In meeting Mueller, Giuliani quickly gets to core of representing Trump
Rudy Giuliani isn’t wasting time as Donald Trump’s newest lawyer.
Hired late last week as the president’s top personal attorney, Giuliani held his first meeting on Tuesday with special counsel Robert Mueller in a bid to jump-start talks on whether Trump will even be called in for an interview as part of the Russia investigation.
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Giuliani’s sit-down with Mueller, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed to POLITICO by a senior administration official, came after a series of other meetings the former New York mayor has held as he tries to quickly get up to speed on the nearly yearlong investigation, which has overwhelmed the White House.
Since his hiring, Giuliani had dinner in Washington with Jay Sekulow, another member of Trump’s outside legal team, who had been filling in as the lead attorney in the wake of John Dowd’s resignation last month.
Giuliani also met in South Florida with Marty and Jane Raskin, Miami-based former federal prosecutors whose hiring was announced last Thursday in tandem with his own.
Sekulow declined to comment on Giuliani’s interactions with the special counsel but told POLITICO that Trump’s new lawyer was “fully engaged with the representation of the president.”
“He’s hitting the ground running,” Sekulow said.
Giuliani, who has a second home in South Florida near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, signaled his plan to drive the Russia investigation to a swift conclusion soon after his hiring, telling CNN he wanted to try to bring the Mueller inquiry to an end within “maybe a couple of weeks.”
But that timeline may clash with reality.
Mueller is preparing for a possible July trial against Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to charges that include bank and tax fraud. And several potential witnesses in the investigation, including Vice President Mike Pence, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya have yet to be interviewed, according to multiple sources tracking the investigation.
Longtime Giuliani associates who have spoken to the former mayor in the days both before and after he accepted the job representing Trump have told POLITICO that in private he has tried to soften expectations.
“What he said to me was: ‘There’s no magic dust. I might have a fresh perspective. I don’t have a magic wand,’” said Tony Carbonetti, a longtime Giuliani adviser.
“Rudy Giuliani does not believe he’s a miracle worker,” added Jon Sale, a Giuliani law school classmate.
Sale, a former federal prosecutor who served on the Watergate team, said he expected that Giuliani would be careful in his interactions with Mueller’s team of investigators and not push them where they weren’t prepared to go.
“Rudy knows that he doesn’t determine the outcome of cases,” Sale said. “He knows that as well as he knows how to breathe. He knows you have credibility, which you can lose in an instant.”