One of President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE's former lawyers said Tuesday that the president made an error in hiring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to his legal team amid the ongoing special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Jay Goldberg, a longtime lawyer for Trump who represented the president during his 1992 divorce from Ivana Trump, told MSNBC's "The Beat with Ari Melber" that Giuliani is trying to “aggrandize himself” and hog the spotlight instead of representing the president to the best of his ability.
"For him to go on Sean Hannity without debriefing the president seems to me to be the height of unpreparedness," Goldberg said of Giuliani's now-infamous interview with Hannity, during which he revealed Trump had repaid his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement.
"That's one thing I mentioned [to Trump]," Goldberg continued. "That I thought Rudy would come into the case with the intent to take the spotlight off Trump. And in some ways, seek to aggrandize himself, either at the expense of Trump or not."
Goldberg has previously lashed out at other members of Trump's legal team, including Cohen, who facilitated the payment to Daniels in weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about an alleged affair she says she had with Trump in 2006.
In an April phone call, he reportedly told Trump that on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 represents full protection of the president, Cohen "isn't even a 1."
"Michael will never stand up [for you]," Goldberg said he told Trump at the time.
Goldberg last month told CNN that he suspected Cohen would likely flip and cooperate with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's prosecutors in order to avoid prison time. Cohen himself is under investigation for bank fraud.
"Prison has a racial overtone ... and someone like Michael doesn't see himself walking down Broadway while people are clamoring, 'You're going to be my wife,'" Goldberg said.
"A witness in Michael's position is able to glean what it would take to get a letter of cooperation from the government," he added. "And thereby avoid a lengthy prison term."