If Donald Trump was serious about mounting a credible defense in the face of what certainly seems like a special counsel probe that’s zeroing in on the President and his family, he would do two things immediately:
- fire Rudy Giuliani
- stop effectively indicting himself on Twitter
In the past five days alone, the President has accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of being “scared stiff”, “missing in action” and to top it all off, declared that “if we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started!”
That, even when he knows that Robert Mueller is monitoring his tweets for evidence of obstruction.
On July 26, the New York Times reported that the special counsel may be angling to cite Trump’s tweets as evidence of witness intimidation, and one of the “witnesses” in question is Sessions. Since the April FBI raid on Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, the President has suggested that if he had it to do over again, he would never have put Sessions in charge of the Justice Department in the first place, a clear indication that he views Sessions’ recusal as the proximate cause of his legal troubles.
Meanwhile, Giuliani has made all manner of contradictory statements on national television over the course of his relatively brief tenure on Trump’s legal team, statements that have caused irreparable harm to Trump’s defense. The list of Giuliani’s screw ups is now so long that it isn’t feasible to document them in a single sitting, so at this point, we’ve taken to just referring readers to our Rudy archive, which is replete with video clips of his at times wildly erratic TV cameos.
Over the past couple of weeks, Rudy has taken his attacks on the Mueller probe up several notches, seemingly tipping something imminently bad for the President. Giuliani’s comments to the media have generally centered around the notion that one way or another, Trump “expects” the Mueller probe to be concluded by September 1, a meaningless thing to say because it isn’t up to Trump when the probe is concluded.
Back in May, barely a month after inexplicably stepping into the fray on behalf of Trump, Giuliani told the New York Times that the argument for expecting the special counsel investigation to be wrapped up by September revolves around the idea that Mueller wouldn’t “want to be seen as interfering with the [midterm] election.” Here’s an excerpt from that Times piece:
He urged that the investigation be wrapped up as soon as possible, pointing as a cautionary tale to the revelation by the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey in the last days of the 2016 presidential race that he was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Mr. Comey’s announcement is widely blamed by Democrats for costing her the election. The F.B.I. found no wrongdoing.
That, we said when the interview was published, is bizarre because it appeared to suggest that Giuliani was trying to use “look what happened to Hillary” to justify pressuring Mueller into hurrying things along. Obviously, that’s not the greatest way to frame things when you’re representing a President who is at pains to convince everyone that he won the presidency fair and square.
According to an interview with USA Today published late last month, Giuliani is preparing a “counter-memo” in the event Mueller releases something damaging on the President at the end of the investigation.
All the while, the question of whether Trump will sit for an interview with the special counsel remains unanswered, although amusingly, the President’s lawyers recently suggested that if he did agree to a face-to-face, questions about obstruction would be taboo. That would appear to mean the interview is a non-starter because after all, obstruction is a big part of the investigation.
Well on Wednesday evening, the Washington Post is out quoting Giuliani as saying that in the event terms can’t be reached on an interview, he (Rudy) is ready to resist a potential subpoena from Mueller. And yes, I’m serious. Here’s Giuliani:
We would move to quash the subpoena. And we’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.
[We’re ready to] argue it before the Supreme Court, if it ever got there.
As the Post goes on to detail, “a letter from Trump’s lawyers sent to Mueller on August 8 significantly lessened the possibility of a voluntary presidential interview [and] the multipage response represents what Trump’s lawyers expect to be their last word on Mueller’s request.” That, according to two people familiar with the discussions who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity.
Here’s Rudy again:
Even if we responded in 10 days to a subpoena, it would have to be decided by a district court judge, and you could appeal it in a circuit court, and then you argue it before the Supreme Court, if it ever got there. Plan A is we somehow work out the questioning. Plan B is we don’t and they subpoena. Plan C is they file the report and don’t issue a subpoena.
“Plan D” is that Trump ends up getting himself indicted. At least in the court of public opinion, because if he ends up having to take a subpoena fight with aggressive federal prosecutors to the Supreme Court with Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, it’s not going to look good. Of course Emmet T. Flood is in the mix here as well and Giuliani said he would “have a big role to play”.
Speaking of public opinion, Giuliani refused to rule out a pardon for Paul Manafort, saying simply that he has advised Trump against it.
You can draw your own conclusions here.