Donald Trump’s most visible attorney was back on the air on Wednesday to “clarify” what he said the previous two days by throwing over them a blanket claim of ignorance.
President Donald Trump only recently found out that he reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement with adult performer Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 election, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed Thursday. …
“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.’”
Which, of course, is a reversal of Giuliani’s claims earlier that Trump was aware that Cohen was being paid back for the Daniels payments, and that Trump had in fact designed the $35,000 a month payments to Cohen for “doing no work” as a means of both paying Cohen back and providing him “a little profit.”
To believe this story first requires that genuine people come away thinking that Donald Trump has ever started any sentence in his life with “Oh my goodness” rather than something … more visceral. It also requires belief that Trump tossed Michael Cohen over three quarters of a million—$470,000 from the Trump organization and $288,000 from Trump’s campaign—without having a clue why he was paying someone more money than most Americans see in their whole lives. Donald Trump’s entire legal strategy has come down to sending out a spokesman to spread a message of “I am ignorant of my own company’s activities, sloppy about cleaning up my own messes, and incredibly careless with my money. So it’s all good.”
America is getting a vivid demonstration of what happens when one ego-laden reality-challenged crackpot is brought in as the primary representative of an even more ego-laden reality-challenged loon. Rudy Giuliani continually assures everyone that there is “no daylight” between the things that he is saying and the positions that Donald Trump wants the public to hear. But Giuliani’s appearances on Fox, his interview with the New York Times, and his subsequent “refinements” of his message appear to have caught all the real lawyers on Trump’s ever-changing legal team by surprise.
That’s because none of them appears to have thought up confessing to criminal activity on national TV as the best course of action.
But then, none of them are Rudy Giuliani, great legal mind and “America’s Mayor.” Of course, neither is Giuliani.
For two decades, Giuliani has been lauded with praise mainly for the fact that he happened to be mayor of New York—the disgraced mayor, whose programs were in tatters, who had been caught in an affair that saw him booted from Gracie Mansion, and whose popularity was somewhere well below the city’s entertaining pizza rats—when the terrible events of 9/11 hit. Rudy Giuliani is The Man Who Happened to Be There. Which often turns out to be all that it takes to be declared a Republican hero (See Reagan, Ronald). Especially if Being There is followed by a deep pocketed GOP effort to create a public image for someone who is always willing to appear at a moment’s notice to mouth whatever the current platform of the Republican Party might be. Based on Giuliani, it seems that platform has been stable for decades: Hillary Clinton is bad.
The truth is that Giuliani is a professional shill, decades away from his legal experience, and miles away from any area of expertise he may once have had. It’s unclear if he really has such a poor understanding of campaign finance law that he can sit and seriously claim that Donald Trump took money “and funneled it through a law firm” as if that makes everything okay, or if Giuliani knows that it’s pure bullshit … but knows he’s made a good living shoveling the stuff for years.
The trouble for Donald Trump is that Giuliani, The Man Who Happened to Be There, now appears to be The Man Who is Not All There. And the best excuse that Rudy can generate to protect either of them boils down to ignorance. Ignorance so thick that Giuliani can’t see the massive contradiction between claiming that payments to Daniels had nothing to do with the campaign and …
Giuliani told Sean Hannity it would have been politically problematic for news of the deal to break in the month before the election.
The result of Giuliani’s trot across the media has reportedly been to throw the rest of Trump’s legal team into angry confusion. But it shouldn’t have. Ignorance is the universal claim of the Trump regime.
It’s Sarah Sanders’s excuse for why the White House Press Office feeds out constant lies. “The best information available,” which happens to be lies. But oh well.
And it’s the primary thing that Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo is selling when he claims that Mueller is “more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there.” Gee, officer, we was all so stupid and ignorant, that we didn’t see how all those pieces went together to form a conspiracy to join with a foreign power in a scheme to corrupt a United States election. Golly. Or rather: Oh my goodness. So that’s what all those meetings and calls and emails were for.
If the rest of Trump’s legal team expects to stay long enough that they also can “retire” like Ty Cobb and John Dowd, they’d better get ignorant. Fast.