Rudy Giuliani is the highest-profile member of Donald Trump's legal defense team, though it's not altogether clear whether the former mayor does any real legal work. Giuliani often seems to play more of a public-relations/media-spokesperson role for the president.
Which, all things considered, is a difficult dynamic to understand, because the New York Republican seems to constantly make things worse for his client by talking to the media.
On ABC News' "This Week" yesterday, George Stephanopoulos noted that, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, Michael Cohen "provided valuable information about Russia-related matters for its investigation." It led to this exchange:
GIULIANI: I have no idea what they're talking about. Beyond what you just said, I have no idea what they're talking about...STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me ask you a few specifics --GIULIANI: I have no -- I have no idea -- I know that collusion is not a crime. It was over with by the time of the election.
On the first point, it's true that there is no statute covering "collusion," per se -- it's more a political term than a legal one -- but cooperating with a hostile foreign power to intervene in an American election is most definitely illegal.
But more importantly, what exactly did Giuliani mean, "It was over with by the time of the election"? In that sentence, what does "it" stand for?
There was also this exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did Roger Stone ever give the president a heads-up on WikiLeaks' leaks concerning Hillary Clinton, the DNC?GIULIANI: No, he didn't.STEPHANOPOULOS: Not at all?GIULIANI: No. I don't believe so. But again, if Roger Stone gave anybody a heads-up about WikiLeaks' leaks, that's not a crime.
It's not that simple. All available evidence suggests Russia stole Democratic materials and used WikiLeaks as part of its intelligence operation. If Roger Stone and Trump coordinated information about the release of Russia's stolen documents, it would bring the president that much closer to the heart of the conspiracy.
This exchange about Michael Cohen also stood out.
GIULIANI: He's changed his story four or five times.STEPHANOPOULOS: So has the president.GIULIANI: The president's not under oath.
Behold, the president's lawyer suggesting on national television that the president may have lied to the American public, but so long as he wasn't under oath, it doesn't much matter.
Meanwhile, the former mayor also sat down with Fox News' Chris Wallace yesterday, who asked if Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview the president. "Good luck," Giuliani replied, "Good luck."
The host followed up, asking, "So, when you say 'good luck,' you're saying no way, no interview?" Giuliani replied, "They're a joke. Over my dead body, but you know, I could be dead."
When Wallace asked again if investigators want to speak to Trump, Giuliani changed the subject.