I still have the shakes from Sean Hannity’s interview Wednesday night with Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor-turned-inveterate yeller who now represents President Donald Trump. Giuliani shocked the Fox News host by breaking news on his supposed news program, nonchalantly confirming that Trump had reimbursed his other lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. It was not an illegal campaign contribution, Giuliani shrugged—just perfectly legitimate hush money to keep a porn actress quiet about an embarrassing (alleged) affair. No biggie.
As the White House has scrambled to respond to Giuliani’s one-man act, the president himself acknowledged on Twitter Thursday morning that he did know about the arrangement with Cohen and Daniels. Less than a month ago, he claimed he didn’t.
So which one is it? Is it possible that Trump realized he was paying Cohen without knowing that his money was going toward paying off women he’d slept with over the years? Giuliani attempted to clear things up in yet another interview on Thursday night, this one with NBC (emphasis mine) :
In a telephone interview with NBC News, Giuliani insisted he only shared details of the payment with Trump about a week ago.
“I don’t think the president realized he paid him (Cohen) back for that specific thing until we (his legal team) made him aware of the paperwork,” he said.
Giuliani said the president responded, “‘Oh my goodness, I guess that’s what it was for.’”
It sure seems like something Trump would say. But just imagine, for a moment, that Giuliani is telling the truth: What a luxury to pay a lawyer hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up for your past immorality, no questions asked.
Giuliani went on to assert to NBC that his string of bonkers interviews in recent days were all part of a PR counteroffensive being carried out by himself and Trump alone. That might be correct. Sarah Huckabee Sanders may have set a new record for dodges and half-baked answers in her briefing yesterday, admitting that she had only learned about Trump’s payments through Giuliani’s public statements. The Washington Post also reported yesterday that Giuliani’s strategy—if it can be called that—has taken pretty much everybody who works in the White House off guard. By golly, I cannot wait for his next Hannity interview.