Stalwart Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani is joining the president’s legal team.
A statement from Mr Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow announcing the decision quoted Mr Trump as saying “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”, the president was quoted as saying.
Mr Giuliani matches the preferences of a president who places a premium on loyalty. The former prosecutor, New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate was a leading surrogate for Mr Trump during the presidential campaign, warming up crowds with chants of “Lock Her Up!”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Mr Giuliani said he hoped to “negotiate an end to” special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the presidential campaign and potential linkages to the Trump campaign. Mr Trump has assailed the probe as an unjustified “witch hunt”.
The addition of Mr Giuliani, along with former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, bolsters Mr Trump’s diminished legal team at a critical moment.
Mr Mueller’s investigation, having already produced indictments of multiple former Trump campaign aides, is building towards a potential interview with the president himself. Acting on a referral from Mr Mueller’s team, the FBI earlier this month raided the home and office of Mr Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Those developments have paralleled turmoil within Mr Trump’s legal team, with former lead attorney John Down resigning last month and the president reportedly struggling to secure more legal representation.
Multiple prominent attorneys have declined to join, and attorneys Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing reversed their initial commitment to come on board, citing conflicts of interest.