The Rudy Giuliani Brain Trust

To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, the truth is the truth is the truth is the truth.

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Only the best people

The President of the US would have, as one would expect, his (or her) pick of the best legal minds in the country. People honored to act as the personal lawyer of the President. The pinnacle of long and storied careers. Being selected as a President’s personal lawyer is a professional capstone to which many top lawyers strive.

In this White House, the current resident of the Oval Office picked former NYC mayor, self-proclaimed security expert and general bug-eyed lunatic Rudy Giuliani. What a comedown from being “America’s Mayor” (a dubious distinction) after 9/11 to representing a narcissistic, ignorant, petty bully with whom no one else of worth will work. It’s like being picked last for any sport in your junior high gym class. You sucked at sports. Giuliani sucks at truth.

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Trump’s other personal lawyers are so inept that when the New York Times, on Aug. 18, documented how Don McGahn, the White House Counsel, gave 30 hours of interview time to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it shocked Team Trump. It was the first time they realized that they’d never been fully informed of what exactly McGahn discussed with Mueller. This was more than being caught flat-footed, this was a public humiliation. Why didn’t Giuliani ask McGahn what they talked about? Giuliani wasn’t even informed by McGahn; it fell to Trump’s previous personal lawyer, the long-gone John Dowd, to clue in the clueless. Giuliani’s only job in the White House is the Mueller investigation. Sad!

Perhaps this is because no one takes Giuliani seriously as a real lawyer. He’s more a court jester — saying idiotic things on TV, double-talking his own double-talk — just so he can claim a seat next to power. Other than Trump, no one really believes there is any power to sit next to.

Trump has had a terrible time finding top-notch legal help since Jan. 20, 2017. Instead of a line out the door, Trump finds top firms firmly closing their doors to him. Can’t imagine why:

Well-known Washington lawyers cited several reasons for declining the President in recent weeks, according to multiple sources familiar with their decisions. Among them, Trump appears to be a difficult client and has rebuked some of his lawyers’ advice. He’s perceived as so politically unpopular he may damage reputations rather than boost them.

No lawyer who worked for decades to build up his practice will put his name and firm’s reputation on the line by taking on such a mendacious client. That is career suicide.

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The list of Trump’s lawyers is very long and confusing, a constantly shifting list of hyper-conservative, media-hungry third-stringers and bottom-feeders. Or, in the case of Jay Sekulow, he emulates Trump with investigations into his family’s finances and an allegedly fraudulent nonprofit. Here’s part of a script that the nonprofit’s telemarketers used in order to frighten the poor “Christians” they were targeting for money:

“Islamic extremists are headed in your direction, and you are most likely the main target,” Sekulow himself told people in a recorded message used in fundraising calls during 2011. Telemarketers were instructed to tell people who initially said they could not donate that Islamist extremists “will succeed if we don’t do something RIGHT AWAY.” If the person resisted a second time, the script said to tell them: “It sounds like you really WANT to help.”

Sounds like the kind of money-grubbing charlatan who would work for a money-grubbing charlatan. Giuliani and Sekulow recently hosted Sean Hannity’s show while Hannity was somewhere more important. (Vacation? A sleepover at the White House?)

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But back to drunk Uncle Rudy. Early in his career, Giuliani was a well-respected federal prosecutor as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He took on the mob and prosecuted those lions of 1980s excess, Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. He ran for mayor twice, winning the second time, and he took credit for NYC’s revitalization during the 1990s. Under Bill Bratton, his police chief, crime dropped dramatically, and the economy boomed as Times Square became Disneyfied and tourists flocked back. He lost a Senate race to Hillary Clinton in 2000 and went back to just being Mayor. But then 9/11 happened, and Giuliani’s second life was launched. He built Giuliani Partners, an entire security company based on his alleged expertise. This was the man who, after the 1993 bomb attack on the World Trade Center, had a brilliant idea about an emergency command center:

The New York Police Department produced a detailed analysis in 1998 opposing plans by the city to locate its emergency command center at the World Trade Center, but the Giuliani administration overrode those objections. The command center later collapsed from damage in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Giuliani could have run his security company, raked in the money and lived a good life at the top of the heap. But his insatiable ego needed more. He ran what many consider the worst presidential campaign in living memory, leaving his campaign $3.6 million in arrears. It was such a humiliating defeat that he should have worked overtime as a cater waiter to pay his campaign debts. Instead, he made John McCain pay it off. Like Sekulow, Giuliani comes right out of the Trump playbook: never pay your debts.

Giuliani spent the years between 2008 and 2016 appearing on Fox News and pretending to be a security expert, including in every speech a noun, a verb and a 9/11 reference:

Well, except this one time in a speech attacking President Obama on Trump’s behalf:

“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack inside the United States,” Giuliani said as he introduced Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Youngstown, Ohio.
“They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office,” Giuliani continued.

Obama wasn’t sworn in until Jan. 20, 2009; Clinton served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.

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It wasn’t until he became a shill for Trump that Giuliani’s star finally started to dim. His insane, unhinged, bizarre rant at the 2016 Republican National Convention should have been the red blinking light warning people to back away, slowly:

Any day on TV you can see Giuliani saying things that puts his client in legal jeopardy. It is the definition of “no legal strategy,” but Trump likes to see Giuliani on the TV, so there he is. Trump doesn’t understand that whenever Giuliani speaks, Mueller’s team gets its wings.

For example: yes, Trump sure did pay off Stormy Daniels! It’s just money laundering! No big deal!

For his part, Giuliani, who recently joined Trump’s legal team, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the payment was “perfectly legal” and was “not campaign money.” “Funneled through a law firm, and the president repaid it,” Giuliani said.

Again on Hannity, Giuliani put himself in the direct path of Mueller’s obstruction case:

“He fired Comey because Comey would not — among other things — say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation,” said Giuliani, who last month joined Trump’s legal team addressing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. “He fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy,'” Giuliani said of Trump’s dismissal of Comey.

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Giuliani’s worst performance to date was probably a series of rambling appearances on cable on July 30, where he claimed that Trump knew about the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it happened!

Or maybe it was last Sunday on Meet the Press. Giuliani claimed that Trump should not meet with Mueller because he was afraid that Trump would get railroaded and that, well, says Rudy, the truth is not the truth!

But on Tues. Aug. 21, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, both part of Trump’s inner circle, became felons. Manafort was found guilty of eight out of 18 counts — five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer for over 10 years, pled guilty while implicating the President in these crimes.

Cohen admitted to a federal judge that he and Trump intentionally kept information from the public that would have possibly affected the results of the 2016 election. Apparently, Giuliani missed the part where Cohen specifically told the judge that the hush money payment was made “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” This money was paid by Cohen to two women with whom Trump had affairs in order to shut them up, he was later repaid by Trump. We know this because Giuliani let that golden nugget slip during a TV interview. But then, as we’ve come to expect and against clear evidence, Giuliani immediately claimed that no such thing happened:

There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen. It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s action’s reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.

This is a brain trust? These are the “best people” that Trump promised to bring to his White House? A bunch of C-list, morally bankrupt has-beens who would be at home in the D-List world of The Apprentice? As Mueller continues investigating, will Giuliani continue to ramble incoherently and spew spurious legal claims while putting his client in greater peril? Yes, yes, he will. Good.