For reasons that remain largely unclear, Donald Trump continues to let Rudy Giuliani give interviews on live television.
That, despite Rudy’s habit of accidentally incriminating Trump each and every time his ghastly visage materializes opposite an always adversarial host.
This dynamic transformed Giuliani into a standing joke last summer and culminated in the surreal moment when Rudy told Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth“, to which Todd responded/pleaded: “Please don’t do this, it’s going to turn into a bad meme.”
Well, it did – turn into a bad meme, that is. And so did Rudy himself. Montages of his wild facial expressions have become commonplace on social media and his wide-eyed antics are now a mainstay on late night comedy shows.
He (Rudy) gave it a rest for a while, but he showed up on CNN on Wednesday and inadvertently admitted there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Fast forward to Sunday and Giuliani attempted to dispel the notion that Trump tried to steer Michael Cohen in the direction of lying to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow.
This is (yet another) case where it’s not clear why Rudy is even giving interviews. After all, the special counsel’s office already disputed the veracity of the BuzzFeed story, so all Trump and his lawyers needed to do was shut up. But no, instead we got this:
Obviously that’s a disaster. Do note that Tapper isn’t really in the “gotcha” business, or at least not to the extent that Chris Cuomo is. Point being, it’s not even clear that Tapper meant for Rudy to screw up that badly – Giuliani just rambled himself into a corner as he’s wont to do.
Exactly nobody believes that if Donald Trump did talk to Cohen about his testimony that the conversation would have revolved around Trump advising him (Cohen) to be honest. That’s silly. Whether or not the BuzzFeed story is exaggerated (or, as Mueller’s office put it, “not accurate”), not even the most ardent Trump supporter would believe that Trump said something like: “Listen, Mikey, just go in there and tell them the truth, these are good people and we have nothing to hide”.
In any event, Rudy wasn’t done for the day. He also went on MSNBC to chat with Chuck Todd and that was even more confusing than the Tapper fiasco. Here’s Giuliani trying to explain the timeline on the Trump Tower Moscow discussions and also (trying) to weigh in on what Don Jr. and Ivanka might have known.
Got that first part? Here’s the transcript:
CHUCK TODD: “Well you just said there, you said the president is not sure when talked ended. You, I’m guessing you had to answer this question in written form by Mr. Mueller. So right, it’s your understanding it ended when? In January, as Michael Cohen incorrectly testified to?”
RUDY GIULIANI: “No. It’s our understanding that it, that they went on throughout 2016, not a lot of them, but there were conversations, can’t be sure of the exact date, but the president can remember having conversations with him about it. The president also remembers …”
CHUCK TODD: “Throughout 2016?”
RUDY GIULIANI: “Yeah. Probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election. So anytime during that period they could have talked about it, but the president’s recollection of it is the thing had petered out quite a bit. They sent a letter of intent in. They didn’t even know where to send it, they knew so little about it. They finally got it straightened out and then they abandoned the project. And that’s about as much as he can remember of it because remember, 2015, 2016, he’s running against 16 people for president of the United States. And I know that, I was with him like for five months. All his concentration was 100% on running for president.”
So, from where we’re sitting, that makes two times in the same day (once with Tapper and then again with Todd) that Rudy Giuliani admitted that Donald Trump was still talking with Michael Cohen about Trump Tower Moscow right up until the election.
You almost don’t know what to say – obviously, none of that is consistent with the previous messaging from the administration on this project. This is just another example of the goal posts moving as the facts emerge, and this is exacerbated by Giuliani who continues to volunteer information that at best makes Trump seem dishonest and at worst, is incriminating.
We’ve said it before and we’re reasonably sure we’ll find ourselves saying it another hundred times before this is all over: Trump needs to find a new lawyer, because this one is even worse than Michael Cohen.