Washington Watch: Rudy to the rescue

Rudy doesn’t need the money, just the spotlight and the AG’s job.

Rudy Guliani introduces Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a campaign event in Gettysburg in 2016 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Rudy Guliani introduces Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a campaign event in Gettysburg in 2016
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The presidential campaign ended 18 months ago, but President Donald Trump is still obsessed with his campaign opponent Hillary Clinton and hasn’t stopped calling for her to be investigated and tossed in jail. Now he has just the attack dog for the job: Rudy Giuliani.
The former New York mayor, who was one of Trump’s most rabid GOP attack dogs during the campaign, just signed on to lead the president’s legal defense team. Harassing Hillary was his specialty.
But first he has to end the Russiagate investigation. Piece of cake. “I don’t think it’s going to take more than a week or two to get a resolution,” he told The New York Post .
I am reminded of the 1968 presidential campaign and Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War.
The secret was he had no plan, and the war went on for another five years – and many thousands of dead young Americans and Vietnamese – until Nixon pulled out.
That’s relevant because like Nixon, Rudy can’t wrap up the investigation in a couple of weeks unless Trump is ready to cop a plea, and I just don’t see that coming.
Unless Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, replacing them with someone who will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and shut down his investigation. Trump can then either name Rudy his next attorney general or his lead attorney in any possible impeachment proceedings.
What Trump really wants in Giuliani is a high profile, aggressive defender who can go on TV and say what Trump wants to hear. He will use his reputation as a former federal prosecutor to savage Mueller’s investigation, but that could be a problem.
Giuliani himself could be involved in some of the subjects under investigation and may wind up being called as a witness in the Russia probe.
As a Trump campaign surrogate he was a major source of pre-election leaks, boasting about his inside access to the FBI regarding the investigations of Clinton’s e-mails. Mueller may want to know more about that and where he got advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ dumping of documents it appears to have gotten from Russia.
Giuliani also said the Trump campaign had “a couple of things up our sleeves [incriminating Clinton] that should turn things around.”
Post-election he became vice chair of the transition team. Mueller has numerous e-mails from members of that team, and a lot of questions.
It’s widely believed Giuliani wants Sessions’ job, and it could open up as soon as the Mueller investigation concludes. He wanted the job in the first place – actually his first choice was secretary of state, but when that became unavailable he went after the AG slot.
In a CNN interview after the election, Rudy indicated he would like to use the power of the federal government to prosecute Clinton and send her to prison. He cautioned president Barack Obama against giving her a pardon before leaving office because there are “open” investigations of her email and they could go on “for years.”
Rudy got his inspiration from candidate Trump. “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation – there has never been so many lies and so much deception,” Trump said in the second presidential debate.
Trump takes pride in breaking tradition and doing what no other president has done. That apparently could include tossing opposition candidates in jail like his autocratic friends do – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
David Frum, a prominent neo-conservative, tweeted during the campaign, “Who would consent to serve as Attorney General to a president who believed he could direct prosecutions of his political opponents?” Jeff Sessions and Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani has said he is “proud” of his attacks on Clinton and saw nothing inconsistent with attacks on her marriage although, like Trump, he is three times married and an admitted adulterer.
Clinton’s marriage “is fair game,” he explained, but his own adultery – he’s currently getting divorce number three – is not, because he got absolution in church. “You know, I’m a Roman Catholic and I confess those things to my priest,” he explained on Meet the Press.
Trump tweeted over this weekend that GOP lawmakers should press Sessions to investigate Clinton and former FBI director Jim Comey. Apparently no one bothered telling him that Sessions works for him and he doesn’t need members of Congress to deliver his messages.
Giuliani wasn’t Trump’s first choice to lead his defense team, but everyone else either turned him down or quit.
Notwithstanding presidential tweets that high-quality lawyers were anxious “to represent me in the Russia case,” it just ain’t so. Top-rate lawyers who turn him down usually cite conflicts of interests, but privately they are saying they don’t want a client with a reputation for lying to his lawyers and everyone else and who takes pride in not paying his bills.
Rudy doesn’t need the money, just the spotlight and the AG’s job.