Lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a press conference after appearing in court to call for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against video game giant Activision in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 16, 2014.
Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP

Giuliani not doing Trump any favors with latest collusion arguments

About a week ago, there were multiple reports that Donald Trump was growing frustrated with Rudy Giuliani’s antics. If true, the aggravation seems understandable: the former New York mayor, added to the president’s legal team for reasons that still don’t make any sense, appears to have done far more harm than good.

In fact, it seemed likely that Giuliani would maintain a lower profile, especially in the media, since he tends to cause trouble for his client in nearly every interview. And yet, as this HuffPost piece shows, he just keeps saying things he shouldn’t.

“When I ran against [the Democrats], they were looking for dirt on me every day,” Giuliani told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night, in response to a question about Donald Trump Jr.’s apparent quest to find “dirt” on Hillary Clinton before the 2016 presidential election.

“That’s what you do, maybe you shouldn’t, but you do. Nothing illegal about that,” Giuliani said. “Even if it comes from a Russian or a German or an American, doesn’t matter.”

The president’s lawyer added that the “main thing” to keep in mind is that the Trump campaign “never used it … they rejected it.” Giuliani went on to say, “If there was collusion with the Russians, they would’ve used it.”

Let’s unpack this, because his comments were more interesting than Giuliani probably realizes.

First, this is a clumsy and unpersuasive attempt to move the “collusion” goalposts. To hear this Trump lawyer tell, a campaign can forge some kind of partnership with a foreign adversary, welcoming intelligence stolen as part of an espionage operation, to be used in an American election, and this isn’t collusion.

Second, while trying to move the goalposts, I’m not sure he put them in a beneficial place. Giuliani said, “If there was collusion with the Russians, they would’ve used it.” So if the investigation uncovers evidence of the Trump campaign utilizing information from Russia, it’s game over?

Third, what exactly does “it” refer to? Giuliani said Team Trump “never used it” and ultimately “rejected it.” Perhaps he can elaborate on what he believes the Republican campaign received from its Russian allies?

And finally, for all the love of all that is good in the world, can someone explain why Giuliani keeps making things worse for his own team? Because at a distance, the answer appears to be rank incompetence.