Putting the Rude in Rudy
Yes, yes, I know that Rudy Giuliani has made a LOT of headlines for his mind-numbing admissions on "Fox News" about Trump having paid Michael Cohen the $130,000 in hush money for Stormy Daniels. But there was one other quote that's gotten mentioned but largely glossed over that I'm fascinated by the most because, though a far-lesser issue with no legal risk to him, might bother Trump even more.
That's saying a lot because Giuliani's comment about the payment is massive. Not just because it opens Trump up to campaign finance laws, but also money laundering and bank fraud. And depending on how the money was "funneled" from Trump to Cohen "over several months," that too could be a problem, if it was made in payments under $10,000 in order to avoid reporting, which would be a federal crime. In addition, separate from all that, a huge problem for Cohen -- and Trump, for that matter -- is that it turns out the $130,000 wire transfer was drawn on a San Francisco bank. That means the California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra -- who has been a vocal and active critic of Trump -- would have jurisdiction over a case if one was filed. And presidential pardon's only relate to federal crimes, not state.
And none of this even touches on the reprehensible, despicable things he said about James Comey -- a man he himself actually hired as a prosecutor. Among other things, calling him a "very perverted man."
Giuliani later released a statement that Trump was "very pleased" by his appearance on "Fox News," and that they had actually discussed the revelation ahead of time. And that he did not expect to be fired. And then this morning, Trump himself posted three tweets explaining the long, convoluted explanation about why what Giuliani said was All True. The first began -- "Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer..." And the others included such phrases as, "In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration against Ms. Clifford (Daniels)..."
First, General Custer didn't expect to lose to the Indians. Second, anyone who thinks Trump himself wrote those three tweets hasn't been paying attention for the past two years. They are written with such meticulous precision and detail that belie Trump typing. (Though not Trump input -- the passage that says how this is common practice among celebrities "and people of wealth" could only have come from the boss. Though not the actual typing of it, after all since when have we ever heard Trump refer to himself a a "person of wealth," rather than "I'm really, really rich, folks." Especially after the recent revelation that Trump dictated the glowing physician letter from Dr. Bornstein, one can virtually see Trump standing over his attorney's shoulder while the lawyer is typing and saying, "Be sure to write I'm really, really rich. Say that, say that!!!") No, it's blatantly clear that this is written by a Trump lawyer trying to establish that "Mr. Cohen, an attorney" is an attorney and on "monthly retainer" to show he was in active employment as an attorney so as to try to make all the material seized by federal agents fall under attorney-client privilege. Of course, saying this in three tweets and establishing this in real life -- especially after Trump himself said in his Fox & Friends meltdown that Cohen only did a very tiny, tiny amount of work for him.
Now, whether this new tactic is one they came up with after Giiuliani accidentally spilled the beans, or if it was the plan all along for him to have said all that is another matter. And it's moot for everyone but Giuliani and his continued employment. Because the bottom line is that either way, the White House is actually revealing that Trump had been lying to the public, as well as now thinks it's a great idea to open himself up to all these legal troubles. Though given the legal advice and analysis that Trump has been tweeting about lately (like saying one can't obstruct justice if there's no case), I suppose that part is possible.
It also begs the question about one other thing Giuliani said and whether that was "planned," too. Which is the matter I mentioned at the very start.
To be clear, all these legal problems that Giuliani just dumped on Trump are huge. But I still was most intrigued by his comments when asked about about what if Jared Kushner was called before Mueller and charged with any crimes. Giuliani laughed and said, "Jared is disposable."
This is Jared Kushner. Trump's beloved son-in-law. Husband to his adored daughter. The man he has put in charge of an near-unbelievable number of areas of critical world importance, including Korea and solving the Middle East problems. This is who Rudy Giuliani has said is "disposable."
I was watching MSNBC when they played this clip, and after they returned to the four guests, one of them -- reporter Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, was outwardly laughing.
And not a word from Trump in "his" tweets this morning about whether Giuliani and he had discussed that ahead of time and was totally true.
For all the other, far more serious problems Giuliani caused for Trump -- whether accidental or planned -- that one expression, "Disposable," might be what caused him far-bigger problems for himself.
Not that he was wrong, mind you. Just not to Trump...
Oh, and the "two weeks" that Giuliani said were all he needed to get Mueller to wrap the investigation were over as of yesterday. Interestingly, it's possible Giuliani is, too.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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