Rudy Giuliani resigned from his private law firm on Wednesday as he steps up his work as one of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys in the Russia investigation.
The former New York mayor initially took an unpaid leave of absence last month from the New York office of Greenberg Traurig, but in a joint statement issued Thursday the firm and Giuliani confirmed the separation was permanent.
“In light of the pressing demands of the Mueller investigation, I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that I make it a permanent resignation,” Giuliani said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. “This way, my sole concentration can be on this critically important matter for our country.”
Giuliani has become a lightning rod for criticism since taking on a top role on the president’s legal team for his answers during television interviews about Trump’s role in the Stormy Daniels hush money saga, as well as his reason for firing FBI Director James Comey.
The president has privately griped to associates that Giuliani’s media appearances were not helping to tamp down the Daniels story, POLITICO reported earlier this week.
But Trump and his staff have also publicly stood by the lawyer. “He thinks he's done a fine job,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Wednesday during her daily briefing.
Giuliani has taken a lead role in negotiating the terms of an interview between Mueller and Trump, though it’s still unclear if such a meeting will even happen. Giuliani told POLITICO earlier this week the president’s lawyers planned to make a decision by May 17 — the one-year anniversary of the special counsel’s appointment — on whether they’d consent to a sit-down interview or perhaps open up a larger legal battle over a subpoena that could reach the Supreme Court.