Giuliani went on national television today to state that the president cannot be charged with obstruction because Trump never told James Comey to go easy on Mike Flynn. Rudy said this despite numerous reports over the year that he indeed did ask Comey to go easy on Flynn, including admissions from the Trump team. Rudy went off the rails early. Transcript compliments of Rawstory:
“The president says that he never told Comey that he should go easy on Flynn,” Giuliani opined. “Comey says he did. He put it in his memo. We do have a prior contradictory statement by Comey under oath to the contrary. But put that aside.”
“So if [Trump is] going in and testifies to that under oath, instead of this just being a dispute, they can say it’s perjury,” he continued. “If they believe Comey instead of Trump. We know by now who they believe.”
Tapper, likely taking a moment to gather his thoughts, went to a journalist’s best friend in such a situation and asked for clarification. He told Giuliani that he just wanted to be clear about what happened, and asked Giuliani exactly what was said.
“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Giuliani insisted. “The president didn’t find out Comey believed there was until about — I think it was February when it supposedly took place, memo came out in May. And in between, Comey testified under oath that in no way had he been obstructed at any time. And then all of the sudden, in May, he says he felt obstructed. He felt pressured by that comment, ‘You should go easy on Flynn.’”
Tapper had him and knew it.
Tapper noted dryly that Giuliani had told ABC News that Trump asked Comey to “give the man a break” and did so while speaking of Flynn, without a doubt.
Guiliani sputtered about, stating he never said it.
“What I said was, that is what Comey is saying Trump said. I have always said, the president denies it. Look, it would be easier for me if the president did say that.”
Direct Quote from Giuliani from just last month:
“He didn’t direct him to [go drop the investigation],” Giuliani said. “What he said was, can you, can you …”
The ABC host interrupted in order to reinforce that Comey certainly took it as a directive.
Rudy puttered about, attempting to make a distinction by noting that by that time Comey had been fired (does that make it less true?) even though Comey’s recollection came from notes made right after the conversation.
Rudy finally ended up in the same bag they always end up in — everybody does it:
The reality is, as a prosecutor, I was told that many times, ‘can you give the man a break,’ either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by his friends. You take that into consideration. But you know that doesn’t determine not going forward with it.”
Rudy is certainly right about hearing that as a prosecutor, but let’s look at the names he ticked off:
- the man’s lawyers
- his relatives
He never said: by a Judge, by a U.S. Attorney higher on the rung than Rudy, by a president of the United States, nor by — and this is key — someone who stands to possibly lose if the investigation DOES go forward. Because, as we all know, and knew at the time, the person Trump really worried about was Trump. Trump knew that if Flynn were left alone, Trump wouldn’t have to worry about Flynn testifying to all he knew about Trump.
The everybody does it excuse won’t work. Giuliani was had – again.