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Rudy Giuliani joins Trump personal legal team

WASHINGTON — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining the roster of attorneys representing President Donald Trump in the ongoing special counsel probe into Russian election interference.

Trump’s legal counsel, Jay Sekulow, announced the hire Thursday afternoon, in a statement that quotes Trump describing Giuliani as “great” and an old friend.

“I am announcing today that former New York City Mayor and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Rudy Giuliani is joining the President’s personal legal team,” Sekulow said. “The President said, ‘Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.’”

Giuliani, an early and ardent supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, was one of Trump’s most visible surrogates on the campaign trail but withdrew his name from consideration for a post in Trump’s Cabinet. During Trump’s transition period, Giuliani’s name was often floated as a possibility for the secretary of state post that eventually went to - and was later yanked from - ExxonMobile CEO Rex Tillerson.

Giuliani, in a statement provided by Sekulow, said he looked forward to working with the other attorneys representing Trump, who include Sekulow and White House attorney Ty Cobb.

“It is an honor to be a part of such an important legal team,” Giuliani said in the statement. “I look forward to not only working with the President but with Jay, Ty, and their colleagues.”

Giuliani, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, told the Washington Post that he had been in discussions with Trump for weeks about joining the roster.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country, and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani told the Post on Thursday, referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into purported ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

In the past month Trump’s legal team has grappled with the resignation of its lead attorney John Dowd, who stepped down soon after the president attacked Mueller in a series of tweets, and dealt with a number of high profile rejections from attorneys the team sought to hire. Several top lawyers, including former Solicitor General Ted Olson, have publicly said they turned down offers to represent the president.

Media reports about Trump’s apparent recruitment woes prompted the president to tweet last month, “Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.”

Sekulow said he welcomed Giuliani’s “expertise” and also announced the addition of two other former federal prosecutors: Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin. They “have a nationwide practice and reputation for excellence and integrity,” Sekulow said.

Trump has derided Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt” and downplayed reports that he plans to fire the special counsel or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s team.

Asked by reporters on Wednesday about his plans for Mueller and Rosenstein, Trump said: “They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they’re still here.”

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