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Rudy Giuliani (L) and Donald Trump
Rudy Giuliani (L) and Donald Trump

Trump Legal Team in Tatters

Following public comments by Trump’s new chief lawyer, other members of the US president’s legal team were bewildered as Giuliani appeared to veer off course from Trump’s previous statements about his legal issues
Giuliani both provided new details and contradicted previous statements about the matters. He said Wednesday night that Trump had funneled money to Cohen to reimburse him for the Daniels payoff and that the president got rid of Comey to stop him from purs

Trump Legal Team in Tatters

Public comments by Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's new chief lawyer, about the US president and attorney Michael Cohen in the last 24 hours threw a wrench in Trump's legal strategy, angering and confusing some members of the freshly formed team.
Some of the president's legal advisers felt blindsided by Giuliani's comments Wednesday night, according to multiple sources familiar with the team, CNN reported.
Following Giuliani's performance with Sean Hannity on Fox News, the advisers feared he was winging it and not fully prepared, sources said. Even if Giuliani had devised a plan with the president, he had not run it by all other legal advisers, according to a source familiar with Trump's legal team.

***Two Fronts
The US president has been fighting on two fronts: his connection to Cohen related to adult actress Stormy Daniels' hush payment and his intention in firing former FBI director James Comey.
Previously, Trump said he had no knowledge of the agreement with and payment to Daniels, and has given different answers about why he fired Comey last year.
Giuliani both provided new details and contradicted previous statements about the matters. He said Wednesday night that Trump had funneled money to Cohen to reimburse him for the Daniels payoff and that the president got rid of Comey to stop him from pursuing the Russia inquiry.
Lawyers who work on the team were surprised when Giuliani appeared to veer off course from Trump's previous statements about his legal issues, according to sources familiar with their thinking.
Some advisers close to the president have speculated that Giuliani's statements were planned solely with Trump, and they see it as more evidence that Trump is running his legal strategy.
The team is "calling it one play at a time," said a source familiar. "It's as if the players are executing the plays on their own," added the source, referring to Trump and Giuliani.
Giuliani told CNN on Thursday that he had spoken with the president both before and after his appearance with Hannity and it was coordinated carefully.
"You won't see daylight between me and the president," he said, pointing to Trump's tweets in support of what he said and did.
Giuliani was brought aboard to publicize Trump's message that he had not been treated fairly, that Hillary Clinton had received better treatment from investigators and that former FBI director James Comey should not be believed. Giuliani also is tasked with negotiating with special counsel Robert Mueller's team over an interview with the president.
But Giuliani upended the strategy Wednesday, sources said. His comments poured fuel on the Stormy Daniels case, which is a focus in the New York-based investigation of Cohen, complained one source.
"It's a sideshow," a source familiar with the legal team said. "Why now? They're just getting in there to finish this thing. Why raise the question?"


>Limited Interview
Giuliani said on Thursday that if his client agrees to an interview with Mueller, it should be limited to a few hours and focus on Russian tampering in the 2016 election.
Asked what questions might be appropriate, the lawyer Rudy, a former New York mayor, suggested two to Reuters: "Was there some agreement with the Russians? Was there any meeting of Trump with the Russians?"
Giuliani said he wanted any Trump interview with Mueller to be limited in time and scope, suggesting for only 2-1/2 hours and not under oath.
In addition to the Russia questions, Giuliani said investigators could ask about possible obstruction of justice related to Trump's firing a year ago of Comey.
The two sides have been negotiating the terms of a possible interview for months, including topics Mueller might pursue as part of a nearly year-old inquiry into possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign.
The Kremlin has denied assertions by US intelligence agencies that it meddled in the election. Trump has denied any collusion and has described the investigation as a political witch hunt.

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