Giuliani Resigns From Law Firm Amid Tensions Over Comments About Trump

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, abruptly resigned from his law firm after weeks of tensions over his public comments.

Mr. Giuliani took a leave of absence last month from the firm, Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s largest, to represent Mr. Trump. But the firm announced on Thursday that he no longer worked there as of a day earlier.

“After recognizing that this work is all consuming and is lasting longer than initially anticipated, Rudy has determined it is best for him to resign,” said the firm’s chairman, Richard A. Rosenbaum.

In a statement released by the firm, Mr. Giuliani said it “is in everyone’s best interest that I make it a permanent resignation” so he can focus on the special counsel’s investigation.

Firm partners had chafed over Mr. Giuliani’s public comments about payments that another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Michael D. Cohen, made to secure the silence of a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied her allegations. In interviews, Mr. Giuliani suggested that such payments were common at his firm.

“That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do, out of his law firm funds,” he said on Fox News.

He added, “Michael would take care of things like this like I take care of this with my clients.”

The New York Times asked Greenberg Traurig several times to explain those remarks over the past week. On Tuesday, a firm spokeswoman asked for more time to provide answers.

Mr. Giuliani’s colleagues at Greenberg Traurig had bristled in late 2016 when Mr. Giuliani played an aggressive, pit bull-style surrogate role on Mr. Trump’s behalf during the presidential campaign. After Mr. Trump’s inauguration, when it became clear that Mr. Giuliani would not get the job he wanted — secretary of state — he kept a relatively low profile at the request of his colleagues.

But Mr. Giuliani has enjoyed the public-relations work he has been doing for Mr. Trump, according to three people who have spoken with him. Much like his client, the former mayor prefers being untethered , they said.

And despite Mr. Trump grousing about Mr. Giuliani’s gaffes, the president has also told people that Mr. Giuliani is putting out information that the president wants to be part of the public conversation, particularly about the special counsel inquiry.

What’s more, Mr. Trump’s team functions better as a collection of free agents as opposed to major names tied to a big firm, which impose strong restrictions, according to one person familiar with the situation.

One person close to Mr. Giuliani said that serving in the administration in some role eventually was a possibility and had been the subject of informal conversations he had with the president.

Many of the country’s top law firms have resisted the prospect of their lawyers representing the president. As Mr. Trump tried to rebuild his legal team this spring, firms told their top lawyers that if they wanted to represent the president they would have to resign.

The firms were concerned about Mr. Trump’s longstanding history of ignoring his lawyers’ advice and apparent failure to pay his bills, and backlash from employees who did not want to work for a firm that was representing Mr. Trump.