Rudy Thursday

[ Posted Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 – 17:04 UTC ]

I have to begin with my apologies to Mick Jagger and the gang for today's title. Mea culpa. But today certainly has been all about Rudy, so it seemed appropriate even if the reference was a bit weak. Although the lyrics: "When you change with every new day / Still, I'm going to miss you" may indeed wind up being applicable to Rudy Giuliani, or maybe even his new boss. One can always hope, right?

Last night, President Donald Trump's new lawyer went on Fox News to admit that both Trump and everyone around him have been flat-out lying all along about the payment of $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. This bombshell was almost casually dropped, appearing to catch even Sean Hannity by surprise. Other people it also apparently caught by surprise: the entire Trump legal team, and everyone else who works in the White House. But not, notably, Donald Trump himself. Rudy would never have taken it upon himself to change Trump's story in such dramatic fashion without Trump's prior approval, so I do take Rudy at his word that he had gotten Trump's approval to do so in advance.

So, Trump lied. It's still debatable whether it was a lie of omission or a lie of commission, but what is beyond doubt is that Trump did indeed lie. So did everyone else surrounding Trump and his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen who was asked about the payoff. Trump did indeed reimburse Cohen and, according to Rudy, also included enough on top to cover any possible taxes as well as a tidy profit for Cohen. Giuliani said this money was paid over time, through $35,000 monthly fees paid from Trump to Cohen. Giuliani even dropped a possible total number in one interview, after being asked how many payments it took: "Do the arithmetic, right? $35,000 a month, probably starting in January or February. By the time you get to $250,000, it's all paid off." So apparently the legal fee for paying the hush money was a cool $120,000 -- nice work, if you can get it.

Another (lesser) bombshell was dropped yesterday, but few noticed it because Giuliani's surprise claim immediately sucked up all the media oxygen. The attorney for Stormy Daniels appeared on Stephen Colbert's show last night, which was obviously taped before Rudy's interview aired. He brought with him an exclusive piece of information -- the paperwork from the bank transfer of the $130,000. It showed that the money originated from a San Francisco branch of the bank that Cohen used (or "that the phony corporation he set up used," to be strictly accurate). This means, as Stormy's lawyer pointed out, that California's attorney general would have jurisdiction over the transaction under state law, and that whatever charges Xavier Becerra came up with could not be pardoned by Donald Trump. This revelation was eclipsed by Giuliani's announcement, but it may turn out to be significant, in the end. Becerra certainly hasn't been shy about suing the Trump administration (and his record so far of doing so is a perfect 11 wins and zero losses), so he might just jump at the opportunity.

One other blatant lie Trump was caught in this week (that pales in comparison to Rudy's bombshell, which is why it hasn't gotten as much attention) happened a few months ago, when Trump denied he was thinking about shaking up his legal team. An article had appeared in the New York Times which said Trump was considering hiring Emmet Flood and firing one or more of his current legal team. Trump angrily tweeted back:

The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job[.]

Less than two months later, Ty Cobb and John Dowd have left Trump's legal team, and Emmet Flood just joined it. Proving, once again, Trump lied and the "false story" was indeed reality. This, on its own, isn't that big a story, because the Washington Post also announced this week that Trump's verifiable lies since he took office have now topped the 3,000 mark -- an average of 6.5 lies per day. Meaning (to paraphrase the old saying) there are now not just Trump lies, not just damned Trump lies, but that Trump's lies are so voluminous that they have entered the realm of statistics.

Another batch of Trump legal team lies also collapsed earlier this week. The New York Times got hold of a list of 49 questions that Trump's legal team believed the Mueller legal team wanted to ask Trump, in a sit-down interview. Trump immediately decried the leak, and laid the blame for the leak on the Mueller team. However, further reporting revealed that Mueller's team didn't actually write out these 49 questions, they instead just verbally identified something like 16 areas of concern as well as sub-areas they wanted to explore. It was Trump's legal team who put together the actual list of questions, based on the areas identified. What this means is that Muller's team never had the list. Since they didn't have the list, it would have been impossible for them to have leaked it. Meaning the leak was either an intentional one from the Trump team or an unintentional one from someone who got a copy of it from the Trump legal team. Either way, it was clearly the Trump team's fault that it leaked. And all those indignant complaints of how "unfair" the questions were also collapsed, since the wording of each question came from the Trump team itself, not Mueller's people.

But let's get back to Rudy, since it's been such a Rudy kind of day. This entire episode has to be seen as Giuliani's official debut into the Trump legal team. It was obviously engineered to get Giuliani on television as much as possible, and (assuming Trump did approve of the move beforehand) it's pretty easy to see how Rudy presented the matter to Trump.

"Here's how I see it, Mister President," one can imagine Giuliani telling Trump. "The F.B.I. already has Cohen's records. In those records is hard proof that you paid the money. This is going to come out eventually. There's only one thing to do, and that is counterpunch in advance -- get your own licks in before this fact is revealed to the public, so you can get the public on your side before it happens. I can do that. Let me go on Hannity and let's get out in front of this rather than just sitting here waiting for it to happen. I can explain it all away as a normal part of being a celebrity, nothing to see here, move along. Trust me, I can sell that to a Fox audience. So what do you say? Get out in front and start punching early, or continue to just sit back and listen to those legal weenies who don't trust you? Which do you really want to go with?"

Of course, the actual words used were likely slightly different, but it's not too hard to picture Giuliani making this case to Trump, as part of selling himself as the brash and savvy New York lawyer with guts who is going to turn the whole investigation around and make the public love Trump in the meantime. Rudy, the attack dog, just waiting to be unleashed. Trump would buy that, one assumes, or else why did he hire Giuliani in the first place?

Many have pointed out that this may not just signal the introduction of Giuliani to his official role on the legal team, but indeed a whole new direction for Trump's legal defense. They may be considering taking the Richard Nixon "stonewall everything" route (because it worked out so well for Tricky Dick, right?). Up to this point, Trump has had lawyers advising him to cooperate with the investigation. However, to get Trump to agree to this, they had to lie to him by telling him the investigation "would be wrapping up soon" if Trump did cooperate. They reportedly promised him Mueller would be done by last Thanksgiving, last Christmas, and then "in a month or so" -- which then always stayed at "in a month or so," no matter how much time passed. Trump may just have gotten so frustrated hearing all of these lies that he decided to take a different tack -- and one more suited to his own personality.

The lies are indeed piling up. And the problem with lies piling up in such fashion is that eventually some of the fresher lies on top of the pile start contradicting the earlier lies beneath. At some point, this usually reaches "Boy Who Cried Wolf" territory, and everyone just stops believing anything that is said from the source.

Of course, for many of us, Trump's already there. He has been for a long time, in reality (see: those 3,000-plus lies). But the more Trump gets entangled in the ever-increasing web of lies surrounding him and Stormy Daniels, the less believable he's going to be even to those who still tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Trump's credibility does end in a total collapse with the general public, we will no doubt look back at Rudy Giuliani's bombshell admission this week as the turning point.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


7 Comments on “Rudy Thursday”

  1. [1] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Two thoughts:

    1. Could Rudy’s decision to announce these truths, as potentially damaging as they are, be used by Trump if he is convicted as a way to appeal any convictions claiming he was the victim of inadequate legal counsel? It almost seems like they went out of their way to hurt Trump’s legal defense so blatantly that it could not be accidental.

    2. Maybe this is Rudy’s revenge for Trump not making him Attorney General as had been promised to him? Or maybe for acting like Rudy wasn’t in the meeting where Trump ignored that Rudy was sitting directly across from him? Don’t mess with the Rudyster!

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear -

    I think Trump will have the mother of all "inadequate legal counsel" appeals, personally -- you are right on about that!

    [Shows a photo of Ty Cobb to jury]... "this man was supposedly the best legal mind to defend the president..."



  3. [3] 
    John M wrote:

    Here's another interesting tidbit on Trump's lies and one for Michale if he's still around. Makes you wonder what Trump's health is really like, especially considering what happened recently regarding the Surgeon General Ronny Jackson and all we learned about his true competence.

    From The Huffington Post:

    This week’s untruths got even weirder on Tuesday when Trump’s longtime doctor, Harold Bornstein, said that he didn’t actually write the glowing bill of health released during the campaign.

    Trump “dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN this week. “I just made it up as I went along.”

    “His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” Bornstein’s December 2015 letter read. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Mike Myers did a spot on impression of Dr. Bornstein a couple of days ago on Jimmy Kimmel. It almost makes up for The Love Guru. Skip forward to 1:39 if you are pressed for time.

  5. [5] 
    Kick wrote:



  6. [6] 
    Kick wrote:

    John M

    Makes you wonder what Trump's health is really like, especially considering what happened recently regarding the Surgeon General Ronny Jackson and all we learned about his true competence.

    What gave it away, John M? ;)

    You mean you didn't believe Dr. Candy Man when he said if Trump had taken care of himself he could live to be 200... just because no one has ever lived past 125-ish?

    Wonder what Trump had on Dr. Ronny for him to lie about his weight and spew forth the utterly asinine bullshit that the overweight orange pus bucket was in "excellent health"? A competent doctor would never claim that an obviously overweight/obese person was in "excellent" health.

    The con artistry of Donald Trump isn't complicated. He makes grandiose promises to people and requests their loyalty in return. He promised Stormy Daniels he'd get her on The Apprentice. He promised Dr. Bornstein he'd make him the White House doctor. He promised Dr. Jackson... who knows what, and Dr. Ronny isn't talking. If he did talk, I suspect he'd share how he was either promised a higher position or threatened with the fact that Mike Pence had already complained about him sharing his wife's private medical information in violation of federal law.

    Don the Con dictating correspondence to his doctor regarding his health and then having the doctor release it as though the doctor wrote it is the act of perpetrating a fraud... the same thing Con Don did when he dictated the fabricated statement about the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner, and multiple and various assorted Russians... you know, the one where Hope Hicks got together with BLOTUS and decided the email would never get out so they could lie about the meeting being about "adooptions" and not them meeting with Russians... which they claimed they never did when they actually knew they did... and more coming.

    “His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” Bornstein’s December 2015 letter read. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

    Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew that was obviously the letter a con artist would write about himself, and if Obama or either of the Clintons had committed such a fraud, the GOP heads would be exploding and there would be multiple committees put together to expose the fraud perpetrated on the American people. Hypocrisy at its most pathetic.

    Many more shoes to drop and many more lies to be exposed. Trump is a con artist, after all, and was ever thus, and as irony will have it: He will die in prison since he didn't take care of himself enough to live to 200 like he could have. :)

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    John M - 3

    "Makes you wonder what Trump's health is really like"

    Look at that blubber fly!

    "people with the most belly fat had about double the risk of dying prematurely as people with the least amount of belly fat." -Web MD

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