The resemblance between the Trump administration and a Mafia family has long been strikingly obvious.
The demands for loyalty and obedience to the capo, the brutal retaliation against perceived enemies and turncoats, the contempt for the law and those who enforce it, and the application of extortionate pressure to squeeze the cooperation out of otherwise unwilling collaborators are all tactics employed by both organizations.
Ironically, Rudy Giuliani, one of the principal players in the Trump administration’s latest scandal — the Ukraine bribery scheme to withhold military assistance unless that country opened an investigation of the president’s political rival — helped launch his own political career as the lead federal prosecutor in the successful RICO case against the “Five Families” of New York City’s Italian mob organization.
Besides helping Giuliani establish a tough on crime reputation that helped him win the mayoralty of New York City, the experience also gave him a keen understanding of the inner workings of a mob organization — knowledge that has proved quite useful in his role as consigliere to the president who operates not much differently than a Gambino family crime boss like John Gotti.
With Giuliani now heavily implicated in the crimes that his client is being investigated for in the congressional impeachment inquiry and reportedly under investigation himself by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York — an office that he used to lead — rumors are rampant that Trump and his Republican co-conspirators are looking to throw the president’s personal attorney under the bus to save their own skins by portraying him as a rogue operative who went beyond his mandate in order to gain an illicit political advantage for his client.
In an appearance on Fox News this morning, however, Rudy Giuliani brushed off the notion that he would be betrayed by the president by cryptically reminding everyone that he has “insurance” for just such an attempt.
“I’ve seen things written like ‘He is going to throw me under the bus,’” Giuliani said. “When they say that, I say, ‘He isn’t, but I have insurance.’”
Giuliani has used this line before but, in that instance, he made it sound more like a play on the idea that the insurance was for the medical attention necessary to survive the crushing impact of being steamrollered. In today’s comments, his reference to “insurance” seemed more like a threat to release damaging information like his predecessor as Trump’s “fixer” — the now jailed Micahel Cohen — offered once he was indicted for campaign finance violations.
With Giuliani’s legal exposure arguably even more serious than Michael Cohen ever faced — verging on treason due to his attempts to influence foreign governments to interfere in the American political process — his “insurance” must be even more explosive for the president than the illegal payoff to silence porn star mistresses that Cohen eventually revealed he made at the direction of “individual 1,” an unindicted co-conspirator in the charges against the Trump Organization attorney whom Cohen confirmed was indeed Donald Trump.
Given the fact that Lev Parnas — one of the two close Giuliani associates recently arrested at the airport with one-way tickets out of the country for a “complex web of financial and political interactions linking diplomacy to alleged violations of campaign finance law” — is now said to be co-operating with prosecutors and has offered to testify before Congress about everything he knows about Giuliani’s contacts with Ukranian officials, the president’s attorney must be fairly confident about the quality of his insurance coverage.
He also has the advantage of knowing that until the day that he leaves office, Trump has the power to pardon his lawyer for any illegal actions he may have taken on his own behalf.
With any other president, the mere appearance of a conflict of interest would prevent them from making such a suspect and politically damaging pardon. For Trump, however, such an act is not only perfectly able to be envisioned, but it also seems to be the likely course of action once the president is cornered or hemmed in. This is the man who ordered his staff to ignore lawful congressional subpoenas after all.
You can watch Giuliani’s ominous comments on why he feels he has sufficient coverage to avoid a sudden accident involving public transport in the video clips in the tweets below.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) November 23, 2019
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.