Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and longtime friend of President Trump, will join the president’s legal team in an effort to “quickly” resolve the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties to Trump associates.
Mr. Trump will also bring on Jane Serene Raskin and Martin R. Raskin, former federal prosecutors based in Florida, according to Mr. Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow. Mr. Giuliani is himself a former federal prosecutor.
“The president said: ‘Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country,’” Mr. Sekulow said in a statement.
The three new lawyers give Mr. Trump a broader legal stable to rely on as he faces not just the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, but the threat of an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan into the president’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. Federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s office and hotel room last week.
Mr. Trump has a difficult time retaining top-flight lawyers as the inquiries have increasingly unsettled him, and he has angrily chafed against his lawyers’ legal strategies.
Mr. Trump and his associates believe the issues in New York pose a far greater challenge to the president than even Mr. Mueller’s investigation. They do not know what was taken from Mr. Cohen’s office, and it is not clear what exactly investigators are looking into. But the fact that the authorities were able to get a federal judge to give them permission to raid Mr. Cohen’s office and residences has led Mr. Trump and his associates to believe the government possesses some evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Cohen.
In hiring Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump has turned to someone who is a reliable, loyal surrogate and an attack dog on television. Mr. Giuliani is a former top official at the Justice Department and served as the United States attorney in Manhattan. But at age 73 he is no longer known as a powerhouse white-collar litigator and in recent years has been more active as a worldwide consultant.
One person close to Mr. Trump said the Raskins will be the longer-term and more durable additions to the team. Mr. Giuliani, by contrast, is coming on board as a short-timer not only to appear on television but also to see if he can use his decades-long ties with Mr. Mueller to re-establish a working relationship with the special counsel’s team. The relationship between the president’s lawyers and Mr. Mueller’s team blew up after agents raided Mr. Cohen.
Mr. Giuliani’s main focus will be on bringing an end to Mr. Mueller’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice and links between his campaign and Russia. As part of those efforts, Mr. Giuliani will take the lead dealing with Mr. Mueller’s office on an interview with Mr. Trump. The president and his lawyers do not believe Mr. Trump has any real legal exposure but are wary of the interview.
At the same time, though, they have determined that for Mr. Mueller to complete his inquiry in a timely manner, Mr. Trump will need to sit down for questioning. Mr. Giuliani plans to try to work with Mr. Mueller to come up with a way to question Mr. Trump that both sides are comfortable with.
The addition of Mr. Giuliani comes at a particularly tumultuous time for the president. Last month the president’s lead lawyer, John Dowd, quit the team after he determined the president was not following his advice. For much of the past month, the team has been led by Mr. Sekulow, who has had to assemble a new group of lawyers to deal with the issues in New York and another team to confront Mr. Mueller.
At the same time, Mr. Mueller has been pressuring Mr. Trump to sit down for an interview. The president, who initially said he was eager to answer Mr. Mueller’s questions under oath, is said to be more skeptical of an interview in the wake of the raid on Mr. Cohen’s office.
After Mr. Dowd quit, many well-known lawyers turned down the opportunity to join the president’s legal team. Some said that they did not believe Mr. Trump would listen to them and that their firms did not want to be associated with the president. But after the raid on Mr. Cohen, many more lawyers have become interested in working for Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the matter. The lawyers believe the government overstepped its bounds by executing a warrant at a lawyer’s office and have contended the government violated the attorney-client privilege between Mr. Cohen and his clients.
Mr. Trump negotiated the discussions to have Mr. Giuliani join his team with Mr. Giuliani directly, a person close to the process said. Mr. Trump had repeatedly offered Mr. Giuliani the job of attorney general during the transition, but Mr. Giuliani turned it down because he wanted to be secretary of state.
Mr. Trump turned to Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, to be attorney general, but has publicly criticized Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia inquiry. Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Sessions should be protecting him from the inquiry.
Some close to the president believe he could try to replace Mr. Sessions with Mr. Giuliani in the coming months, although Mr. Giuliani would face an extremely difficult confirmation hearing in the Senate. When Mr. Giuliani sought the secretary of state job, Trump advisers, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, raised concerns about his business dealings and paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Mr. Giuliani will be taking a leave of absence from his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, while he works for Mr. Trump. Three people close to the former mayor said that Greenberg Traurig lawyers were distressed that Mr. Giuliani was taking on the new role. Many at the firm were already uncomfortable with Mr. Giuliani’s work for the Trump campaign, his outspoken opinions and his role in helping to write the president’s first travel ban that affected mostly Muslim countries.
James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director Mr. Trump fired, is critical of Mr. Giuliani in his new book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” (Mr. Giuliani was Mr. Comey’s boss when Mr. Comey went to work for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan in 1987.)
“Though Giuliani’s confidence was exciting, it fed an imperial style that severely narrowed the circle of people with whom he interacted, something I didn’t realize was dangerous until much later: a leader needs the truth, but an emperor does not consistently hear it from his underlings,” Mr. Comey wrote.
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