In Defending Trump, Is Giuliani a Shrewd Tactician or ‘Untethered’?

Enjoying Himself and Feeling ‘Emboldened’

But Marc L. Mukasey, a prominent defense lawyer and Mr. Giuliani’s friend and former law partner, most recently at Greenberg Traurig, dismissed such criticism. “Rudy is trying the case in the only viable forum, which is the media,” he said.

Mr. Mukasey, the son of the former attorney general, said he was speaking only for himself and not his firm, Greenberg, which Mr. Giuliani left amid some awkwardness after he joined Mr. Trump’s team. In the end, he said, “What is Rudy going to do? Save his comments for the courtroom? There’s not going to be a courtroom.”

Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor emeritus who has sharply criticized aspects of the Mueller investigation and who has known Mr. Giuliani since the 1970s, agreed. He said Mr. Giuliani’s strategy was clearly to take Mr. Trump’s case “out of the legal system, which people respect, and put it into the political system, which people don’t respect.”

For all the criticism, though, Mr. Giuliani clearly seems to be enjoying himself. “Look, he survived prostate cancer and just got out of a tough marriage,” said a close friend who asked not to be identified. “I think he’s feeling a little emboldened now.”

Still, the disconcerting disconnect between “America’s mayor” and Mr. Trump’s legal pit bull may linger. Anthony V. Carbonetti, a longtime aide to the former mayor, said: “It pains me that Rudy is the most transformative figure in New York in the last 100 years — and too many people only know him for defending the president.”

On Memorial Day, Mr. Giuliani went to one of his favorite New York sanctuaries, Yankee Stadium. When the public address system announced that it was his birthday, the man who led this city through trauma 17 years ago was loudly booed.

Then again, some hours after his erratic appearance on “Meet the Press” earlier this month, Mr. Giuliani dined at a seafood restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His friend, Marc Mukasey, who was there, recalled that patrons frequently interrupted Mr. Giuliani to ask for autographs and selfies — and to thank him for his work on behalf of the president.

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