Looking back at Donald Trump and his team’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, it might be tempting to think of Rudy Giuliani as some kind of hapless, buffoonish figure. It was two days after the race was called, for example, when the former New York City mayor held a head-shaking press conference in Philadelphia at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot, near a sex shop and a crematorium.
Soon after, Giuliani held a different outlandish press conference in which a strange dye ran down his face.
But as ridiculous as his political antics made him appear, Giuliani is not just some random clown in the former president’s orbit. On the contrary, for those investigating the post-election scandals and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, there are few figures more important than the Republican lawyer.
Before Election Day 2020, for example, it was Giuliani who partnered with an active Russian agent in the hopes of undermining the future American president. After Election Day 2020, Giuliani was not only a central figure in Trump’s inner circle as Team Trump tried to overturn the results, and he not only spoke at the rally that preceded the riot, but the former New York City mayor also stands accused of helping coordinate the fake-electors scheme that’s the subject of multiple ongoing investigations.
By some accounts, Giuliani was also directed by Trump to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it were legally possible to seize control of voting machines in key swing states.
With this in mind, it was of interest to see that Giuliani finally sat down with congressional investigators on Friday. NBC News reported:
Rudy Giuliani, one of the most prominent promoters of former President Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election, testified Friday before the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot, according to two sources familiar with the matter. One source told NBC News that the onetime Trump attorney met with the Democratic-controlled House committee for roughly nine hours, including breaks.
Though Giuliani was first subpoenaed in January, his testimony was not a foregone conclusion. Soon after being contacted by congressional investigators, the Republican insisted that the select committee was itself “illegal” and lacked the authority to “subpoena anybody.” (None of this reflected reality.)
Eventually, Giuliani switched gears and was scheduled to testify a few weeks ago, but he canceled at the last minute after a disagreement over recording the interview.
Then he switched gears again and testified on Friday — under oath — over the course of nine hours. A New York Times report noted that the Q&A was interrupted so that Giuliani could “host his hourlong afternoon radio show.”
As for what he actually said over the course of the many hours, we don’t yet know. But given the duration of the proceedings, it seems unlikely that Giuliani simply asserted his Fifth Amendment rights over and over again.
Let’s also not forget that the former mayor has drawn the scrutiny of federal law enforcement, and it was a year ago when investigators executed a search warrant at Giuliani’s home. At least in theory, if he were still facing a possible indictment, testifying under oath for several hours would be a highly risky move.
Watch this space.