It was, of course, "The Simpsons" that helped introduce the world to the dangers of saying "the quiet part loud." The expression is relatively self-explanatory: sometimes, people are accidentally candid, and instead of whispering a damaging truth under their breath, they proclaim for everyone to hear.
Rudy Giuliani appears to be running a clinic this week on saying the quiet part loud.
Donald Trump's bumbling attorney, for example, effectively admitted this week that the president is taking the unprecedented step of ordering federal law enforcement to divulge secrets about an FBI source, at least in part to benefit his own legal defense. "We can't let our guy go in [to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller] and be questioned without knowing this" information from an ongoing investigation, the lawyer said.
"I don't care so much about the name as I do about the content. What prompted them to do it? What did they learn from it?" Giuliani added, seemingly unaware of the seriousness of what he was admitting out loud.
The former mayor was even more explicit yesterday:
"[The president] wants them to turn over the information that exists about the informant to the House and Senate committees," Giuliani told POLITICO. "All the memos they have. That'll indicate what the informant found. Then those should be made available to us on a confidential basis. We should be at least allowed to read them so we know this exculpatory evidence is being preserved."
After the briefing in which sensitive information from an ongoing investigation was shared with Trump's allies, Giuliani added, "We want to see how the briefing went to today and how much we learned from it."
In case this isn't blisteringly obvious, we're talking about an ongoing investigation in which the president is still a subject. Trump's legal defense team isn't supposed to get a peek at the evidence that investigators may have on him during the probe. Everyone who's facing scrutiny from federal law enforcement would no doubt love to force investigators to share secrets, and see how much they and defense attorneys can "learn from it," but only this president is in a position to abuse his power to this extent.
Giuliani is giving away the whole game, as if his acknowledgements of corrupting the investigatory process were somehow normal.
I kept waiting for Trump's legal team to at least make an effort to put a spin on this week's developments that made the president's instructions to the Justice Department and the FBI appear legitimate. But in keeping with saying the quiet part loud, the former mayor blurted out Trump World's actual intentions.
On the one hand, I appreciate Giuliani's candor. On the other, his frankness does little to make the president's abuses any less offensive.
The Trump lawyer went on to say this week that he remains concerned about the president cooperating with Mueller's probe because the president may say things that aren't true. "[T]ruth is relative," Giuliani said. Referring to the special counsel's investigators, he added, "They may have a different version of the truth than we do."
He raised similar concerns yesterday about Trump possibly lying to investigators if and when there's an interview. In fact, it turns out that the president's lawyers have spent months worrying about the likelihood of the president committing perjury.
It's almost as if those who spent a lot of time with Trump, and who get paid to protect him from legal jeopardy, have no confidence in the president's ability to tell the truth for a few hours.