The gatekeeper to the lawyer for the most powerful man in the world is a 20-year-old conservative activist with a thin resume, an inflated biography and an impossible job.
For the past three months, Trumpworld has been both abuzz and baffled by Christianné Allen, a little-known Instagram personality who became Rudy Giuliani’s director of communications in September. She accompanies him wherever he goes, recently appearing by his side in Ukraine, where he’s working on a documentary defending himself against accusations that he ran a malicious campaign to get a U.S. ambassador fired. She’s his media strategist, technology consultant and the employee who helps field reporters’ daily onslaught of inquiries — or, at least, tries to do so.
Allen’s boss, described as a “hand grenade” in congressional testimony, is famous among reporters for his unguarded text exchanges, rambling phone calls and butt dials at odd hours. His bumbling efforts to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine are likely to result in the third impeachment in U.S. presidential history. He’s under federal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office he once headed. And his ostensible client, President Donald Trump, muses openly about whether Giuliani is, in fact, his attorney.
In sum: Allen’s assignment would be tough sledding for the most seasoned of PR professionals, let alone a distinctly unseasoned Trump superfan who is still pursuing a communications degree online.
“For a 20-year-old college student to be the communications director to one of the country’s most talked-about men is quite something,” said Kelly Jane Torrance, a conservative journalist who met Allen while interviewing Giuliani.
Numerous people POLITICO spoke with, from her family to her friends to the people who’ve met her, praised Allen’s remarkable maturity and poise, a trait they said she exhibited in her early teenage years.
Even so, some of her friends privately wonder how she found herself in such a sensitive position. “I don’t think she had a client like Rudy before, let alone worked as a press secretary,” said one.
Her value to Giuliani goes beyond the media, however. Allen, now an employee of the consulting firm Giuliani Partners, has been prospecting for her boss, reaching out to at least one foreign company to pitch them on Giuliani’s power to “bring much value” to their business.
In an email interview, Allen said that she got the job after several rounds of interviews “that included incredibly challenging questions and multiple phone calls with his staff,” with Giuliani himself “expressing that I had the necessary skills and leadership to fill the position.”
She did not elaborate further, but Allen’s Twitter bio, LinkedIn, and old personal website list an array of suitable credentials: representative of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, the official joint fundraising committee for the re-election campaign; and video columnist for the Daily Caller. Spokeswoman for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Executive director of the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition.
According to representatives of these entities, these titles are embroidered at best, and completely untrue at the most. She is, however, an “ambassador” for both Turning Point USA and Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, titles she gained this year. And there’s no question she enjoys Giuliani’s confidence.
After POLITICO asked Allen and Giuliani about her resume and biography on Friday, he tapped out several tweets before responding privately. “Politico is about to write a malicious hit-piece on a Comms Director of mine,” Giuliani wrote. “Not just because she’s pro-Trump but because she’s lined up one witness after the other, proving just how corrupt the Democrat party is. Politico has assisted this cover up for years. It’s a shame!”
He later said in a text, sent before this article was published: “Your article is so filled with lies and misinterpretations, it stands out as a [sic] now an almost routine left wing hit piece on an exceptionally talented and really fine Christian Conservative woman and strong supporter of President Trump. I’m disappointed that Politico is now joining the [sic] destroy the reputation of those the Left believes should not be entitled to support President Trump.”
At the moment, Giuliani’s friends and associates believe he needs an experienced communications veteran, capable of defending him against charges that he led Trump into an impeachment briar patch. But Giuliani now relies on a woman who stands accused of being a serial exaggerator and who struggled to answer basic questions about how she became the communications and right-hand woman of the lawyer and fixer for the president of the United States.
Christianné Allen, or Anné, as she was known by some in high school (pronounced “On-ee”), first appeared in Trump’s outer orbit in October 2015. A 16-year-old from Midlothian, Virginia, she volunteered to help Trump’s campaign as an intern.
“She got the gig because she went around telling everybody that she was George Allen’s niece,” said a former Trump Virginia campaign official, referring to the former Virginia governor and senator.
The official discovered later that this was completely untrue. “I would introduce her to other people as George Allen’s niece, and then I guess she got in front of someone who was actually related to George Allen and she corrected herself then.” Two other former campaign officials corroborated that she made these claims or played along.
Asked if she was related to his family, George Allen said no. “If there’s some way that I’m related to her, I’d be happy to know how,” he said, and joked that if she could prove herself, “I look forward to meeting an unknown relative.”
Asked for comment, Christianné Allen denied that she ever claimed she was related to George Allen. “I never once implied or said I was George Allen’s niece,” she said in an email. “There were a few officials on the campaign who thought we were related based on our last name. I was asked one time in a public setting if I was related to him and I laughed and said no.”
Allen remained on the campaign. The shoestring operation needed all the help it could get, and according to her father Lee Allen, she was a hard worker who had devoted herself to Trump early on in the campaign.
In an interview, he described his daughter as a relentless self-advocate who, at the age of 14, once called the president of Harvard University to ask for advice on how to get into the school and ended up speaking with her for 10 minutes before being referred to the admissions office. (A person familiar with the matter said Harvard has no records of the call and that the former president, Drew Gilpin Faust, also had no recollection of it.)
That boldness emerged again in October 2015, when Allen went to a Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia. Even though, as her father said, she “didn’t even know who [Trump] was” before the event, she told him: “‘I want to meet him. ... What do you think I should say to him?’ So I kind of laughed, joking, and said ‘Tell him you’d like to be his apprentice.’”
As Allen recalled, his daughter hustled to be near Trump’s motorcade, where she met an “elderly Filipino lady” named Angelica George, a local enthusiastic campaign volunteer.
Trump soon walked by and spotted them. “He said, ‘Angelica, what are you doing here?’”, Allen said. “So he comes over and she introduces Anné to Trump and it’s a very quick thing. And then the lady says, ‘Look, I know the chairman in charge of the Trump campaign in Virginia. I want you to contact him and tell him I sent you.’”
But a former Virginia Trump campaign official disputed Allen’s Trump origin story as told by her father, who said he heard it from his daughter.“It’s just nonsense. The candidate did not personally know George. There was no Virginia campaign chairman at that point. Allen just walked into the Richmond office and said she wanted to be a volunteer.” In a follow-up interview, Lee Allen stood by the account and said: “That story never changed from Day 1, but whatever.” (George didn’t respond to requests for comment and Christianné Allen also said that the story was inaccurate and she had tried to correct her father before.)
This much is undisputed: Allen soon left public high school to work for the campaign without pay, enrolling in Liberty University Online to complete her high school degree.
But she quickly gained a reputation for inflating her importance.
“I forget all the titles she told me she had. She was ‘millenials for something’ or ‘teens for this,’” one former official said. At one point, her social media accounts claimed she was an official spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. She was not, according to these officials. (In a text, Allen explained that she referred to herself as a campaign spokesperson “only because I spoke at a couple rallies.”)
“I think she made it to a point where she made [volunteering] untenable,” said one of the former Virginia campaign officials, citing Allen’s apparent disinterest in performing basic campaign tasks. “She wasn’t productive, but she was attempting to insert herself into everything. If there’s an event, she’s showing up to help whether or not she was invited to [it].”
Lee Allen described one speech she gave at a Trump rally in front of an old battleship in Norfolk with a crowd of thousands of people. “Hats off to my daughter. She has made her opportunities,” he said.
Allen’s involvement with the Trump Virginia campaign effectively ended the night Trump won the primary in March 2016. But she still found ways to express her loyalty to Trump, becoming close to Alice Butler Short, the president of Virginia Women for Trump, who became a mentor figure of sorts and also let Allen stay at her home in Fairfax Station for several months.
“She was like my goddaughter. I was very fond of her,” Short said, recalling how she’d met Allen at a campaign event in 2015. “She cared about the Constitution. She cared about the Judeo-Christian principles on which our country was founded.”
The campaign quickly disassociated itself from Virginia Women for Trump, and the Trump campaign eventually sent Short a cease-and-desist letter because they said the group had used Trump’s image without permission in connection with fundraising activities. Short said that top Trump campaign lawyer Don McGahn later rescinded the cease-and-desist but a current Trump 2020 campaign official said the group is “not sanctioned by Trump Pence 2020” and the campaign sent the group a fresh cease-and-desist letter on Monday.
In response to the letter, Short said: “VWT has acted with the utmost integrity over four years. I can only conclude that they are trying to destroy the grassroots organizations. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of organizations around the country using the Trump name, and there are hundreds of vendors all over the country selling Trump merchandise. Why pick on me?”
Allen continued to ally herself with other entities the Trump campaign blacklisted, such as Students for Trump, which was shunned for improperly sharing Social Security numbers of young voters; and Corey Stewart, the former Virginia Trump campaign co-chairman who was ejected from the campaign for staging an unsanctioned protest against the RNC and eventually fell from grace due to his association with white nationalists.
Her most important relationship, however, would be with the lawyer Charles Gucciardo, whom she said she met while attending a law seminar for high school students at Stanford University, prior to her involvement in the Trump campaign. He eventually offered her an internship at his Long Island law firm. Allen’s connection to Gucciardo was first reported by Salon.
Years later, Gucciardo would be pulled into the Ukraine scandal when he invested $500,000 into a company started by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two men who went to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden, based on Giuliani’s involvement in said company. (Unlike Parnas and Fruman, who were arrested in October, Gucciardo has not been accused of wrongdoing in any investigation involving Giuliani, and he told POLITICO in a comment: “Christianné is a phenomenal young lady with tremendous potential in her career.”)
At the time, Allen attended some of the same events as Gucciardo, according to Instagram posts and videos from that time, all the while burnishing her brand along with her backstory.
During one appearance at a “Moms 4 Trump” event in October 2016 at the Trump hotel in D.C., Allen gave a speech about how she had been hounded out of high school “due to controversy over my Trump internship.”
In a video of her speech, Allen described telling her principal, counselors and friends about her decision to support Trump. “And I can’t even begin to tell you, the controversy that got stirred up, and the hate that was sent my way, not just through social media, but through--just…” She trailed off for several seconds. “It was really hard for me, especially when all of your friends just dropped out of your life, all at once.”
But asked if anti-Trump bullying was a major factor in her leaving her high school, her father said: “I don’t think so. She’s a fighter. … [On social media] she would counter everybody that was negative towards Trump. Did she run from it? No. But she got fed up with it.”
“She didn’t find the school setting rewarding enough, even though she captained her lacrosse varsity team, won the Nationals with her team in competitive cheerleading, [and] had wanted to run for class president,” he continued.
“I never heard of any anti-Trump bullying or political bullying of any kind for that matter” at Allen’s high school, Clover Hill, said Becky Conner, whose son Evan was a classmate of Allen’s and was her partner in driver’s ed. Conner also said that Evan didn’t “remember her ever complaining about being bullied.” A spokesman for the school district didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Somehow, during all this time, Allen put even more bona fides on her resume. According to an old bio on her website, she was going to launch a beauty line called “Christianné Lorraine,” and a PR firm called Allen Strategies, neither of which seemed to get off the ground.
In a text, Allen also mentioned that she was the executive marketing director for a subscription box service for CBD products called Discovery Club—a business that actually did exist, if only for a short period of time.
Sadrina Ward, a CBD distributor based out of Las Vegas, worked on Discovery Club with the Allens starting in September of 2016, after they moved to Nevada to launch the venture. While Lee kept trying to convince investors to join him in the company, Allen filmed testimonials and reached out to social media influencers in an attempt to get them to link to their subscription page.
“She’s really good with being in front of the camera and speaking and everything,” said Ward, who sensed that Allen’s interests lay elsewhere. “She was trying to help her father get it off the ground but she was more interested in the Trump campaign.”
From start to finish, the Vegas endeavor — which contemplated a reality TV show, “High Stakes,” chronicling their attempt to launch the business — lasted for three months. “It was a startup that tanked on me, simple as that, because I couldn’t get the rest of the capital together,” said Lee. The business soon ran out of money and they left Las Vegas, breaking a year-long lease on a seven-bedroom house where they’d planned to shoot the show. “That’s just business, my friend,” he said.
Lee attempted to start the business again, but the Discovery Club’s websites and e-commerce stores have gone dark. Ward said she and her Vegas colleagues were never paid.
Following her Nevada adventure, Allen spent most of 2017 and 2018 on the outside looking in. She continued taking online courses at Liberty to get her high school diploma and start on her undergraduate degree. She appears to have attended every possible Trump event and conservative party she could get into, while at the same time running a few events with Virginia Women for Trump. At one point, she was paid for her work on social media for an anti-immigration California Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the House, according to campaign finance filings.
Her personal social media accounts, meanwhile, were soaring. Allen garnered tens of thousands of followers for her carefully-curated pro-Trump content: portraits of her attending right-wing galas, wearing MAGA hats, posing with guns, including a semiautomatic AR-15, and repeatedly visiting the White House — at least four times in April 2018 alone, including for the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn — according to her Instagram account.
Much of the account shows a gallery of a young influencer living her best life: posing in a helicopter, staying in luxury hotels, trailing Trump in Paris as he visited Emmanuel Macron, flaunting a $5,800 Chanel handbag, and posting the occasional inspirational quote. (Shortly after POLITICO began reporting this story, several photos began disappearing from her accounts.)
Trump’s downtown D.C. hotel — a mainstay of those hoping to hobnob with administration officials and other Trump-friendly folks — soon became the center of her social life. Allen was spotted frequently at the bar with Fox commentator Stephanie Hamill and was a mainstay of the MAGA-centered networking event First Fridays. She often posted photos from the gilded lobby, posing with minor conservative celebrities like Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and fashion designer Andre Soriano, whose dress for pro-Trump singer Joy Villa sparked controversy at this year’s Grammy Awards.
In February 2019, Allen took a paid position as executive director of the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition, run by Turkish author and women’s rights activist Rabia Kazan. Kazan and Allen had met through Virginia Women for Trump, and after Kazan launched her organization, Allen, who has never been to the Middle East, offered to run PR for her.
“I know that she’s going to be somebody,” Kazan said.
The Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition appears to have collapsed. “There [were] no activities for that organization,” said journalist Arwa Sawan, who’s listed as chairman of the group on the group’s website, and told POLITICO that she was only chairman because they put her photo on the site. “‘I told [Kazan], ‘Wow, what’s happening? What’s going on?’ and she told me ‘ah, I’ll let you know later,’ and she never said anything.”
Allen describes herself on Twitter as being part of the Trump Victory Committee but a person familiar with the matter said that anyone can sign up online to become a volunteer fundraiser for the committee. Allen, who said she had already raised almost $30,000 for the committee, hasn’t raised enough to hit the committee’s “member” level, said the person. (An RNC spokesman declined to comment when asked to confirm that she had raised that amount.)
In May of 2019, Allen’s influencing hustle paid off when she was appointed an unpaid Turning Point USA ambassador, a coveted title among pro-Trump activists that opened doors for her career and allowed her to meet high-profile conservatives and administration officials.
“That’s how she came across our radar,” Richie McGinnis, the chief video editor of The Daily Caller, said in an interview. “She just had a valuable perspective as a competent intelligent Gen Y female conservative, so she basically offered to do an opinion video.”
In her Twitter bio, she labels herself as an official “Daily Caller Video Contributor,” or, as she was quoted in an OANN article published last month, a “Daily Caller columnist.”
McGinnis declined to comment on her current status as a contributor but said that “the word ‘columnist’ or ‘contributor’ in the cable news world is different than in digital media. We have hundreds of contributors who come in to provide their opinion on video in an unpaid capacity. Maybe Christianné will do a new video to set the record straight about this article.”
Allen likely would have remained a small-time conservative talking head and MAGA social fixture if Giuliani hadn’t entered the picture.
In an email, Allen said she met Giuliani through a woman, though did not go further into describing precisely how they met and didn’t respond when asked who the woman was. Allen’s father said he didn’t know any details about how that relationship began, and neither did Giuliani’s friends.
“Nobody can figure out who the eff she is or how she got in there,” a friend of Giuliani told POLITICO. (Giuliani responded to the quote by calling the person “an anonymous ‘enemy’ jealous of me and probably her because he could never have been able to operate at her level, now and or in the past.”)
By July, she was having regular meals with Giuliani, according to texts she sent friends, and people who spotted them together at the Trump hotel. A July 9 tweet from the New York Post’s Jon Levine contains video of Allen and Giuliani hanging out on a boat, and sharing cake and ice cream at Anthony Scaramucci’s Hunt and Fish Club in Manhattan.
One person who attended an after-party for a Trump fundraiser in August spotted Allen with Giuliani and Hamill later that night walking out of the high-end restaurant Le Bilboquet in Long Island’s Sag Harbor. Allen went to the fundraiser, held at real estate developer Joe Farrell’s mansion in Southampton, and came home with a photo of herself posing with Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump, Jr. (Farrell said he didn’t remember her or know how she got in, but added that he didn’t handle all the invites.)
In August, Mediaite reported that Allen and her friends, Hamill and Daily Caller fellow Maranda Finney, had posted photos of themselves with Giuliani and huddled in a corner table during a book party for Judge Jeanine Pirro.
According to Allen, she began interviewing with Giuliani for her current job in September, which entailed a vague set of duties. “The position I currently hold requires you to wear many hats. Each day is incredibly fluid and is never the same twice,” she said in an email. She did not reply when asked to elaborate.
Torrance, a journalist who unexpectedly scored an interview with Giuliani for Spectator USA when the former New York mayor ended up sitting next to her on the Acela, recalls that Allen, who was also aboard, seemed “a little bit overwhelmed at times.”
Nor did Allen stop Giuliani as he gabbed to Torrance, on the record, during a train ride of more than three hours. Torrance observed that Allen appeared to be more of a “body man” than a communications strategist. “He would say to her ‘remind me tomorrow to do this’ — personal assistant kind of stuff.”
In her private dealings, Allen also happened to promote Giuliani’s foreign business ventures. “Hi beautiful!” she messaged Kazan’s sister, who with her husband runs a major Turkish plastics manufacturer, in an Instagram DM in late August. “I want to introduce you to Mayor Rudy Giuliani. I believe he can bring much value to Plastmore!” She capped it off with a heart emoji.
The meeting never took place, but according to Kazan, Allen continued to “desperately” call her and her sister over the next several weeks, attempting to set up a meeting. “What she’s doing is basically selling access,” said Kazan.
When reports emerged in late September that Giuliani had run a shadow campaign to persuade Ukrainian officials to fire then-ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and investigate the Bidens, Allen initially took to Twitter to defend him and threaten lawmakers with legal retribution.
“A potential lawsuit could be brought against members of Congress, individually, for violating constitutional rights and civil rights. They are interfering with the President’s duty to conduct the foreign policy of the US. Go @RudyGiuliani, go!” she wrote on Oct. 2.
As Giuliani’s implication in the Ukraine scandal deepened, Allen’s social media accounts pivoted away from chronicling her own Insta-worthy life to attacking Giuliani’s foes.
“Adam Schiff is making a mockery out of our system of justice!” she posted on Oct. 4. “He blatantly lied to the American public by saying he had no knowledge of the complaint. He then used his media appearances to put the complaint on a pedestal, while withholding it from Congress. Then finally read aloud to Congress a recreated, fabricated, and preposterous version of the phone call between POTUS and the Ukrainian President. Pretty much tells you how the Dems got their nickname, CROOKED!”
Whatever her strategy to defend her boss, it seems to be the exact opposite of keeping him disciplined and on message—something that struck one person who worked for Giuliani for years as odd.
“You didn’t as much handle Rudy but you just made sure he had information,” this person recalled. “He wanted facts, he would want to present a cogent argument with facts, so a lot of it was just making sure he had facts.”
As mayor, this person said, no reporter usually ever contacted Giuliani directly on his personal cell phone.
Things are distinctly different now. Furious, impulsive texts with reporters at odd hours, frequent accidental phone calls, and increasingly self-destructive appearances on television, angering top Republicans and sometimes even Trump himself: that’s the Giuliani of today, and the Giuliani that Allen is letting onto the airwaves.
Asked why he hired her, Giuliani said Allen “has already established a very strong and exceptional record as a very talented strategist, spokesperson, technology consultant and person of very mature judgment. She just finished a very grueling assignment in three different countries in four days. This assignment was accomplished flawlessly and is well beyond the abilities of your anonymous and otherwise unquestionably jealous sources.”
Countless Republicans, including people close to Trump himself, have aired their complaints about Giuliani, openly wishing that he would stop sabotaging the president. One Fox News host even demanded on live TV that Trump fire Giuliani, whom he called an “unethical disaster” threatening to “derail” Trump’s presidency.
Even Trump has begun distancing himself from his own attorney, telling former Fox personality Bill O’Reilly that he didn’t know why his favorite “warrior” had started poking around Ukraine. “Rudy has other clients, other than me. He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years,” the president said. And on Monday, Stephen Castor, the counsel for House Republicans in the impeachment inquiry, testified, “There is evidence that Rudy Giuliani did not speak on behalf of the president” in the course of his Ukraine work.
It’s telling that as others abandon Giuliani, Allen traveled with him to Ukraine on his latest quest to clear his name. According to The Washington Post, Trump officials involved with the impeachment process were not notified of the trip and found it “not helpful,” and Republican mega-donor and Trump supporter Dan Eberhardt expressed his surprise. “The fact that Giuliani is back in Ukraine is like a murder suspect returning to the crime scene to live-stream themselves moon dancing,” he told the Post.
Perhaps a more experienced hand could have restrained him. But Allen might be the best he can get at this juncture, theorized the person who used to work for Giuliani, given his volatility and toxicity.
“It’s funny in a sad kind of way,” this person said.