Giuliani's misplaced challenge to Mueller: 'Put up or shut up'

Lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani comments on a lawsuit filed against video game giant Activision outside Los Angeles Superior court in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 16, 2014. (Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani comments on a lawsuit filed against video game giant Activision outside Los Angeles Superior court in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 16, 2014.

As part of his curious defense of his client in the Oval Office, Rudy Giuliani has said all kinds of strange things, at times making things worse for the president. But yesterday's rhetoric was especially odd, even by Giuliani standards.

Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Donald Trump and former mayor of New York City, on Wednesday called for special counsel Robert Mueller to wrap up his investigation on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign."We believe the investigation should be brought to a close," Giuliani told reporters."Put up or shut up," the president's lawyer added.

That's the sort of phrase one might use if the special counsel, after 15 months of investigating, had turned up nothing of legal significance. Federal probes often take time, and it's best to be patient as the investigatory process unfolds, but if Robert Mueller hadn't even secured a grand jury indictment after more than a year of effort, it would stand to reason a defense attorney might say, "Put up or shut up."

The trouble is, reality tells a very different story. Mueller has, at last count, indicted 32 people and three businesses. He's also secured a series of guilty pleas, including one from Donald Trump's disgraced former White House national security advisor.

What's more, while Giuliani was making these comments, the criminal trial of Paul Manafort -- who led Trump's political operation in 2016 -- was underway, following charges brought by the special counsel.

Giuliani has plenty of rhetorical options. "Put up or shut up" isn't one of them.

As part of the same remarks, Giuliani conceded that obstruction of justice is a crime, but he said that "under Article II of the Constitution, if the president is acting within his capacity as president, and he fires someone, then that can't be questioned."

A moment later, the lawyer added, "Now, is there a narrow area where you could question him? I don't know."

So, Trump's firing can't be questioned, except when it can?

Remind me, why would anyone add this guy to their legal defense team?