The past week has not been easy for supporters of Donald Trump, especially those who believe he is innocent of conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
On Thursday BuzzFeed News published allegations that he instructed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow. And even though Bob Mueller’s office has attacked the accuracy of BuzzFeed’s reporting, the news site is standing by it, saying it is accurate. And as the truth comes out after Mueller’s final report is issued, and Cohen testifies before Congress on February 7, we may find out that the BuzzFeed story was indeed true.
As attention has been focused the past few days on whether Trump suborned perjury and should be impeached, most people have seemingly forgotten some startling comments made by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani earlier in the week.
"I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign… I have not. I said the President of the United States," Pres. Trump’s attorney @RudyGiuliani tells @ChrisCuomo https://t.co/Jy0gttT6Ac pic.twitter.com/JGISmtgrdy
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 17, 2019
This was a boldfaced lie, of course, which leads to the big question: Why is Giuliani saying this now? Both Giuliani and Trump have always maintained that there was no Russian collusion, period. Perhaps it is because he knows there is new evidence proving collusion that will be made public soon.
Giuliani’s change in strategy was not lost on highly-respected former federal prosecutors Mimi Rocah and Joyce Vance, however. And they offered some fascinating insights into why Giuliani said what he did in an editorial they wrote for NBC News, which analyzed in detail Giuliani’s surprising about-face on the collusion issue.
“Giuliani’s conversation with Cuomo does not represent a subtle, nuanced shift in position. This is an admission by the president’s lawyer that when the president said ‘no collusion’ and when he himself claimed there was no collusion by anyone, let alone “the top four or five people in the campaign,” they were not telling the truth.”
“Of course, if the position had always been that maybe there was collusion, but Trump wasn’t involved, the response to the special counsel’s investigation would have been to fully cooperate. Any rational leader in this position would want to know who the bad actors were in his or her campaign. But that was not the response, because that has not been the position — until now.”
Everyone was shocked when Giuliani admitted he and his boss have been lying the whole time about collusion. Nobody could figure out exactly why he did that.
But in their editorial Rocah and Vance set forth their own theory, writing:
“Giuliani is technically Trump’s lawyer. But the strategy he has been running since he joined the team in April 2018 is a political one, not a legal one. None of what he does is meant to convince a judge or a jury. It is meant to confuse the issues, to inoculate people against shocking news before it arrives, and to retain the president’s good standing with his base.”
“This is important because if the new Democratic House decides to file articles of impeachment against the president, Trump needs to have enough support among Republicans to ensure his majority in the Senate will hold. Giuliani has been moving the goal posts to accommodate the facts, always giving the president a retrenched argument.”
The two high-powered former prosecutors made clear their opinion that what Giuliani is doing is NOT a good LEGAL strategy. However, they think that perhaps Giuliani is in a bind with his client, and is setting forth the exact argument that Trump wants to hear.
He also may be trying to get ahead of some bad news that may be coming in the near future.
“One of the only things that Giuliani has been consistently good at is getting out ahead of bad facts before they surface in the press or in pleadings,” they wrote, adding:
“When there is bad news coming, Giuliani blurts it out, the public gawks, and the shock is absorbed in advance. Giuliani, with his theatrics, socializes bad news so well that by the time it drops, most people are numb to it.”
“In the face of mounting evidence that there was collusion between members of the campaign and Russians, Giuliani has doubled down on his strategy of distract, shock and confuse,” Rocah and Vance continued.
Then they finished with this important thought: is anybody paying attention at this point?
“The position that Giuliani has staked out — that Trump was unaware of what others might have done — won’t get him very far with anyone who is paying attention.”
With all of Trump’s shenanigans and distractions it is very possible that very few people are actually paying attention to Giuliani’s comments — or to the fact of the Russian collusion that took place in the 2016 campaign.
But if this case goes to court — or if there is a public impeachment trial — there is no question that American voters will indeed be paying attention then, and Donald Trump‘s downfall will be assured.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.