Giuliani's international activities have raised questions about whom he represents and sent mixed messages to foreign governments, experts say.That October, he traveled to Armenia to headline a pro-Russia conference where he met with the country's acting defense minister. In November, Giuliani flew to Uruguay to discuss a security plan with President Tabaré Vázquez. And in December, he journeyed to Bahrain and had a one-on-one meeting with King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa in the royal palace.
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For weeks, prominent Republican advisers have been privately imploring President Donald Trump to sideline Rudy Giuliani after a barrage of inconsistent, combative and occasionally cringe-inducing media interviews, according to three people familiar with the conversations.
And that was before the arrest of two foreign-born businessmen who reportedly helped Giuliani try to discredit former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democrat to take on Trump in next year’s election. Several reports have indicated Giuliani himself may be caught up in the probe.
Lawyer: probe of Giuliani business dealings began early 2019
Federal examination of Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine associates date to early 2019; NY lawyer questioned by FBIKenneth McCallion, who has represented several Ukrainian clients including former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in U.S. court cases, said the agents contacted him in February or March. They asked whether Giuliani, who is President Donald Trump's personal attorney, had business dealings with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
Yet Trump remains linked to Giuliani, who was initially hired to help fend of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigators, but who now may have pulled the president into another investigation — one that might lead to impeachment. While the president has long appreciated Giuliani’s pugnacious and never-back-down attitude, Trump allies fear Giuliani will damage Trump with his long-winded monologues and free-wheeling accusations.
The constant sniping from staff could ultimately force Trump to dump his long-valued fixer, as he has done with former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and countless other ousted officials, like ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
“Rudy Giuliani needs to stop talking,” said a former campaign official who remains close to Trump’s team.
Impeachment inquiry shows Trump at the center of Ukraine efforts against rivals
A growing body of evidence makes clear it was Trump himself who repeatedly pushed his own government and a foreign power to intervene in domestic political concerns.Over two weeks of closed-door testimony, a clear portrait has emerged of a president personally orchestrating the effort to pressure a foreign government to dig up dirt on a potential 2020 political rival — and marshaling the full resources of the federal bureaucracy to help in that endeavor.
Giuliani has been Trump’s attack dog since he was hired as an unpaid personal attorney April 2018. But the president’s unpaid personal lawyer has now found himself at the center of an unfolding controversy over the president’s attempts to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.
To numerous Trump advisers, though, the appearances have hurt more than they’ve helped the president.
“Rudy right now needs to focus on himself and not Ukraine,” said an outside Trump adviser.
For now, Trump is sticking with Giuliani, or “My Rudy,” as Giuliani said the president sometimes calls him. “Nothing has changed on that,” said Giuliani’s own attorney, Jon Sale.
Trump said late Friday he didn't know if Giuliani was still his attorney. “I haven't spoken to Rudy,” he said. “I spoke to him yesterday, briefly. He's a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”
Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate's firm
Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate's firmThe businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.
That’s good for Trump, Giuliani argued.
“I’m not a puppy — I know what I’m doing,” he said. If he didn’t represent Trump, Giuliani added, “they would let him be a punching bag.”
At least one Republican suggested Giuliani would not leave even if Trump wanted him to. Either way, Giuliani is not going away, given his central role in the budding Ukraine controversy.
Giuliani fed Trump the information that largely led the president in a phone call to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The former New York mayor had spent months trying to make contact with Ukrainian officials to collect evidence and convince them that they should be looking at Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian gas company and Joe Biden’s Obama-era efforts to have a Ukrainian prosecutor removed over corruption concerns. There is no public evidence that either Joe or Hunter Biden broke any laws.
Trump backs 'legendary' Giuliani amid reports of investigation into possible lobbying violations
President Trump on Saturday gave his backing to Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney.“So now they are after the legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani,” Trump tweeted. “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer.
Don Goldberg, who helped respond to congressional investigations in the Clinton White House, said Giuliani shouldn’t be helping Trump when he’s facing his own problems.
“It’s so messed up,” he said. “You’d think a president would want to have competent counsel if you’re talking about fighting for your political life. We’re so far not seeing that with the caliber he’s been using.”
Giuliani suggested in an interview this week that his television appearances could be reduced now that Trump’s legal team is expanding.
Some also speculated that the recent addition of former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to the Trump impeachment legal team was an attempt to reduce Giuliani’s appearances on the airwaves.
Although Gowdy — who led the congressional investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks — won’t start as a Trump attorney until January, he could appear as a surrogate on television in the meantime.
Democrats initially launched an investigation into Trump on Sept. 24 after learning about his call with Zelensky.
And Giuliani has been talking — a lot.
On Sept. 19, he denied he asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, only to admit it 30 seconds later.
On Sept. 24, he blew up at radio host Christopher Hahn during a joint television appearance, calling him a “moron” and an “idiot.”
How two Soviet-born emigres made it into elite Trump circles — and the center of the impeachment storm
Before they were arrested on campaign finance violations, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman demonstrated a facility for capitalizing on their political connections.Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born emigre, appeared at a dark time in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Less than a month before the election, major GOP donors had been spooked by the revelation that Trump boasted about grabbing women during a recording of the television show “Access Hollywood.
On Oct. 6, he yelled at TV host Howard Kurtz, putting his fingers to his lips to shush him in the middle of the interview.
And in a series of phone interviews, Giuliani described himself both as a “hero” and the real “whistleblower” in the Ukraine saga, questioning why anyone would praise the person who initially raised concerns about Trump’s call.
“If I get killed now, you won’t get the rest of the story,” he warned POLITICO last month.
Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor who has written books on impeachment, said Giuliani’s primary legal role is to appear on television.
On Sept. 25, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initiated an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, following a whistleblower complaint over his dealings with Ukraine. Select Congressional committees returned to the Capitol to continue impeachment proceedings throughout the week as Congress remains on recess.
(Pictured) Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, left, arrives on Capitol Hill, on Oct. 11, in Washington, as she is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) (L), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) (R) walk down the spiral staircase in the basement of the Capitol on Oct. 11. House Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs, House Oversight and Reform Committee are taking a deposition from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as part of the impeachment inquiry.
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for travel to Minnesota from the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 10. The president spoke about the impeachment investigation, the Turkish incursion into Syria, and the Giuliani associates arrested today at Dulles airport on charges of violating campaign finance rules.
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Anti-Trump protesters hold a sign reading "impeachment" as they gather outside the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ahead of a "Keep America Great" rally by President Trump, on Oct. 10.
Rudy Giuliani says he's unaware he's under investigation for Ukraine involvement
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Saturday that he's not aware he's under investigation for his involvement with the unraveling Ukraine scandal, calling it a "political attack."When asked if he was, Giulani told CNN: "No, nothing but leaks, which has to tell you whether they are or are not investigating, it's a political attack.
The subpoena from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, on Oct. 10, is photographed in Washington. House Democrats have subpoenaed Perry as part of their impeachment investigation into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
Kevin Downing, right, attorney representing two Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, leaves the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, on Oct. 10. Two Florida businessmen tied to President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance violations resulting from a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump's re-election.
President Donald Trump responds to a question from a reporter at an event for the signing of two executive orders aimed at greater governmental transparency at the White House, on Oct. 9, in Washington.
Mike Pence answers questions from the press about the whistleblower and President Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine following his remarks on the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) at Manning Farms in Waukee, Iowa, Oct. 9.
Two competing rallies try to block one another's signs during a brief moment of confrontation near Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams office, one seeking to support McAdams and one to criticize him for supporting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, on Oct. 9, in West Jordan, Utah.
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James Evans, right, a supporters of President Donald Trump and Breanne Hughes, left, a supporter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, of Utah, argue during two competing rallies, on Oct. 9, in West Jordan, Utah.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event, on Oct. 9, 2019, in Rochester, N.H. For the first time, he called for the impeachment of Donald Trump saying, "Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed the nation, and committed impeachable acts."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, arrives to give a statement to members of the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8. The Trump administration barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from appearing before a House panel conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
An aerial view of the house of Mykola Zlochevsky, near Kyiv, Ukraine, owner of the gas company Burisma that hired Hunter Biden in 2014, on Oct. 6. Ukraine's chief prosecutor has announced a review of past cases against Zlochevsky.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters outside the White House, on Oct. 7, in Washington. Kudlow said that the U.S. has never raised former Vice President Joe Biden and his son during trade talks with China.
A sticker calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump is adhered to a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court building at the start of the court's new term on Oct. 7, in Washington, DC. With Chief Justice John Roberts in the lead, the court is scheduled to hear cases involving gun control, abortion, L.G.B.T. rights and immigration during this term.
Rep. Adam Schiff (L) (D-CA) Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence walks to a meeting with Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, at the the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 4, in Washington.
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, arrives at the Capitol where he will go behind closed doors to be questioned about the whistleblower complaint that exposed a July phone call the president had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump pressed for an investigation of Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his family, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.
U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY) speaks to reporters as Kurt Volker, U.S. President Donald Trump's former envoy to Ukraine, is interviewed in nearby offices by staff for three House of Representatives committees as part of the impeachment inquiry into the president's dealings with Ukraine, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Oct. 3.
Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, arrives for a closed-door interview with House investigators, as House Democrats proceed with the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3, before boarding Marine One for a trip to Florida. He told reporters, "China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is joined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., at a news conference as House Democrats move ahead in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 2.
John Dean, (L) former White House counsel under Richard Nixon, speaks during a town hall on impeachment with U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (R) (D-CA) at James Logan High School on Oct. 1, in Union City, California.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., joined by Communications Director Emilie Simons, walks to a secure facility in the Capitol to prepare for depositions in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Oct. 1.
A statue of former President Richard Nixon is on display along with those of other former vice presidents outside the Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 1, in Washington, DC. Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, after facing near-certainty that he would be impeached and removed from office.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as he departs a ceremonial swearing in ceremony for new Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Sept. 30.
Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, participate in an Armed Forces welcome ceremony for the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley on Sept. 30, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, defended himself on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" from accusations lodged by a former White House official that he has trafficked unfounded theories about foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, on Sept. 29.
(L-R) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) hold a news conference to mark 200 days since they passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on Sept. 27. Following the release of a whistle-blower complaint about abuse of power, the House Democratic leadership announced this week that it is launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks at a news conference on Sept. 26, in Essex Junction, Vt., where he said he supports an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Donald Trump. Scott is the first Republican governor to publicly come out in favor of the impeachment inquiry, but says he wants to know the facts before any further actions are taken.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. holds up a copy of a White House-released rough transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine as Schumer speaks to the media about an impeachment inquiry on President Trump, on Sept. 25, on Capitol Hill.
Ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talks to Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, after Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26.
A member of the audience holds a copy of the whistle-blower complaint letter sent to Senate and House Intelligence Committees during testimony by Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire,as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 26.
Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 26.
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) reacts after conferring with U.S. House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) as Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, testifies during a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 26.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 26 in Washington. Leader McCarthy discussed an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives at the Capitol, on Sept. 26, just as Joseph Maguire is set to speak publicly for the first time about a secret whistleblower complaint involving President Donald Trump.
President Trump speaks during a news conference at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can be seen standing on the right.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of House Judiciary Committee, arrives with Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) at a House Democratic Caucus meeting, on Sept. 25, in Washington.
U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), and House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) look on during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on Sept. 25, in Washington.
People stop to look at newspaper front pages, from around the US, on display at the Newseum in Washington, a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, on Sept. 25.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the House of Representatives will launch a formal inquiry into the impeachment of President Trump following a closed House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Sept. 24.
House Speaker Pelosi departs a closed-door meeting with the House Democratic Caucus as support grows within her ranks for an impeachment inquiry amid reports that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family, on Sept. 24.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) leaves a meeting with House Speaker Pelosi and walks to a meeting with the House Democratic caucus to discuss launching possible impeachment proceedings against President Trump, on Sept. 24.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden makes a statement on Ukraine during a press conference, on Sept. 24, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Slideshow by photo services
“That’s helping facilitate the political arguments the president is making,” he said. “But at some point, if impeachment gets any traction, you’re going to need somebody that can speak more clearly and more powerfully with respect to the different points of the impeachment articles that may be drafted and ratified.”
Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump attorney, are still working for Trump because they successfully represented Trump during Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
“Jay and I got us through the last one, not the peanut gallery,” Giuliani said. “The president has made his views quite well known.”
It’s not the first time prominent Republicans have complained to Trump about Giuliani. But those same allies say the situation has grown dire since the House opened its impeachment inquiry.
“I think he’s massively hurting,” said a person close to the Trump campaign. “His TV appearances are so confused and contradictory, he’s creating an impression of internal chaos.”
“He’s inarticulate,” said a Republican who speaks to the president. “Rudy hurts the president with inconsistent, confusing messages.”
One former senior administration official described it this way when asked what Trump’s strategy against impeachment should be: “Hopefully Rudy will be on the space shuttle.”
So far, Trump has not heeded the advice.
“As long as Giuliani is doing battle with the president’s perceived critics and opponents, that’s what matters to the president,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who worked for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “The efficiency of the performance isn't as important as the willingness to do battle.”
Trump admires Giuliani’s brand, his loyalty and his Trump-like style, according to people familiar with their relationship. He has both political and legal experience at the national level, and has known the president for decades.
“They have a brotherly relationship,” said a second Republican who speaks to the president. “He likes his combative style.”
Giuliani’s reputation soared after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when he was dubbed “America’s Mayor.” These days, he’s regularly mocked on late-night shows and “Saturday Night Live.” His favorable ratings dipped to their lowest point in 2018 since Gallup began their polling on him in 2004.
Still, Trump supporters credit him with helping the president survive the Mueller investigation — and now exposing the Biden allegations.
At the White House Friday, senior aide Stephen Miller forcefully defended Giuliani. “You should all be grateful Rudy Giuliani is helping to shine a light on the endemic corruption that occurred while Joe Biden was vice president,” he told reporters, alluding to unsubstantiated claims that Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son.
Republican strategist John Feehery said Trump loves what he is doing. “If this were any other president, Rudy would be a disaster,” he said. “There is a method to the madness. The goal is to always stay on offense and not be defensive.”
But there was at least one sign that Trump might be tiring of Giuliani.
On Thursday, the president told reporters he didn’t know the two Giuliani associates — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — charged with sending foreign money to U.S. political campaigns. Then, he turned the attention squarely back to Giuliani.
“You'd have to ask Rudy,” he said.
Darren Samuelsohn and Ben Schreckinger contributed to this report.