How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump's Clown - 2018-09-03
Giuliani returned to his law firm and, as the Mueller investigation got under way, he kept in touch with the President and his legal team. In March of 2018, Jay Sekulow told Giuliani that the relationship between the President and John Dowd, his lead defense attorney, had deteriorated. He asked whether Giuliani would consider replacing him, and Giuliani was receptive. Trump made him a formal offer over dinner at Mar-a-Lago and Giuliani left his law firm again to work for the President pro bono.
The investigations surrounding Donald Trump have become sprawling enterprises, with multiple strands that are increasingly intertwined. Disclosures about the investigations have come in piecemeal fashion, and it's easy to become confused about the nature of the accusations and the cast of characters. Giuliani is in charge of the over-all defense effort, and Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public-interest group founded by Pat Robertson, is his second-in-command. At the moment, the greatest legal peril for Trump may come from the constellation of issues relating to hush money paid during the 2016 campaign to two women who have alleged that they had affairs with Trump: the adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate. Earlier this year, Mueller referred this investigation to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which obtained search warrants for the home and office of Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney. The Southern District also recently provided immunity to two former Trump confidants in exchange for their coöperation: Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, and David Pecker, the chief executive of the parent company of the National Enquirer, which made the payment to McDougal. Last month, Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance laws by engineering these payments, which he said he had done at the direction of Trump. The prosecutors may decide to continue the investigation, or, if they find that the President was implicated in illegal activity, to return the probe to Mueller.