In a statement late today, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow announced that Rudy Giuliani is joining Trump’s legal team, along with two former federal prosecutors, Jane Serene Raskin and Martin Raskin.
Just thought I’d remind you of a story written by the late great investigative reporter Wayne Barrett in September 2016:
Rudy and Donald first got together in the late 1980s shortly before Donald became a co-chair of Giuliani’s first fundraiser for his 1989 mayoral campaign, sitting on the Waldorf dais and steering $41,000 to the campaign. A year earlier, Tony Lombardi, the federal agent closest to then-U.S. Attorney Giuliani, opened a probe of Trump’s role in the suspect sale of two Trump Tower apartments to Robert Hopkins, the mob-connected head of the city’s largest gambling ring.
Trump attended the closing himself and Hopkins arrived with a briefcase loaded with up to $200,000 in cash, a deposit the soon-to-felon counted at the table. Despite Hopkins’ wholesale lack of verifiable income or assets, he got a loan from a Jersey bank that did business with Trump’s casino. A Trump limo delivered the cash to the bank.
The government subsequently nailed Hopkins’ mortgage broker, Frank LaMagra, on an unrelated charge and he offered to give up Donald, claiming Trump “participated” in the money-laundering — and volunteering to wear a wire on him.
Instead, Lombardi, who discussed the case with Giuliani personally (and with me for a 1993 Village Voice piece called “The Case of the Missing Case”), went straight to Donald for two hour-long interviews with him. Within weeks of the interviews, Donald announced he’d raise $2 million in a half hour if Rudy ran for mayor. Lamagra got no deal and was convicted, as was his mob associate, Louis (Louie HaHa) Attanasio, who was later also nailed for seven underworld murders. Hopkins was convicted of running his gambling operation partly out of the Trump Tower apartment, where he was arrested.
Lombardi — who expected a top appointment in a Giuliani mayoralty, conducted several other probes directly tied to Giuliani political opponents, and testified later that “every day I came to work I went to Mr. Giuliani to seek out what duties I needed to perform” — closed the Trump investigation without even giving it a case number. That meant that New Jersey gaming authorities would never know it existed.
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You get the gist, right? Trump and Giuliani are old pals.
Now, what the hell is Rudy Giuliani doing on Trump’s legal team, when it’s widely believed he is a material witness in the Mueller probe? Giuliani was representing Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman and alleged money launderer, while Mike Flynn was also working on his behalf. He also has extensive ties to Russia.
Not to mention, everyone thought he was under investigation for his role in the October surprise.
Like Michael Cohen, Rudy is basically a fixer — but at a much higher and lucrative level. What does Trump expect Rudy to do? Lobby Congress to fire Rosenstein and Mueller? Rudy told the New York Post that he was joining the team “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.”
How can one person have “high regard” for Trump and Bob Mueller? Ha, ha! It’s a puzzle. What do other observers think?