Trump May Be Having Trouble With Legal Team

Reports of friction with Giuliani, struggles to line up lawyers for impeachment fight
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2021 10:25 AM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2021 2:35 PM CST
Trump Appears to Be Angry With Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, scans the room during a Michigan House Oversight Committee hearing on suspicion of voter fraud on Dec. 2.   (Mike Mulholland/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Is Rudy Giuliani on the outs with President Trump? Multiple reports suggest as much, asserting that the president has instructed aides to stop paying the fees of his personal attorney. The friction comes as Trump attempts to assemble a legal team to defend him in the Senate's impeachment trial. Coverage:

  • Those fees: The notion of Trump-Giuliani friction first surfaced in a Washington Post story alleging that Trump is lashing out at his inner circle for his current predicament. The story puts VP Mike Pence in that category, as well as press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. But it also says Trump's relationship with Giuliani, who led the legal fight to overturn the election results, is "fracturing." The president bristled in particular at Giuliani's demand for $20,000 in daily fees as he traveled around the country on Trump's behalf, according to the story.

  • Blocked calls? The New York Times and CNN have confirmed that the president is balking at paying Giuliani's fees. The Times also notes the president's dismay at the $20,000 fee, and it adds White House officials have begun blocking Giuliani's calls to Trump.
  • Pushing back: Neither Giuliani nor Trump has addressed the reports of friction, though a tweet from Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller's account sought to downplay them. "Just spoke with President Trump, and he told me that @RudyGiuliani is a great guy and a Patriot who devoted his services to the country!" reads the tweet. "We all love America's Mayor!"
  • Lawyers wanted: Bloomberg, meanwhile, reports that Trump is struggling to assemble a legal team for the Senate impeachment fight. Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who defended him the first time, have said no, according to the story. Alan Dershowitz also is expected to opt out. As for Giuliani, the outlet doesn't expect him to be on the team because he is currently seen as such a "toxic force." Reuters reports that controversial law professor John Eastman, who spoke in DC before the Capitol riot, might make the cut.
  • Double duty: A post at the right-wing Twitchy calls attention to a report that Reps. Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik might step up to help with Trump's legal defense.
  • Not surprising? In an analysis at CNN, frequent Trump critic Chris Cillizza writes that the president's apparent trouble with Giuliani isn't a surprise. "Trump's attempts to penalize—in a pecuniary fashion—Giuliani is simply one of the latest examples of how, in the end, Trump casts out everyone who has ever been loyal to him."
(More Rudy Giuliani stories.)

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