It really says something when your brand new attorney can’t stop making incriminating statements about you. Rudy Giuliani recently made the news when he publicly announced to the world that Donald Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 hush money payout to Stormy Daniels. That was something that Trump had been denying for months.
Following that gargantuan gaffe, Giuliani went on a whirlwind tour of the media with clarifications that only made matters worse. If we didn’t know better, we’d think that he’s working for Robert Mueller and giving the special counsel more evidence of Trump’s guilt. What else could explain his relentless trashing of his own client?
Well, he’s done it again. On Friday Giuliani gave an interview to the Huffington Post wherein he sought to defend Trump from allegations arising out of Cohen’s suspicious financial dealings with a variety of corporations that have obvious interests in Trump’s decision making. Cohen took in millions from the likes of Novartis, Korean Aerospace, AT&T, and even a Russian oligarch connected to Vladimir Putin. All of these funds were funneled through the same account Cohen used to payoff Stormy Daniels.
The AT&T payola holds special significance to Trump considering their still pending merger with TimeWarner (parent of CNN). Trump’s Justice Department is currently suing to block the deal. So any involvement by Trump would violate both legal ethics and his statement that he would not interfere. Giuliani’s latest verbal misfire was launched while attempting to clear Trump of the perception that he was being influenced by Cohen and the money received from AT&T. Giuliani said that:
“Whatever lobbying was done didn’t reach the president. He did drain the swamp … The president denied the merger. They didn’t get the result they wanted.”
OK then. So Giuliani is now contradicting Trump’s assertion that he wouldn’t get involved. Giuliani is explicitly saying that Trump did step in to deny the merger. In effect, Giuliani is calling the President a liar. And as if to confirm Giuliani’s assessment of Trump as less than honest, Trump himself joined in with a tweet saying:
Why doesn’t the Fake News Media state that the Trump Administration’s Anti-Trust Division has been, and is, opposed to the AT&T purchase of Time Warner in a currently ongoing Trial. Such a disgrace in reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2018
Of course, the media has reported that repeatedly. But more to the point, Trump is agreeing with Giuliani that the opposition to the merger is proof that Trump wasn’t improperly influenced by Cohen and AT&T. Which would only be true if the premise that Trump had something to do with it holds. Therefore Trump is now calling himself a liar for saying that he had not interfered.
Saturday morning Giuliani was once again walking back something he said that hurt his client in the White House. He told CNN’s Dana Bash that Trump didn’t interfere after all. So the merger is still being contested by Trump’s Justice Department, which Trump proudly boasted about in his tweet. It’s just not because of anything that Trump said, allegedly, despite Giuliani’s previous statement and Trump’s months of bashing the merger on the campaign trail.
If this is confusing you, you’re not alone. There has to be a reason that AT&T would pay Cohen $600,000 after Trump’s inauguration. Cohen has no discernible skills or knowledge relating to the communications industry or mergers and acquisitions. What he had to sell was access to the President. AT&T now says that their contract with Cohen was a mistake. Obviously, since the DOJ is still suing them. But the fact that the merger is still being contested in court doesn’t exonerate Trump. It just reveals that Trump hates CNN even more than he loves money. And he doesn’t care who he has to screw over to achieve his goals.
UPDATE: Giuliani is now telling CBS News that he’s standing by his Friday comments that Trump denied the merger. So we’re back to Trump interfered. Is anyone else getting nauseous?