101°F
weather icon Clear

Trump annoyed by Giuliani, weighs pulling plug on interviews

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump is growing increasingly irritated with lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s frequently off-message media blitz, which has included muddying the waters on hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels and making claims that could complicate the president’s standing in the special counsel’s Russia probe.

Trump has begun questioning whether Giuliani, an old friend and former New York City mayor, should be sidelined from television interviews, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking but not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Trump also expressed annoyance that Giuliani’s theatrics have breathed new life into the Daniels story. It’s a concern shared by Trump allies who think Giuliani is only generating more legal and political trouble for the White House.

Giuliani, the newest addition to the president’s legal team, first rattled the White House last week when he sat for interviews on Fox News and seemed to contradict Trump by saying the president was aware of the $130,000 payout to Daniels from his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. He also suggested the October 2016 settlement had been made because Trump was in the stretch run of his presidential campaign.

After Trump chided Giuliani on Friday, saying the lawyer needed to “get his facts straight,” Giuliani put out a statement trying to clarify his remarks. But in weekend interviews, Giuliani appeared to dig himself a deeper hole by acknowledging that “Cohen takes care of situations like this, then gets paid for them sometimes.” He did not rule out the possibility that Cohen had paid off other women.

Trump, who has denied the affair with Daniels, was angry that Giuliani had given the impression that other women may have made similar charges of infidelity, according to the people familiar with his views.

Additionally, Trump has grown agitated in recent days by replays of Giuliani’s interview with Sean Hannity, in which he said that Trump knew about the payment but that it wasn’t a campaign violation. A clearly surprised Hannity then asked, “Because they funneled it through the law firm?”

To which Giuliani responded, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the president repaid him.”

Trump snapped at both men in recent days, chiding Hannity for using the word “funneled,” which he believes had illegal connotations, according to the people who spoke to The Associated Press. As for Giuliani, the president has not yet signaled to him to stop appearing on television but told a confidant recently that perhaps Giuliani should “be benched” — at least temporarily — if he can’t improve his performance.

The president has not publicly discussed dismissing Giuliani and has appreciated his sharp attacks on the Russia investigation and his forceful battles with the press, according to three White House aides and outside allies. The two men have spoken frequently, according to officials familiar with their interactions but not authorized to discuss private conversations.

But many Trump allies both inside and outside the White House have grown anxious in recent days about Giuliani’s whirlwind and unpredictable interviews.

“They’re admitting to enough that warrants scrutiny. It shouldn’t be put on television shows off the cuff,” said Alan Dershowitz, the emeritus Harvard law professor who has been informally advising Trump on the Russia collusion probe. “This is not the way to handle a complicated case.”

Many in the White House have begun evoking comparisons between Giuliani and Anthony Scaramucci, another hard-charging New Yorker with a knack for getting TV airtime.

Scaramucci lasted 11 days before being fired. The former White House communications director himself drew parallels between his own burn-bright-burn-fast tenure and Giuliani’s performance.

“I am enjoying all of the comparisons between me and the mayor #RudyGiuliani,” Scaramucci tweeted Sunday. “He is loyal, tough and a fierce competitor. He fights and will win for @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. Big compliment thank you!”

Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.

West Wing aides were blindsided by Giuliani’s TV appearances last week, and many senior advisers and members of the president’s legal team have been cut out of the decision-making process. But some aides have been reluctant to broach the subject with Trump because it only increases their liability, according to officials.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was among those surprised by Giuliani’s string of TV appearances, said Monday that Trump felt the former mayor “added value” to his outside legal team. On Friday, Trump said Giuliani was “a great guy but he just started a day ago.” He made clear Giuliani was still “learning the subject matter.”

Some West Wing aides have complained that Giuliani, who ran for president in 2008, was acting like a “principal” and not a member of a team. And some in Trump’s inner circle raised their eyebrows at Giuliani’s declaration that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was “disposable.” He also declined to rule out Trump invoking the Fifth Amendment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe.

The episode revived worries in Trump’s inner circle about Giuliani, who enjoys the media limelight and has a tendency to go off-script. His behavior grew more unpredictable during the stretch run of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump chided him for falling asleep on the campaign plane, according to two former campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

Giuliani also alienated a number of people in Trump’s inner circle by insisting that the only Cabinet position he would consider would be secretary of state. He did not get the post.

Giuliani’s remarks have also been watched with concern at the State Department and Pentagon after he weighed in recently on international affairs. He declared last week that North Korea would be releasing three Americans being held captive, which has not yet happened, and said the administration was committed to regime change in Iran, a stance Trump has not taken.

“He speaks for himself and not on behalf of the administration on foreign policy,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Monday.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
THE LATEST
Witness at Navy SEAL trial admits killing victim

A Navy SEAL called by prosecutors to testify at the murder trial of a colleague has acknowledged killing a wounded prisoner in Iraq in what he described as an act of mercy.

Trump vows veto as Senate rejects arms sales to Saudis

The Senate has voted to block the Trump administration from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, launching a new challenge to President Donald Trump’s alliance with the country amid rising tensions in the Middle East.

Supreme Court says longstanding cross on public land in Maryland OK

A World War I memorial in the shape of a 40-foot-tall cross can continue to stand on public land in Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in an important decision about the use of religious symbols in American life.