FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (L) through the new Trump International Hotel...
Mike Segar

After saying he didn’t need one, Trump’s lawyer hires a lawyer

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/6/19, 9:05 PM ET

Trump lawyer's lawyer now also Trump's other lawyer's lawyer

Rachel Maddow points out that one of the defense lawyers who advised Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen before he was sent to prison is Robert Costello, who has not been hired by another of Trump’s personal lawyers, Rudy Giuliani.
Three weeks ago, as reports of a criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani grew louder, Donald Trump’s lawyer insisted he was unconcerned. “At this time,” the former mayor wrote on Twitter, “I do not need a lawyer.”

At this time, however, it appears Giuliani does need a lawyer. The New York Times reported late yesterday:

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 article added that “at least four prominent attorneys” declined Giuliani overtures.

As Rachel noted on the show last night, there is an amazing symmetry to the circumstances. When the president’s first personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was in legal jeopardy, he hired Robert Costello to oversee his criminal defense. Now the president’s second personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also appears to be facing legal jeopardy, and he too has hired Robert Costello to oversee his criminal defense.

Cohen, of course, is currently a federal prison inmate, in part because of his role in Trump’s hush-money scandal involving payoffs to Trump’s alleged former mistresses. Giuliani hasn’t been charged, at least not yet.

Of course, none of this does the president any favors: as best as I can tell, Trump is the first president whose lawyer needed to hire a criminal defense lawyer – only to have the exact same thing happen again.

That said, Giuliani’s newly assembled legal defense team will apparently be kept busy. Yesterday, the former mayor published a tweet in which he declared, “The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproven.”

Or put another way, this appears to be an instance in which Giuliani is admitting, in writing, that he was directly involved in the Ukraine scheme to advance the private interests of his client in the Oval Office.

I think the Team Trump line is supposed to be that the scheme was intended to advance U.S. foreign policy goals – a line Giuliani’s tweet seemed to step on.

I wish his new defense attorneys the best of luck.