Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani conducted a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday. In this interview, he not only seemed to admit that Trump knew about Paul Manafort’s dealings with Russia, but declared that Trump should be allowed to “correct” any report coming from the special counsel’s office before it is seen by the public.
With Republicans rushing to seat William Barr as the new attorney general, any report coming from Mueller will land first on Barr’s desk. In theory, that could be the end of it. Barr could order the report sealed and simply refuse to release its findings to the public. But that outcome seems tailor-made to generate a firestorm even Trump might notice from his Hannity-lined bubble. Now Giuliani is saying that the public may get a “Mueller report.” Only that report may not be the one produced by Mueller.
Giuliani: As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you—so we can correct it if they’re wrong. They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.
Stand by for a report from a two-year special counsel investigation that concludes that Donald Trump … is six-foot-five, weighs in at a svelte 210, and has the manliest hands in Washington. Also, he’s never heard of Russia. In fact, there is no Russia.
The number of sources indicating that special counsel Robert Mueller is a few months, if not weeks, from delivering his final report on conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has been rapidly increasing. Even as Trump conducts his staged shutdown, leaving hundreds of thousands without pay, costing the nation billions, and generating a genuine threat to national security, the shadow of the final report from the special counsel is hanging over his White House. But Giuliani’s attempt to dispel that threat by simply giving Robert Mueller a Stephen Miller rewrite represents a new level of … of … we really do need to declare a national emergency, so we can allocate funds to thinking up words that rhyme with “treason.”
In the same interview, Giuliani shrugged off reports that Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort traveled to Europe, met with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, negotiated over the future of Ukraine, and slipped the Russians internal polling data from the Trump campaign.
Giuliani: Should he have done it? No. But there’s nothing criminal about it.
While it’s not an explicit declaration that Trump knew about Manafort’s actions, this appears to be another case of Giuliani performing his “ice breaker” role on the path of Trump’s cell-block tango from “he didn’t do it” to, eventually, “if he did it, it wasn’t a crime.” Or at least not a big crime.
And that admission—that Trump’s campaign was directly involved in conspiracy with the Russian government through Manafort, if not through several other channels—is exactly why Trump is so anxious to mark up the Mueller report before anyone gets a chance to see it. Just note that every time some part of that final, final report starts with “Trump didn’t do it” and ends with “But if Trump done it, how could you say that Trump was wrong,” he owes the estate of Fred Ebb, the lyricist of Chicago, a royalty check.