During his first interview as President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani suggested that making hush payments for a client without their knowledge is just something lawyers like himself do.
“Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this for my clients,” Giuliani told Sean Hannity last Wednesday, referring to the $130,000 hush payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. “I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.”
Despite what Giuliani would have you believe, lawyers do not in fact regularly make hush payments on behalf of their clients without their knowledge. And in a statement released Thursday, Giuliani’s law firm sought to make that clear.
“We cannot speak for Mr. Giuliani with respect to what was intended by his remarks,” Jill Perry, a spokesperson for Greenberg Traurig, said in a statement published by the New York Times. “Speaking for ourselves, we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.”
Greenberg Traurig’s public rebuke of Giuliani came shortly after the firm abruptly announced his permanent resignation. The firm claims Giuliani decided to resign because his work for Trump “is all consuming and is lasting longer than initially anticipated.” But Giuliani’s hiring as Trump’s lawyer was announced on April 19 — a mere three weeks ago — and Perry’s statement suggests Greenberg Traurig higher-ups aren’t happy with how Giuliani’s comments reflect on how they practice law.
Giuliani’s Hannity interview also created problems for Trump. Though the president said in April that he knew nothing about the Daniels payment, Giuliani claimed Trump actually reimbursed Cohen for it in increments throughout 2017. Asked to clarify the discrepancy last Friday morning, Trump instead threw Giuliani under the bus, pointing out that he “started yesterday” and “will get his facts straight.”
“Virtually everything that’s been said has been said incorrectly,” the president added.
Fast forward a week, and team Trump still hasn’t clarified the timeline about what Trump knew and when. The president says his lawyer’s story about the Daniels payment was incorrect, but he hasn’t bothered to offer an alternative explanation.
On Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders referred reporters’ questions about the Daniels payment back to Giuliani, who in his most recent interview said he’ll need at least three weeks to figure out what he’s talking about.