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WH, Giuliani can't rule out whether Trump fixer paid off other women

The Lead political panel discusses.

Posted: May 8, 2018 2:45 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 2:49 PM

Some White House officials and a source close to President Donald Trump's legal team continue to balk at Rudy Giuliani's media blitz following his first eyebrow-raising interview last week with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Senior administration officials are complaining they are still in the dark about when and where Giuliani will pop up on their television screens, one senior White House official said. That official said few in the West Wing have had a chance to engage Giuliani since Trump officially brought him onto the legal team last week. Giuliani has said he was tasked by the President to facilitate negotiations between the White House and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump has openly praised Giuliani since the former New York City mayor began hitting the airwaves in defense of the President on Wednesday. And a source familiar with the presidential legal team's thinking said Giuliani continues to enjoy Trump's blessing to do interviews, despite the barrage of negative headlines he is generating by making conflicting claims.

"It goes without saying the President is obviously permitting him to do that," the source said.

Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the President "certainly feels that he is an added member -- added value member -- to his outside special counsel."

The legal source added Trump has liked watching Giuliani come out swinging against the Russia investigation and the allegations of campaign finance violations related to a $130,000 payment his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair. The White House has said Trump denies the affair.

Citing Giuliani's interview on Sunday with ABC's George Stephanopoulos -- when Giuliani suggested it's possible Cohen paid off additional women before the election -- as an example, the same source said Giuliani "is stealing the spotlight and he's embarrassing (Trump)."

Giuliani's performance has drawn comparisons to that of Anthony Scaramucci by some inside the White House. Trump brought aboard the short-lived White House communications director to stabilize the press shop amid an outpouring of leaks about infighting, only to fire him 11 days later after Scaramucci's sensational comments to reporters generated too much negative coverage.

"I think this thing will burn out," the senior White House official observed, calling Giuliani's public representation of the President a "little charade."

"Either he'll change his behavior, or he's not going to do it very long," the senior White House official said.

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