Trotted out as he is on cable news programs each week, Rudy Giuliani acts more like the official apologist for and defender of the Trump administration than the personal defense counsel for the investigation-bound president.
The former federal prosecutor and New York City Mayor dutifully fulfilled that role again on Easter Sunday appearing on CNN‘s State of the Union with host Jake Tapper to advance innovative new interpretations of the law by arbitrarily declaring that there was “nothing wrong” with a presidential campaign accepting help from one of our nation’s most intractable foes.
“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Giuliani told Tapper. “It depends on where it came from,” he continued. “You’re assuming that the giving of information is a campaign contribution.”
An experienced journalist like Jake Tapper knows when a guest on his program is being craftily disingenuous with his opinions, so he attempted to approach the issue from another angle, asking Giuliani whether — if he himself were running for office again — he would accept negative information from Russians against his opponent.
“I probably wouldn’t. I wasn’t asked,” Giuliani answered. “I would have advised, just out of excess of caution, don’t do it.”
Tapper seized on that admission by confronting the president’s attorney with his own earlier claim.
“But you’re saying there was nothing wrong with doing that,” the CNN host interrupted.
“There’s no crime,” Giuliani replied. “We’re going to get into morality? That isn’t what prosecutors look at — morality.”
“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Rudy Giuliani tells @jaketapper. #CNNSOTU https://t.co/2ikCEYXdVk pic.twitter.com/rCJ9shAdrM
— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019
Most people wouldn’t consider splitting hairs over the fine differences between the legal and the moral as a particularly effective defense of a president whose obstructive behavior as described in the Mueller report likely crosses both lines, but Guiliani continued on the same lines in his second Sunday morning political talk show circuit appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press.
Host Chuck Todd incredulously questioned the Trump mouthpiece about the suddenly shifted standards of acceptable political campaign behavior.
“So, it is now OK for political campaigns to work with materials stolen by foreign adversaries?” the Meet The Press host asked Giuliani.
The moral and legal relativism of Giuliani’s response should horrify every American.
“Well, it depends on the stolen material,” he replied.
Tell that to the judge — or the impeachment panel — Mr. Giuliani and see what they may think of that novel interpretation of campaign law.
Given that the president likely hired the former chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York more for his ability to perform as his personal media attack dog than for any of his legal advice, at least Trump is getting his money’s worth from Giuliani.
Expect that the former mayor will have plenty of work ahead of him as congressional Democrats continue to follow the leads outlined in the Mueller report and decide whether their next step will be to move towards impeachment or simply to wait for the 2020 elections.
WATCH: @chucktodd asks @rudygiuliani about using stolen materials from foreign adversaries. #MTP
CHUCK: “So, it is now okay for political campaigns to work with materials stolen by foreign adversaries?”
GIULIANI: “Well, it depends on the stolen material.” pic.twitter.com/i5D7BchdzK
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 21, 2019
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Original reporting by Mary Tyler March at The Hill.