Rudy Giuliani says he is joining Trump’s legal team to ‘negotiate an end’ to Mueller probe

(Carolyn Kaster | Associated Press file photo) In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Giuliani is joining the legal team defending President Donald Trump in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a combative former prosecutor and longtime ally of President Donald Trump, told The Washington Post on Thursday that he has joined the president’s legal team dealing with the ongoing special counsel probe.

“I’m doing it 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,” Giuliani said in an interview.

Trump counsel Jay Sekulow said Thursday in a statement that Giuliani is joining the team along with two former federal prosecutors, Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, a couple who jointly run a Florida-based law firm.

“Rudy is great,” Trump said in the statement issued by Sekulow. “He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”

Giuliani, who joins a legal team that has struggled to recruit new members, said he has been speaking with Trump for weeks about joining the group of legal advisers. He said he would work alongside Trump’s current attorneys, Sekulow and Ty Cobb, who are focusing on the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also said he will soon take a leave from his law firm, Greenberg Traurig.

Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is the office currently overseeing an investigation of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Giuliani said he formalized his decision in recent days, including over dinner last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Giuliani and Trump spoke on Thursday about legal strategy moving forward, along with Sekulow, whom Giuliani described as a “good friend.” He added that he and Cobb spoke on Wednesday.

Giuliani declined to say whether Trump has made a final decision on whether to sit for an interview with Mueller and his investigators. Trump has been mulling for weeks whether to do so, veering between wanting to meet with Mueller to moving away from the idea, especially after the home, offices and hotel room of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, were raided this month.

“It’s too early for me to say that,” Giuliani said of whether a Mueller interview is unlikely to happen.

Giuliani also declined to discuss whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been under fire from conservatives and oversees the Russia probe, could be fired by the president in the coming weeks.

“I’m not involved in anything about those issues. My advice on Mueller has been this: He should be allowed to do his job. He’s entitled to do his job.”

The Daily Beast reported earlier Thursday that Giuliani was in talks with Trump about joining the legal team.

Giuliani said he would spend a “great deal of time” in Washington working with Trump, but would continue to live in New York.

Trump had considered Giuliani for attorney general and has said in recent weeks he needs a New York-based attorney. Many leading white-collar lawyers, such Theodore Olson, have declined Trump’s entreaties.

Trump is known to be a difficult client who does not listen to his attorneys’ advice, according to lawyers who are familiar with his conduct.

The Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.