Rudy Giuliani resigned from his private law firm on Wednesday as he steps up his work as personal counsel for President Donald Trump in the Russia probe.
The former New York mayor initially took unpaid leave last month from Greenberg Traurig’s New York office, but in a joint statement released Thursday, the cabinet and Giuliani confirmed the separation was permanent.
“In light of the pressing demands of the Mueller inquiry, I think it is in everyone’s best interests that I make it a permanent resignation,” Giuliani said, referring to the special advocate’s inquiry. Robert Mueller. “In this way, my only focus can be on this issue of critical importance to our country.”
Giuliani joined Greenberg Traurig in January 2016 to lead his cybersecurity and crisis management practice. But his foray into presidential politics as a vocal supporter of the Trump campaign sidelined him from the business in October until the election.
Richard Rosenbaum, executive chairman of Greenberg Traurig, said Thursday in a statement that Giuliani had initially planned to step down “to play a limited role, for a short time, to deal with specific issues for President Trump.”
But Rosenbaum said Giuliani changed his plans “after recognizing that this work is exhausting and takes longer than originally planned.”
The Miami-based law firm is also involved in the Russia investigation. His client list includes Deutsche Bank, one of Trump’s main lenders, the Trump Organization and the family-owned real estate company of Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law.
Bloomberg reported last December that Mueller subpoenaed the bank for files on Trump loans, although he later corrected the article to say the subpoena came from the special advocate but did not not specifically aimed at the president.
Giuliani has become a lightning rod for critics since taking a leadership role on the president’s legal team last month, especially about his responses to television interviews about Trump’s role in the Stormy saga. Daniels, as well as why he fired FBI Director James. Comey.
The president privately blamed his associates that Giuliani’s media appearances were not helping to cover up Daniels’ story, POLITICO reported earlier this week.
But Trump and his team also publicly supported the lawyer. “He thinks he’s done a good job,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at her daily briefing on Wednesday.
Giuliani, a two-term former mayor who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, hasn’t completely given up on some of his other concerts. He attended a rally last weekend in Washington for the Iranian Freedom Convention for Human Rights and Democracy. This week, he traveled to Dallas on Tuesday for a speech at the grand opening of a billion dollar real estate complex, then was seen on Wednesday night sitting two rows behind the plate at Yankee Stadium during a Nationally televised baseball game against the Boston Red Sox.
In an interview earlier this week, Giuliani said he maintains a busy schedule to learn the nuances of the Russia case, but also continues to do work that extends beyond Trump. He noted that he had a business trip to Paris next month. “Governments around the world trust me to provide their cybersecurity and pay me millions of dollars to do so,” he said.
Within Trump’s legal team, Giuliani has played a leading role in negotiating the terms of an interview between Mueller and Trump, although it is still unclear whether such a meeting will take place.
While the president has publicly signaled that he wants to meet with the special counsel, Giuliani told POLITICO that Trump and his lawyers plan to make a decision by May 17 – the first anniversary of the special counsel’s appointment – on their consent to an on-site interview or perhaps open a larger legal battle if Mueller issues a subpoena. This fight could reach the Supreme Court.
Giuliani’s arrival on Trump’s personal legal team added a leading criminal law expert who had previously held senior positions for President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department. Other lawyers working for the president include Emmet Flood, who began this week at the White House handling the official response to the Russia inquiry, and Ty Cobb, who is expected to retire at the end of May.
Outside are conservative lawyer and radio talk show host Jay Sekulow and the Miami-based team of lawyers made up of Jane and Martin Raskin.