It’s getting really complicated.
How are we supposed to follow all the twists and turns of the “Trump/Russia” investigation when even the lead attorney for President Trump can’t keep it all straight for us? On Monday, Rudy Giuliani was definitely a “ramblin’ man,” and it drove the pundits crazy. In an on-air call Monday to the FOX News show “Outnumbered” to clarify some earlier comments, he said he understood the confusion. “Believe me, it’s going to get even more confusing when these other tapes start coming out. But eventually, when you put them all together, it’s going to mean the President did nothing wrong.”
It doesn’t help when most of the mainstream media jump on his every word and take every opportunity to willfully misunderstand him. For Giuliani to make the point, as he did Monday, that collusion isn’t a crime does NOT mean that Trump might have actually “colluded.” “It’s a very, very familiar lawyer’s argument,” he said on the phone. “My client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime.”
Look, I’m not even a lawyer, yet I understand that in speaking of collusion not being a crime, Giuliani is referring to the illegitimate origins of the investigation –- the FBI probe headed by Peter Strzok and, by extension, the special counsel appointed by Rod Rosenstein. A special counsel is supposed to be appointed only when there is evidence of a CRIME. That could turn out to be very important if Mueller tries to subpoena Trump and force him to testify, because in order to avoid that situation (perilous even for an innocent person), Giuliani would have to challenge the subpoena in court, and it would likely go before the Supreme Court.
During the phone conversation, Giuliani referred to this, saying that “maybe one of the reasons we reemphasize the point about the legitimacy of the investigation is we want to show maybe [Trump] shouldn’t be testifying at an investigation that has no legitimacy.”
Collusion isn’t even a legal term; sadly, in the context of this investigation, it’s been used by some commentators interchangeably with the real legal term “conspiracy,” which is a crime. Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a column recently in which he discussed the difference. (Just scroll past the first few paragraphs to get to that.)
With polls increasingly showing disenchantment with the Mueller probe and the desire for it to wrap up soon –- before the midterms if you’re a Republican, after the midterms if you’re a Democrat –- there’s been a resurgence of debate over whether or not the President should sit down for questions. Since the emergence, finally, of the still-heavily-redacted FISA applications for warrants to spy on Trump campaign associates, the legitimacy of the investigation is even more suspect, and that doubt gives Giuliani even more reason to deny Mueller his perjury trap. But ultimately, as Giuliani points out, it’s the President’s decision. I ask you to join the chorus of those who say, “NO, NO, NO, MR. PRESIDENT! DON’T FALL FOR IT!”
Given all that, if Giuliani was trying to uncomplicate the discussion on Monday, he may have done the opposite. Instead of one meeting that had anything to do with the chance of obtaining “dirt” on Hillary from people who were Russian (again, no crime), there are now allegedly three, though Giuliani said two of them never happened. But, again, by noting that Trump wasn’t present for meetings that he flat-out said didn’t occur, Giuliani had people scratching their heads.
Here’s a relatively straightforward account of the different meetings that are said to have taken place and Giuliani’s comments regarding each one. And, yes, this is definitely getting more complicated, but together we’ll just try to make sense out of it and do our part to keep watch over our embattled system of justice.