Within the last few weeks, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was revealed to be joining the president’s legal team, and he’s already sending shock waves through the various legal entanglements ensnaring the commander-in-chief.
While speaking to host Sean Hannity, during a Wednesday night appearance on Fox News, Giuliani revealed that the president had, apparently, repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush money payment he delivered to adult film star Stormy Daniels covering an affair with the president. In so doing, Giuliani contradicted the previously employed line of defense from the Trump team.
The next morning, the president followed Giuliani’s comments up with a confirmation, backing his new lawyer and longtime ally up by explaining on Twitter that a regular retainer dished out to Cohen from his personal coffers covered the hush money.
Friday, however, has brought yet another backtrack. Speaking to reporters, the president indicated that Giuliani didn’t actually have his “facts straight” after all, and the former mayor followed those comments from the president up with a statement of his own meant, in theory, to provide some clarity.
The statement contains three points, the first two of which cover his rattling comments about the $130,000 in hush money delivered to Stormy Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford.
Giuliani has indicated that he believes the president’s reimbursement of Cohen — and the payment in the first place — to be perfectly legal in large part because, according to his estimation, it wasn’t actually connected to the campaign.
He echoed this position in his Friday statement, which reads in part:
‘There is no campaign violation. The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.’
Despite Giuliani’s best efforts to the make his version of events reality, he can’t erase the fact that the hush money came in late 2016 squarely in the context of the 2016 presidential election. In that light, if the president and/or his allies willfully hid that campaign-propping up expenditure, it could be a serious violation of the law.
Giuliani, in his Friday statement, offered a second point that addresses that issue, seeking to cast his comments praising the effect the payment had on the 2016 presidential race as reflective of his own understanding alone and not that of the president.
‘My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters.’
The third point of his statement covers comments of his about the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last year. The origin of that decision has long been clouded by a conventionally Trump-ian pattern of contradictory statements; on Wednesday, Giuliani offered a new explanation, saying Comey had been fired for refusing to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation as a part of the Russia scandal.
In response to the confusion, Giuliani fell back on insisting that the firing was in line with legal and executive precedent, commenting:
‘It is undisputed that the President’s dismissal of former Director Comey — an inferior executive officer — was clearly within his Article II power.’
Check out his full statement below.
JUST IN: Rudy Giuliani issues statement “intended to clarify the views I expressed over the past few days.” https://t.co/IjJDf0JZaQ pic.twitter.com/5HUS1HMIED
— ABC News (@ABC) May 4, 2018
No matter the number of attempts at clarification from the president and his allies, the truth will come out whether they like it or not.
Featured Image via Jabin Botsford/ The Washington Post via Getty Images