Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani unmade his bed. Now he has to sleep in it.
I dont pay any attention to it, President Donald Trumps most telegenic lawyer insisted to The Daily Beast on Thursday, as the New York Post and the Daily Mail, among other outlets, continued to spin tabloid gold out of his messy love life and his pending nasty divorce from his third wife of 15 years, the former Judith Nathan, who in a vicious statement to the Post this week, called himper the headlinea cheating liar.
Giuliani made a series of phone calls to journalists on Thursday, including a wide-ranging interview with this reporter in which he denied that hed engaged in an extramarital affair with married New Hampshire hospital administrator Maria Ryan, who holds a doctorate in health care administration; expressed the hope that his dalliance with Republican fundraiser Jennifer LeBlanc will blossom into something serious; lamented that his soon-to-be ex-wife is apparently acting out of rageand discussed how hes not letting the crazed melodrama distract him from representing the presidents interests.
Oh come on. I dont care, Giuliani said about the all the titillating publicity, including the harsh statement by his third wife to the Post: My husbands denial of the affair with the married Mrs. Ryan is as false as his claim that we were separated when he took up with her. (Judiths divorce lawyer, Bernard Clair, didnt respond to numerous messages seeking comment; nor did divorce lawyer Faith Miller, whos representing Giuliani.)
My children are all adults, Giuliani went on, referring to son Andrew, a low-level White House staffer, and daughter Caroline, his children with second wife Donna Hanover. Im concerned for the people that get mentioned, like Dr. Ryanbecause its not true. Jennifer and I have known each other for a long time, but we havent been in touch for 10 years, 11 years, and shes a widow. I only met her again three weeks ago. So its a great relationship, and it may go further, it may not. Well see. Im legally separated and weve already agreed on the grounds for divorce.
Giuliani said his upcoming divorce should not be contentious because under New York law, its easyshe gets half, and I get half of the marital estate.
As for why Judith is publicly calling him a liar, youve got to ask her, I dont know, Giuliani said. Her ire is directed towards Maria, although its not justified. But who knows why somebody does that. It doesnt help her. Were separated legally. Weve agreed on the grounds of the divorce in court. Our property is gonna get divided kind of automatically Its no-fault. Whether she thinks I committed adultery or not doesnt matter in New York.
Various friends and associates of Giuliani, contacted by The Daily Beast, described his third wife as difficult and unlikeable, possessed of a massive sense of entitlement and a tendency to belittle longtime loyalists.
During Giulianis ill-fated 2008 presidential campaign, she was a nightmare, according to a former aide, indulging in paranoia and suspecting him of having affairs, and phoning him incessantlypreventing him from participating in important strategy and fundraising meetings, and notoriously interrupting a September 2007 speech to the National Rifle Association.
Several Giuliani loyalists have begged him in recent years to split from her, according to sources.
Im not going to contradict them, Giuliani said. On the other hand, Im not going to give it any more credence. I have a feeling that this stuff stokes her anger. She thought she could have her cake and eat it, toothat she could get rid of me and retain all my friends. I think she has found that they really dont like her, and they thought shes very mean to me. I dont want to make it worse than it is. I want her to be happy.
Giulianis detractorsa few of whom seem to coordinating with his estranged wifes divorce teamhave suggested that he has occasionally appeared on television in a state of intoxication after spending quality time at his private cigar club in Jared Kushners skyscraper at 666 Fifth Ave.
That would account, say his detractors, for his rocky performance on Fox News Hannity, when he contradicted Trumps profession of ignorance and revealed that the president had indeed reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.
You watch me on television tonight and then Id like you to report whether you think Im lit, Giuliani retorted. I dont think Ive been lit since my first bachelor party, when one of my friends mixed a drink of vodka and scotch for me Boy, it took me two days to recover.
Not surprisingly, camera-ready attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), has little use for Giuliani.
This guy is unhinged, Avenatti told The Daily Beast. It is staggering to me that the president of the United States chooses this guy to go out and represent him publicly.
But Giulianis close friend and former law partner, Marc Mukasey, offered a robust defense: Whats going on is Rudy is lawyering his tail off for the president, very professionally, and there are personal and professional forces out there that dont want to see him succeed.
Giuliani insisted hes unfazed.
Of course, this isnt his first time at the tabloid divorce rodeo. While his first, 12-year-long marriageto second cousin Regina Peruggiended quietly in the early 1980s, the end of his second marriage, to local television personality Donna Hanover, was a headline-worthy train wreck.
In 1995, 11 years after their 1984 nuptials, Hanover was blocked by Mayor Giulianis aides when she arrived at City Hall to confront him about a rumored fling with his press secretary, Cristyne Lategano.
After the then-mayor met pharmaceutical saleswoman Judith Nathan at his then-favorite haunt, the Upper East Side cigar bar, Club Macanudo, his marriage to Hanover exploded.
In May 2000, as he was considering a Senate race against then first lady Hillary Clinton, Giuliani announced on live television that he was splitting from Hanoverwithout bothering to give her a heads-upand called Nathan a very, very fine woman. He ultimately paid his second wife a $6.8 million divorce settlement, and agreed to give her sole custody of the kids.
I just answer the questions and move forward, he said as he and Trumps outside legal team, headed by Washington attorney Jay Sekulow, prepared to meet with Trump in the White House residence and hash over the latest legal and political developmentsincluding a critical 500-page Justice Department inspector generals report on the conduct of fired FBI Director James Comey, and Thursdays lawsuit by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, alleging illegal conduct by Trumps eponymous charitable foundation.
Giulianis visit with the 45th president, a regular occurrence these days, was to be followed Thursday night by an appearance on Fox News Hannityan even more regular occurrence.
Speaking on his cellphone as car horns honked in downtown Washington, Giuliani sounded positively ebullient despite the reputational damage hes sustained in recent weeks as special counsel Robert Muellers investigation heats up and Giulianis romantic escapades receive increasingly unwelcome attention.
The man formerly dubbed Americas Mayor after the 9/11 attacks recently turned 74a birthday for which he was roundly booed May 28 when it was announced to the crowd at Yankee Stadium.
On Thursday, he said the president knows all about it, meaning his fractious relationship with his estranged spouse. Im fine. Im fine. Its part of life. Im not the only person who goes through something like this.
However, Giuliani is certainly the only person on the planet going through a potentially humiliating personal crucible amid a media feeding frenzywhile trying to defend the commander in chief.
One thing I can do is compartmentalize, like he can, Giuliani said, comparing himself to Trump. Look at all the stuff with Stormy Daniels and [former Playboy model Karen] McDougal, and this lawsuit now by the attorney general. Any other person would be distracted Ithink it makes him better.
Giuliani said hes taking no payment for his representation of Trump. Hes been my friend for 29, 30 years. Im not going to take a penny from him, he said. Im doing this because of my friendship, and my loyalty to what a great president he is. Look at North Korea! And the other fact is that this is maybe the most outrageous investigation of a president Ive ever seen.
He added: I didnt like President Obama and, despite my political differences, I did like President Clinton. But I would have represented either one of them in this situation.
Giuliani said hes untroubled by reports that Trumps former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is parting ways with his attorneys, might be preparing to cooperate with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and possibly flip on his former boss and hero.
First of all, long-term, its not a concern, he said. I am assured the president hasnt done anything wrong and that he [Cohen] didnt do anything with his client that was wrong. So I dont think Cohen cancooperate against the president. What youre assuming is that Cohen would lie. I know Michael and I do not believe he would. He is not cooperating yet, and I dont he willnot against us, because he cant.
Meanwhile, Giuliani said the inspector generals Comey report will help the Trump defense. It is highly critical of Comey, he said. To the extent that it affects Comeys credibility, youd have to believe Comey in order to assume that Trump did some kind of obstruction of justice. I think this would be very helpful.
Giuliani said that his recent attacks on the Justice Department and the FBIin which he slagged off FBI agents as storm troopershave been blown out of proportion.
I wish they would listen to it more carefully, he said. I have the utmost respect for the FBI andthe Justice Department. But the leadership, at various times within the organizations, have done highly disreputable things. I dont mean right now. I mean back during the Obama years. And I think the [inspector generals] report today will attack Comey. Does that mean hes attacking the FBI? No. My attacks are on Comey and [former attorney general] Loretta Lynch.
Id think about Mueller [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein. We will have to wait and see what they do. I have an open mind.
(A few hours later, however, Giulianis open mind slammed shut, and he told Sean Hannity that Muellers investigationa fix, a frame-up and a witch-huntmust immediately be suspended, while a new probe should be launched to investigate the investigators. Rosenstein and [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions have a chance to redeem themselves and that chance comes about tomorrow. It doesnt go beyond tomorrow, Giuliani insisted. Tomorrow, Mueller should be suspended and honest people should be brought in, impartial people to investigate these people like [former Mueller investigator] Peter Strzok. Strzok should be in jail by the end of next week.)
Giuliani, who in a past life was a federal prosecutor and high-level Justice Department official, told The Daily Beast: Some of my best friends are FBI agents.
Concerning his controversial remarks last week dissing Daniels because shes a porn star during a public event in Israel, Giuliani said: Im not gonna retract them, but Im not going to repeat them.
During the 10-day trip to Israelwhich Giuliani said was paid for partially out of his own pocket, by his private consulting company Giuliani Partners, and by the Israeli business journal Globeshe met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was accompanied by Maria Ryan, as well as his daughter and her boyfriend, and former law partner Marc Mukasey, and a team of bodyguards.
Maria was invited to go on a tour of Hadassah Hospital. She runs a rural hospital, and they wanted herto go. They invited us together, but we went our separate ways there, Giuliani said, notwithstanding a hospital newsletter recounting the visit and describing Ryan as Giulianis partner.
Maria Ryan is just a friend, he said. Jennifer right now is just a friendand Im hoping for more.