Look, I am not the Politizoom legal correspondent. In fact, I’m still amazed I scored this gig. And, so I’ve tried to stay away from “everything legal” and self-referential stuff. But, damn, some balls are just thrown so soft that you’re standing there with your bat and … you know. Hit it!
So, Rudy is still speaking, evidently ignoring the advice of all but perhaps one world inhabitant. When you hear what he said, you’re going to think this sounds innocuous, what harm could possibly come from what he said, right? Per Politico:
Donald Trump’s lawyers have begun planning a series of summer prep sessions for the president before a possible sit-down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.
The planning meetings — to be held during off-hours at the White House and perhaps over rounds of golf at Trump’s private courses, Giuliani said — will mirror the then-GOP nominee’s 2016 debate preparation, in which aides briefed an impatient Trump in several brief sessions over many weeks. Giuliani said the briefings likely will begin after Trump returns from a June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if a Mueller interview is agreed to..
Oh, you’re such a tease, Rudy. There’s no way in hell that Trump is talking to Mueller. Okay, wait, there is one way, and that would be that some stuff comes out that is so shocking and so egregious, that Trump faces serious political trouble by being subpoenad and fighting it – essentially “taking the Fifth” as the nation’s leader of the law enforcement branch.
In such a situation, yes, Trump could find himself wanting to talk to Mueller, if only to say to his true believers; “See, I got nothing to hide from this witch-hunt, it’s all made up and I’ll go explain it to them.”
Given that possible situation, Rudy goes on TV, because he apparently doesn’t know that shows go on TV without him, and lets the world know that they’re “prepping Trump” for such an interview. But, knowing this president’s “style,” they’ve chosen the “Saving Your Presidency For Dummies”-style. In other words, they’re going to do several extremely short sessions, like they did when he prepped to debate Hillary Clinton, in each of which, he proceeded to get his ass kicked, which never mattered. This little “debate” most certainly will.
Okay, the lawyer in me comes out for just a moment. First,, prepping for an interview isn’t bad in and of itself, at all – it all depends upon why the police want to talk.
If a policeman waves you down on the street and asks if he can ask you a question real quick, it’s likely he wants to ask if you’ve seen a certain dog, or car. No one says, “No, I think it best that I prep for this interview.”
Second scenario: Police call you at your office and say they’re looking into a matter that you might be able to help with. You know you’ve done nothing wrong. Generally speaking, that person may call their lawyer just to run it by them, generally speaking the lawyer says “Go ahead and talk to them and if they start asking anything uncomfortable, tell them that you’d like your lawyer present for the meeting.”
Third scenario: You know it looks like you did something wrong, because you probably did, but think it best to speak anyway because you have a legitimate reason it looks like you did something wrong. You prep a little, and bring your lawyer.
Fourth Scenario: You’re guilty as hell, and you know it. Yet, you pretty well have to speak to the police if you have any hope of explaining some sort of justification. In that scenario, you do prep, and you bring your lawyer.
Trump is playing with fire a bit here, because he definitely knows he needs his lawyer there, but Mueller won’t wait forever as the White House weighs its options. If Mueller must issue a subpoena, Trump does not get to have his lawyer present. He can say he will talk but wants his attorney there. Mueller would take it. *Was it not just the other night that I reported on Rudy saying that Trump wanted to “speak to Mueller” (as in lecture Mueller on some stuff, but no questions, or else they will go Plan B and C, both of which are “Fire Mueller”).
Regardless, Rudy found a way to do something no one does. Rudy just gave one of the best prosecutors in the world a “heads-up” on the fact that they’re prepping, and how they’re doing it, in short sessions, because of his famously short attention span.
Why is that bad?
Because Robert Mueller’s staff knows how to read and will see it in the paper.
Look, Mueller and his staff are not “out to get Trump” – they ARE “out to get the truth.” So, if you know someone is prepping, in short sessions, like a debate, and want the truth, what to do?
That’s not hard. You organize your interview in a way that no one would expect. Do not categorize questions into certain topics. Shift topics, fast, then go back to the topic later, back and forth, hit topic A, then E, then C, then G, all to throw off the canned explanations. You mix up your questions so that you ask three easy, rather meaningless questions, then slam him with a critical question, short answer, on something he never saw coming. Finally, if they think they have him hooked, they follow-up every question with another question asking for more detail, because A) you’re after the truth, not canned answers, and B) You know Trump prepped for canned short answers, and may say damn near anything just to “move on.”
I’ve seen this done on the witness stand and it can be highly dangerous for the lawyer, because the jury may just get completely confused and tune out. I have also seen it work spectacularly, witnesses get so flustered by questioning that didn’t come at them as expected, they find themselves going on instinct, which is to either lie, or tell a truth he shouldn’t have admitted.
Now, given that there will be one person in the room examining the answers, do you find it likely that Mueller will get “confused” as they jump topics?
When is Rudy just going to learn that everything goes better (for Trump, not the world) when he just keeps his mouth shut? I am beginning to think that Rudy tells Trump that people need to know ___________, all as justification for Rudy to have more time on TV, being important, like 9-11, when he was so important, he considered putting off the elections that November. If you have a better explanation, and that is more likely than not, please leave them in the comments.