: 756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7663185
Woodbury336044
Black Hawk254459
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14938
Dallas142831
Linn141684
Scott112210
Marshall110519
Dubuque101623
Story8808
Pottawattamie84213
Wapello71531
Muscatine69745
Crawford6803
Sioux5150
Tama49029
Webster4395
Wright4021
Louisa36713
Jasper35917
Plymouth3545
Cerro Gordo3451
Warren3371
Dickinson3093
Washington2549
Hamilton2071
Boone1741
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1441
Allamakee1384
Shelby1210
Mahaska12017
Carroll1171
Franklin1170
Bremer1167
Poweshiek1118
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1032
Emmet990
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion850
Floyd842
Guthrie824
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Jackson720
Butler702
Osceola700
Sac690
Buchanan661
Calhoun662
Hancock631
Harrison630
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Lyon630
Fayette610
Humboldt611
Delaware571
Madison572
Lee542
Monroe547
Palo Alto530
Mills520
Winneshiek521
Clayton513
Grundy480
Mitchell480
Winnebago460
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union420
Howard370
Lucas354
Chickasaw320
Greene310
Unassigned310
Appanoose293
Cass290
Worth280
Ida240
Keokuk231
Page220
Van Buren211
Adair170
Audubon171
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 60°
Mason City
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Albert Lea
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 57°
Austin
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 57°
Charles City
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Clouds continue to clear as a warming trend heads our way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

The Landing MN Seeking Volunteers

Image

Finding the positives in delayed NJCAA fall sports season

Image

Day Center and RPL Updates

Image

Travel heads up. You might have to quarantine when you get there

Image

Sean's 10pm Weather 7/15

Image

Sustainable Building with Mass Timber

Image

The pandemic makes things tough for those in abusive relationships

Image

Surviving Covid-19 - a local woman's story

Image

Museum Helps With Mask

Image

State Patrol Working to Catch Speeders

Community Events