Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has had quite an interesting few days. Last Wednesday, he went on TV and told a perplexed Chris Cuomo on CNN that he had “never said there was no collusion between the [Trump] campaign” and Russia, only that Trump himself didn’t participate in the collusion. Things have only gotten weirder since then.
On Thursday, Buzzfeed released an explosive article reporting that Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the failed Trump Tower Moscow deal.
In some ways, the resulting media frenzy could not have been better for Trump’s team. Special counsel Robert Mueller disputed the facts in Buzzfeed’s story, which should have been a perfect opportunity for Giuliani to spin the narrative in favor of Trump. Instead, he went on CNN yesterday and said, yeah, maybe Trump did talk to Cohen about his testimony before Congress. But he didn’t tell him to lie!
Now, Giuliani has somehow made it even worse. In an unplanned interview with New Yorker reporter Isaac Chotiner on Monday night, in the minutes before hopping in the shower, Giuliani found entirely new ways to contradict himself.
The interview features a huge amount of contradictory language about Trump’s conversations with Cohen before he testified to Congress, the scope of the discussions about the Moscow deal before it fizzled out, and the existence of recordings of Trump talking about all of this.
“There are no tapes, there are no texts, there is no corroboration that the President told him to lie... I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed,” Giuliani says.
Then, a few sentences later: “I shouldn’t have said tapes... No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.”
Alright, no tapes, go it.
Giuliani also can’t seem to pin down whether Trump’s talks about the Moscow deal never happened, or weren’t a crime if they did happen. He says both variations several times.
From The New Yorker:
I never said he had [narrator voice:] “conversations about a skyscraper in Moscow.” The only thing that ever happened was that they submitted a letter of intent about a possible project in Moscow that never went beyond that. No money was ever paid, no plans were ever made. There were no drafts. Nothing in the file. Nothing ever happened to it. Much ado about nothing, because the New York Times wants to crucify the President. And the President had no conversations. I shouldn’t say he had no conversations. He had a few conversations about this early-stage proposal that he ended somewhere in early 2016, and doesn’t have a recollection of anything else, and there is nothing to support anything else.
Giuliani says he can’t reveal how he knows this information because it would violate his attorney client privilege with Trump.
And then we’re back to this again:
[If] there were such conversations, which there weren’t, they would be completely innocent. Whenever [you speak in hypotheticals], you always run the risk someone is going to report just the first part of your conversation. But I thought it was necessary to [talk about]. If he had a project in Moscow, there would be nothing wrong with it, but he didn’t.
Giuliani then stops just short of accusing the New York Times of inventing a quote of his saying that conversations about the Moscow deal went on throughout the campaign.
The most interesting and bizarre part of this entire conversation has nothing to do with Trump, but with how Giuliani sees himself. It comes when Chotiner asks Giuliani if all of the scandals surrounding Trump make him worry about his legacy.
I am afraid it will be on my gravestone: “Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump.” Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter. He will be on my side, because I am, so far . . . I don’t think, as a lawyer, I ever said anything that’s untruthful. I have a sense of ethics that is as high as anybody you can imagine. I’ve been doing this forever. I am doing what I believe in. I may not always be right, but I am doing what I believe. And I believe this man has been treated horribly.
A lot going on there!!!
Before Giulani goes off to take his long promised shower, Chotiner gives him one last opportunity to hang himself by asking if he has any thoughts about MLK Day.
“Oh, my goodness, yes,” Giuliani says. “He was a great hero of mine. I believe he taught me, like he did all of us, how bad segregation was. Those of us in the North wouldn’t have known that without him.”
There you have it, folks. Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr., without whom we wouldn’t know about segregation.