Former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani speaks at the Cisco Connect 2013 conference in Warsaw, Poland, November 26, 2013.
Pawel Supernak/EPA

Giuliani: ‘Nothing wrong’ with getting campaign aid from foreign foe

Updated

Rudy Giuliani made multiple appearances on the Sunday shows yesterday, doing his best to pretend the Mueller report wasn’t devastating for his client in the Oval Office, and presenting a series of wildly unpersuasive arguments.

The Republican told CNN, for example, “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” In reality, there’s plenty wrong with it. A foreign adversary launched a military intelligence operation against our elections, and the attack included stealing Americans’ materials.

For Donald Trump’s lawyers to insist there’s “nothing wrong with” a U.S. campaign accepting assistance from our international foes is to invite additional attacks.

On “Meet the Press,” Giuliani went on to tell NBC News’ Chuck Todd that the public had a “right to know” about the information contained in the materials the Russians stole. The former mayor compared hacked information to the Pentagon Papers.

But that’s absurd. Not only did the hacked emails not point to any Hillary Clinton wrongdoing, but Giuliani’s argument – an implicit defense of an illegal hack – could just as easily be applied to stealing others’ materials. If a hack produced the president’s tax returns, would Giuliani be equally cavalier about the public’s “right to know”?

But what struck me as especially notable was Giuliani’s response to a question about Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) criticism. Here was the exchange between Trump’s lawyer and CNN’s Jake Tapper.

GIULIANI: What a hypocrite. What a hypocrite.

TAPPER: But why is that hypocritical?

GIULIANI: Any candidate – any candidate in the whole world, in America, would take information, negative [information].

In context, the former mayor was clearly referring to taking “information” from a foreign adversary.

Last summer, then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), one of Moscow’s favorites, made a similar argument, insisting “there’s not a person in this town” who wouldn’t welcome foreign intervention to win an election.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/23/18, 9:44 PM ET

History highlights Trump's failure on Russian election outreach

Rachel Maddow tells the story of how Adlai Stevenson, acting for the good of the country, not only rejected overtures of the Soviet Union to assist his presidential campaign but told his political rival, President Eisenhower about the matter.
The pitch hasn’t improved with age.

There’s no reason to speculate about how others might’ve acted under similar circumstances because there are some meaningful historical parallels. For example, Russia offered to help Adlai Stevenson win the White House in 1960 and held a meeting with the Illinois Democrat to offer Moscow’s assistance.

Stevenson refused, left the meeting, went home, and documented every detail he could remember. He then quickly went to the authorities, explaining that a foreign adversary had just tried to intervene in American presidential election.

Eight years later, when Russia offered similar assistance to Hubert Humphrey, that didn’t go well for the USSR, either.

“Any candidate in the whole world in America would take information” from Russia to win an election? Evidently not, Rudy.

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Russia and Scandals

Giuliani: 'Nothing wrong' with getting campaign aid from foreign foe

Updated