Rudy Giuliani Lawyers Up

Caught in the middle of the Ukraine scandal, the President''s lawyer has gotten his own lawyers.

Rudy Giuliani. who has served as both one of President Trump’s private attorneys and the President’s defender-in-chief on Fox News Channel and other cable networks has retained his own lawyers as the ongoing impeachment investigation continues to reveal his own involvement with what appears to be a shadow foreign policy being conducted by the White House vis a vis Ukraine:

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said on Wednesday that he had assembled a legal team to represent him in the criminal investigation into his activities related to Ukraine, an announcement that came after weeks of sputtered attempts to find a lawyer willing to take him on as a client.

Mr. Giuliani said on Twitter that he would be represented by three lawyers, including his longtime friend, Robert J. Costello. The hires show how serious Mr. Giuliani is treating the inquiry by federal prosectors in Manhattan, who are investigating whether he violated lobbying laws in his efforts to dig up damaging information about Mr. Trump’s rivals.

“The evidence, when revealed fully, will show that this present farce is as much a frame-up and hoax as Russian collusion, maybe worse, and will prove the President is innocent,” Mr. Giuliani said on Twitter, just before naming his new lawyers.

The hires came after a weekslong search to find a lawyer who would represent Mr. Giuliani, who rose to prominence as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, the same office that is now investigating him. He has a wide range of close associates — including former prosecutors and judges — who could have taken him on as a client.

But at least four prominent attorneys declined for various reasons, according to people familiar with the matter. They included Mary Jo White, who also once led the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District, as well as Theodore V. Wells Jr., a trial lawyer at Paul, Weiss, according to people familiar with those discussions.

Another was Daniel L. Stein, a former senior prosecutor who recently held top posts in the Southern District, where he oversaw the prosecutions of public officials including Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, and Dean Skelos, the State Senate majority leader.

Mr. Stein, whose tenure and relationships in the Southern District would afford him credibility with prosecutors there, negotiated with Mr. Giuliani for two weeks and seemed close to reaching an agreement. But the deal ultimately fizzled because of a conflict at Mr. Stein’s firm, Mayer Brown, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.

Paul L. Shechtman, a partner at the law firm Bracewell and a former prosecutor who worked in federal and state courts in Manhattan, was approached roughly two weeks ago about representing Mr. Giuliani, who is also the former mayor of New York. But the firm, where Mr. Giuliani once worked, rejected the idea, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Big law firms are, for the most part, conservative institutions that often represent a wide range of clients with varying business interests, many of whom tend to shy away from controversy, regardless of their politics. Mr. Giuliani’s connection to Mr. Trump, his unpredictability and his recent history of outbursts in his frequent television appearances could make him a challenging client.

Lawyers who are solo practitioners were concerned that Mr. Giuliani, who is known to have difficulty delegating, would try to manage his own case, according to a person close to Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Giuliani’s trouble in hiring a lawyer mirrored Mr. Trump’s own difficulties attracting a top law firm to represent him as the probe by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, dragged into a second year. That difficulty — and Mr. Trump’s desire for a more vocal representative — was how the president ended up hiring Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Costello and Mr. Giuliani’s relationship dates to their time in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, where Mr. Costello was Mr. Giuliani’s intern.

Mr. Costello, who later became the deputy chief of the office’s criminal division, now works for a Manhattan law firm, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron. Mr. Costello declined to comment.

It’s certainly understandable why Giuliani would feel the need to retain representation at this point. It was just a month ago, after all, that two of his close associates were arrested on their way out of the country in connection with an unstated ongoing criminal investigation. Several days after that, it was reported that Giuliani himself was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In addition to this, Giuliani has been at the center of much of the ongoing testimony that has been released in the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Ukraine matter. For example, the former American Ambassador to Ukraine testified that it was pressure from Giuliani that led to her being forced out of her position and others have essentially stated that the President was letting Giuliani run a shadow foreign policy vis a vis Ukraine, bypassing the State Department and normal procedure. It was Giuliani, of course, who was the primary person pressuring Ukraine to open investigations of Hunter and Joe Biden, one of the demands the President had before he would release the hold on military aid that had already been authorized by Congress.

In addition to this, Giuliani’s defense of Trump in the media has raised questions of its own. Thanks to what can only be called a bizarre legal and media strategy, there are dozens of instances of Giuliani appeared on television, principally Fox News and CNN, advancing the President’s interests with regard to the Russia investigation, the accusations against Joe and Hunter Biden, and the bizarre conspiracy theory that attempts to blame Ukraine rather than Russia for 2016 election interference. Whether the matters involving Giuliani end the same way that those involving Michael Cohen have remains to be seen, but at the very least it’s clear that this President has really bad instincts when it comes to picking attorneys.

All that being said, it bears repeating that the fact that someone is under investigation and has retained counsel does not mean that an indictment is imminent or that it will ever materialize. Even an indictment does not mean that someone is guilty. Nonetheless, the vultures appear to be circulating for Rudy Giuliani and the prospect for what would be a massive fall for someone who was once without question one of the most highly regarded people in the country in the wake of the September 11th attacks appear to be highly likely. Taking all that into account, getting legal representation is obviously the smart thing to do on his part.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Pylon says:

    Costello was knee deep in this before, as he represented Cohen in dealing with Giuliani, resulting in prosecutors asking for Costello’s records. That seems odd already and perhaps a conflict (though probably one Giuliani could waive).

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    “The evidence, when revealed fully, will show that this present farce is as much a frame-up and hoax as Russian collusion, maybe worse, and will prove the President is innocent,”
    “We’re gonna go inside, we’re gonna go outside, inside and outside. We’re gonna get ’em on the run boys and once we get ’em on the run we’re gonna keep ’em on the run. And then we’re gonna go go go go go go and we’re not gonna stop til we get across that goalline. This is a team they say is… is good, well I think we’re better than them. They can’t lick us, so what do you say men?”

    What’s that you say?
    Wrong Rudy?

  3. reid says:

    I hope that when I’m 75 years old my life isn’t as stupid as Giuliani’s.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    IANAL…but my prediction; Colludy Rudy will be disbarred at the minimum.
    Conspiracy to commit bribery? Doesn’t seem like a lawyer-y thing to do.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    for someone who was once without question one of the most highly regarded people in the country

    Well…that was all BS, too…so it kinda makes sense that it would end this way for him.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t see how Trump avoids throwing Rudy under the bus. He’s the only plausible fall guy. Though Rudy may have enough on Trump to make that difficult.

  7. Tony W says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Rudy aside, it feels like a big part of the strategy is to get everyone involved in the massive scandal.

    Downstream, that means the Senate will be hesitant to convict, because it might lead to President Pelosi.

    Seems to me the best strategy is to broker a 1974-style deal whereby Pence is impeached/convicted/resigns first, then a responsible republican (say Romney) is nominated and confirmed as VP. At that point Trump is impeached/convicted/resigns.

    Guaranteeing a Republican gets to finish out this term might be the best way to assure justice is served.

  8. sam says:

    With apologies to Lord Byron, but Donald Trump is truly mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

  9. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m trying to decide: Is iuliani more or less vindictive than John Bolton.

    Trump doesn’t get that he’s backstabbing some fairly powerful, or at least prominent, people–people who can damage him badly. He still seems to think he’s in NY, where he can cheat contractors, screw employees, and bully writers and walk away laughing and unscathed.

  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Is the situation that Trump has bad instincts for choosing lawyers or that lawyers have good instincts for choosing clients? (of course, both could be at work here, I suppose)

  11. Pylon says:

    Rudy maybe should choose a lawyer whose name doesn’t remind me of a gangster who had to appear for Senate hearings or a comedian whose act was sniveling cowardice and stupidity.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    Saiontz and Kirk were unavailable?

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Trump is known for not paying his bills. I would expect that has to make things harder.

  14. Fortunato says:

    @Tony W:
    “Downstream, that means the Senate will be hesitant to convict,..

    This Senate is never going to convict.
    Mike Pence, or anyone else.

    Mitch McConnell and the GOP will make a mockery of the process – mark my words.

    Just as they did with Merrick Garland.
    Just as the did with Cavanaugh.
    Just as they did with Benghazi.
    Just as the did with the ‘IRS Scandal’.
    Just as they did with Fast & Furious.
    Just as they did when holding Eric Holder in contempt.
    Just as the did with the campaign finance violation paying off porn stars.
    Just as they did with $100+ Million foreign funded inauguration, featuring The Piano Guys and Lee Greenwood.
    Just as they did with the Mueller Report.
    Just as they did when sacrificing of the Kurds to Erdogon’s slaughter.
    Just as they did with AG Barr’s and Pompeo’s recent global extortion tour.
    Just as they’ll do with John Durham’s “investigation”.


    Democrats will -again- stomp their feet and whine.
    We’ll pull our hair out and wonder where our legal or constitutional remedies might lie.
    They’re be sporadic marches around the country. The anger will quickly morph into malaise as Donald Trump and the GOP roll straight into another, even more refined round of collusion with the Russians, the Saudi’s the Turks – any corrupt foreign entity seeking the opportunity invade a sovereign neighboring nations and again profit wildly from their ownership of a POTUS.

    The odds remain good that Trump and the GOP will again ride the continued demise of our democracy to a 2020 victory.

  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Some smart lawyer on the House side should be taking note of every Republican Senator making statements that pre-judge the Impeachment Trial. Then, upon commencement of said trial, make a huge point of insisting upon recusal because they are biased jurors. They won’t of course…but the bias of the Republican Senate should be made a huge public spectacle that forever taints the outcome.

  16. Kathy says:

    I agree Trump will very likely not be removed by the Senate.

    Which makes it absolutely imperative for the next AG to do a thorough investigation of all abuses of power and outright illegal deals and actions by Trump and his enablers, and to send people to prison for them.

    Not as a vendetta, though no doubt the GOP will paint it that way, but because if abuse of power carries no price, then nothing will stop the next person who gets it in their heads to do something even worse.

  17. Robert C says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Sadly I disagree. The system is broken. Rudy is too well connected and can afford to lawyer up. Nothing will happen to him, nothing. “The swamp”, which the Trump Cult rales about, will protect Rudy. He knows it, we all know it.

  18. Tony W says:

    @Fortunato: Totally agree, just wanted to give them an ‘out’ in case they had a shred of dignity left.

    What was I thinking?

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lawyers who are solo practitioners were concerned that Mr. Giuliani, who is known to have difficulty delegating, would try to manage his own case, according to a person close to Mr. Giuliani.

    He’s looney tunes. Fuck that shit, I already have a looney tunes wife/husband.”

  20. Kylopod says:


    This Senate is never going to convict.

    That’s been my feeling for a long time. My resolve on this point has softened a bit in recent weeks, but not my intuitive sense of the situation.

    In addition to what you mention, we have to consider that any Republican who votes to convict will instantly invite a primary challenge. And the 20-Republican minimum that would be needed for the Senate to convict almost certainly includes a bunch of seats where such a primary challenge would stand a high chance of succeeding. In contrast, I doubt very many of these Senators–if any–will appreciably increase their chances of losing to a Democrat if they vote to acquit.

    There are numerous differences between today and the 1970s. I don’t think Nixon would have been successfully forced from office today. He didn’t have the cult of personality that Trump enjoys, nor did he have Fox News. The GOP hadn’t become this complete and total circle jerk devoted to maintaining power at all costs, with an almost instinctive habit of doubling down on everything. And even if we ignore all that, the math wasn’t as daunting: the Dems held 56 seats in the Senate, meaning they only needed a minimum of 11 Republican defections, as opposed to the 20 that would be absolutely required now.

    The only thing that gives me pause is that there was a time when the idea of Nixon getting ousted through the Watergate scandal seemed far-fetched. His standing collapsed very suddenly and rapidly. Events always seem obvious in the rear-view mirror, no matter how unlikely they seemed before they occurred. Maybe, just maybe, the whole Trump madness we’re living under is a spell that will suddenly be broken, and thereafter the history books will treat his demise as having always been inevitable–a matter of when, not if. My gut tells me that’s not the case, but it’s easy enough to imagine.

    The flip side of his cult of personality is that there are numerous Republicans who are not really part of the cult–they’re just terrified of it. I’ve said it before: if a boulder came out of the sky and squashed Trump, most elected Republicans would be privately rejoicing. In fact, the ones who seem to have their heads farthest up his ass are probably, as a rule, the ones least devoted to him in secret. They’re overcompensating. They just have no idea how to get from here to there–to disentangle the party from this monster without blowing themselves up in the process.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t see how Trump avoids throwing Rudy under the bus. He’s the only plausible fall guy.

    Slovenia is really near Ukraine, isn’t it? And then he could get a younger, hotter, American First Lady, from America.

    Just because it isn’t believable doesn’t mean that it’s not a plausible way forward. Power, real power, is about making people agree with your lies even when they know they are just lies.

    Trump likes that power.

  22. Pres Comacho says:

    Rudy can go w Dementia defense; I’d buy it. Seriously, why ruin his name like this. I know he wasn’t a saint but most people, I would guess, that heard his name before Trump, thought of him as good guy Now he is a household joke.

  23. Barry says:

    @Tony W: “Seems to me the best strategy is to broker a 1974-style deal whereby Pence is impeached/convicted/resigns first, then a responsible republican (say Romney) is nominated and confirmed as VP. At that point Trump is impeached/convicted/resigns.”

    To do that, we’d have had to flip a lot of GOP Senators, enough to plausibly threaten Pence as well as Trump.

  24. Barry says:

    Doug: “…for someone who was once without question one of the most highly regarded people in the country in the wake of the September 11th attacks…”

    No, for somebody who was quite fraudulently presented as such by the so-called liberal media, because they needed *somebody* on 9/11 who didn’t screw things up.

    Frankly, he was always an overhyped BS artist.

  25. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like Trump (or someone in his entourage) is up to Trump’s old bail-and-switch tricks again….

    Given Trump’s history, you can’t help but wonder if these idiots WANT to be fooled…

  26. wr says:

    According to the Post, the brilliant new plan by the House Republicans is to concede that the Ukraine deal was corrupt, but insist that Trump had nothing to do with it — it was all freelancing by Sondland, Rudy and Mick Mulvaney.

    I know that Rudy is weirdly devoted to Trump, but somehow I don’t think he’d be willing to take the fall for him… not if it meant jail time.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    The National Enquirer covered Rudy for a long time. At a guess they’ll have caught and killed something juicy, and they’re in bed with Trump. Alternately Rudy’s just so desperate for attention he’ll set himself on fire.

  28. CSK says:

    @wr: Additionally, Trump is said to be angry at Barr for “forcing” him to release the call memo. You knows, the document about the call Trump claimed was perfect.

    Trump really is off his rocker. Does he think Cult45 can save him?

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Robert C:

    “The swamp”, which the Trump Cult rales about, will protect Rudy.

    If we’re going to discuss politics we have to understand that words do not mean to conservatives what they mean to you, or me, or Funk and Wagnalls. For them words are fuzzy things, basically a ball of emotional reactions. For you and I the swamp is corruption and elite connivance and self dealing. For them it’s some vague ball of adjunct professors and writers and all those city folk and uppity …. who get the good welfare and any public servant trying to do their job and anyone they imagine looks down on them. Rudy and Trump and Parnas and the other guy with a face made for a mugshot and all the mobsters and oligarchs, foreign and domestic, are not the swamp to them.