A reader recently asked me how I was able to keep writing -- and writing and writing -- about the Russia scandal. I replied that it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Donald Trump and his . . . uh, associates were so manifestly crooked that the biggest challenge as a journalist was not ascertaining their culpability, but getting the spellings of all those Russian names right. Which brings us to Rudy Giuliani.
When did you first realize that Trump's personal attorney, the guy who will steer him through the shoals that could shipwreck his presidency -- was showing the symptoms of having a syphilitic brain?
Was it when Giuliani declared that none of Trump's lies about his neck-deep involvement in the Russia scandal mattered because he wasn't under oath when he uttered them?
Or was it when Giuliani said that he would not allow Robert Mueller to rush Trump into an interview because the special counsel could try to catch the president in a lie based on his version of the facts because "Truth isn't truth"?
Or was it when Giuliani explained that because Trump doesn't believe he obstructed justice, he can plausibly deny obstructing justice, let alone perjure himself?
Or was it when Giuliani said there is no such crime called "collusion," which as has been pointed out is kind of like saying that if you walked into an Apple Store, stuffed an iPhone in your pants and walked out, you're innocent because the criminal code makes no specific reference to "stuffing an iPhone in your pants."
Meanwhile, Giuliani has declared more times than Trump has small fingers since he joined the president's defense team in April that Mueller was on the verge of wrapping up his investigation.
"I think they're going to write their [final] report this summer," Giuliani said on July 13. "I think it's virtually written. I do see it as the end of the investigation. I don't know what else there is to investigate." (That at least is an improvement over the prediction of departed Trump lawyer John Dowd, who told the president that Mueller's investigation would be over by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving 2017.)
Giuliani will be much in the news in coming weeks as Democrats take over the House on Thursday and with it the power to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the investigations they have pledged to undertake into Trump, his administration and Cabinet, and family finances in the lead-up to the president's likely impeachment.
Jason Linkins did not mince words in nominating Giuliani in the "Meritorious Achievement in the Crazy" category for Taking Points Memo's 2018 Golden Dukes award, which is named for Randy "Duke" Cunningham, father of the modern political scandal:
You know, if there’s one thing about the Trump era that I feel compelled to make sure people understand, it's that if you ever get into some kind of legal scrape then you absolutely do not want to hire legal counsel that thinks it's a good idea to go on television and talk about it, out of their own ass, all the time. You don’t want that kind of lawyer, trust me! "We don’t comment on ongoing litigation" is a time-tested way of dealing with public inquiry into your legal problems. . . . I understand that President Trump has got a compulsive need to watch his guys go on teevee and throw handbags, but Rudy has never ended a single cable news segment having made things better than they were at the start of the broadcast.Indeed, Giuliani is a smashingly good fit with Trump in several respects.
He is a practiced liar, a serial adulterer and craves the spotlight as only someone of the New York City celebrity-clown species can. But that's about it for laughs, because underlying Giuliani's predilection for pratfalls is a disregard for the law, this from a former federal prosecutor who once worked with with former FBI Director James Comey, whom he now calls "Judas."
|NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE TO IRAN|
That disregard for the law manifests itself in Giuliani's patriot-as-sleazebag mufti, which he already was wearing proudly when he came into our lives on what seemed to be the highest of notes -- as "America's Mayor" who took charge after the 9/11 disaster.
Giuliani boasted endlessly that as mayor of New York City, he spent more time at Ground Zero than rescue and clean-up workers, which was a lie. Actually, his administration had failed to address the flaws in the response to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, which came back in spades on 9/11, when he knowingly sent workers into the toxic hell of the collapsed Twin Towers after assuring them they would be safe.
Then there are Giuliani's ample personal shortcomings, including breaking the news to his wife that he was getting a divorce during a televised press conference, and his embrace of a succession of creepy characters from televangelist Pat Robertson to Bernard Kerik to Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the hair-on-fire dudes who run the National Council of Resistance to Iran.
Had Giuliani been nominated by the Republican Party instead of John McCain and then elected president in 2008, Kerik would have missed his inauguration.
This is because the former NYC corrections chief, promoted to police commissioner by Giuliani, was doing prison time for just one of his multiple legal entanglements, which included glomming onto $165,000 in free renovations to his Bronx apartment by a construction company with mob ties, shacking up with his mistress in a Manhattan condo reserved for cops with post-9/11 traumas, and that timeless toe stubber, failing to pay taxes on an illegal immigrant nanny whom he was boinking on the side.
None of this prevented Giuliani from drawing on his vast reservoir of good judgment and recommending that Kerik become George W. Bush's first homeland security czar. Dubya wisely demurred.
Giuliani flailed at becoming the GOP presidential nominee again in 2012 and yet again in 2016, but was on the A-list to become Trump's secretary of state while helpfully bragging that he had advised the newbie president about how to impose his patently illegal Muslim ban "legally."
But it turned out his conflicts of interest were too enormous even for the ethically challenged Trump and the top job at State went to Rex Tillerson. Meanwhile, Giuliani assuaged his grief over not serving his country in an official capacity by becoming filthy rich representing misunderstood oligarchs. Kind of like Paul Manafort did.
Among Giuliani's clients have been Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman who has struggled through life getting his hands dirty counting money. The multi-billionaire owns 20 houses, seven yachts and a private jet, is married to one of Turkey's biggest pop tarts, and counts among his friends that Erdoğan fella.
The U.S. government busted Zarrab in Miami in 2016 at the request of the Obama administration (remember those guys?) while he was en route to Disney World with the pop tart and their daughter. He was held on charges that he masterminded a huge operation to help the Iranian government evade economic sanctions put in place to hinder its efforts to build nuclear weapons. This is how it worked: Gold would be shipped to Iran from Turkey in exchange for Iranian oil and natural gas, and the feds say that at the peak of the operation Zarrab was buying a metric ton of gold and packing it off to Iran every day.
Zarrab moldered in the federal lockup in Manhattan despite the efforts of Erdoğan and Giuliani to spring him, and is now out of the clink after cooperating with investigators on a number of hush-hush matters.
Giuliani's disregard for the law hit a high note on October 26, 2016, less than two weeks before the election, when he bragged on a right-wing radio show that he was in contact with FBI agents and had "a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days" regarding Lock Her Up Hillary's emails.
FBI Director James Comey's hand was then forced, and in an effort to get out ahead of a story that was now certain to be leaked by Republicans, he informed several congressional committees by letter on October 28 of a non-existent development in the Clinton email investigation that, coupled with Russia-Trump . . . uh, collusion, essentially doomed her.
Giuliani has continued stirring the Iran pot as a vocal advocate for the National Council of Resistance to Iran and a keynote speaker at its international conferences. The council seeks nothing less than the overthrow of the Teheran regime or, failing that, a U.S.-led war on the Muslim state, both in step with the crazier elements of the Trump administration, not to mention Giuliani's own Client Numero Uno.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.