Rudolph W. Giuliani is still speaking for President Trump, even as his week-old comments continue to come back to bite him and complicate things for his bosses.
It was announced Thursday that Giuliani is turning his leave of absence from the law firm Greenberg Traurig into a resignation. The stated reason was that Giuliani's duties as Trump's lawyer have monopolized his time. “This is a full-time job working for the president, and we’ve got to figure this out and get this over with,” Giuliani said.
He dismissed the idea that his uneven advocacy for Trump had alienated his employer, saying that “half the firm is for [Trump], maybe half against — fifty-fifty. It wasn’t about that.”
But at least one comment Giuliani made did seem to ruffle feathers at Greenberg Traurig: when he suggested that Michael Cohen's $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels was just business as usual. “That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do, out of his law firm funds,” Giuliani told Fox News on May 2. “Michael would take care of things like this like I take care of this with my clients. I don't burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.”
Turns out, Greenberg Traurig would rather not associate itself with such arrangements.
“We cannot speak for Mr. Giuliani with respect to what was intended by his remarks,” a spokeswoman, Jill Perry, told the New York Times. “Speaking for ourselves, we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.”
In addition to suggesting Giuliani may have burned some bridges, the statement also undercuts the idea that this is a standard practice for reputable lawyers. Giuliani's own (now-former) employer is now openly disputing a central claim Giuliani made about the Cohen payment.
And it's merely the latest Giuliani comment from last week that has caused problems and been reeled back in:
- After Giuliani disclosed that Trump reimbursed Cohen and offered conflicting timelines, Trump said patronizingly that Giuliani had “just started a day ago” and wasn't up to speed. “He’ll get his facts straight,” Trump said. Giuliani later backed off his timeline.
- Giuliani initially said Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey because Comey wouldn't say Trump was not under investigation. That was significant because it contradicted the previously stated reasons for Comey's firing. Giuliani later backed off that contention.
- He said three Americans were being released by North Korea, which eventually happened this week but which the White House wasn't ready to announce at the time. When asked whether Giuliani spoke for Trump on foreign policy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a curt “Not that I'm aware of.”
So basically every major claim Giuliani made has since fallen apart and/or been disowned by either him or his employers. And yet, he still seems to have Trump's trust.