Reporters were buzzing this afternoon about him answering “I don’t know” here, but watch the clip. I don’t think he means to imply that he’s weighing whether to cut Rudy loose. I think he means to say, “Why, do you people know something I don’t?” As if he’s been caught off-guard and wondering if Giuliani said something to the media about no longer being Trump’s attorney. Which he did not.
Are you still Trump’s lawyer? reporters asked Rudy afterward. Uh, yeah, Giuliani replied. Why wouldn’t I be?
So Trump says he hasn’t spoken to Rudy. But Rudy tells me he spoke to Trump yesterday. Trump says he doesn’t know if Rudy is his attorney. Rudy tells me he is and he has no reason to think he’s not.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 11, 2019
The media invented a Trump/Rudy rift out of nothing, by aggressively misinterpreting Trump’s answer! Fake news!
As the career ambassador ousted by President Donald Trump was describing to lawmakers Friday the shadow diplomacy carried out by Rudy Giuliani, the President was across town beginning to doubt his attorney’s continued ability to defend him.
The skepticism, which is shared by many of Trump’s allies, comes after two of Giuliani’s clients were arrested boarding an international flight and charged for violating campaign finance laws.
As the drama unfolded on television — complete with scowling mug shots paired with photos of the two men posing alongside the President — Trump began expressing concerns about Giuliani’s involvement with the individuals, according to people familiar with the matter.
All I want from this season’s remaining episodes of “President Trump” is a plot arc where Trump and Rudy turn on each other.
Media-watchers have noticed a bit of skepticism about Giuliani creeping into pro-Trump media today. Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post devoted its front page this morning to Rudy’s connections to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two men arrested yesterday by the FBI for campaign-finance crimes hours before they left the country. This exchange about Giuliani popped up today on Trump TV as well:
Fox News is now openly pondering on the air: "Is Rudy Giuliani becoming a liability for the White House?" pic.twitter.com/pTscpY7SDx
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) October 11, 2019
None of this is to suggest that Trump or the White House has instigated an anti-Rudy messaging campaign in Trump-friendly in order to gin up support on the right for throwing Giuliani under the bus. The message could be coming from the opposite direction, a communique from Murdoch World to Fox News’s most loyal viewer that he should maybe start thinking of shedding his Rudy baggage. Especially as House Democrats start sniffing around the question of who, exactly, is paying Rudy Giuliani for all of his Ukraine work.
Because TrumpWorld is a realm of total chaos at all times, Giuliani isn’t even the biggest personnel headache plaguing Trump’s legal allies today. Apparently Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova hate Trey Gowdy, who’s just joined the impeachment defense effort as outside counsel:
“Trey Gowdy doesn’t know s***,” she said…
“He screwed up the Benghazi hearings, and he came out with the advice to Trump, ‘Well, if you’ve done nothing wrong, just talk to Bob Mueller.’”…
“He’s not on the team. Trey Gowdy is not on the team. Who told you Trey Gowdy? Not to my knowledge, not to Rudy’s knowledge, not Joe’s knowledge,” said Toensing, who had not heard of the move at the time of her interview with Yahoo News on Wednesday morning. “I have to check that with Rudy because that would be a joke, because we all don’t think much of him,” she said of Gowdy, adding, “Are you kidding? … Trey is a joke among us.”
The joke’s on her: Trump himself ended up announcing that Gowdy is joining the team, albeit not until January. (Which is almost certainly after impeachment will have happened.) What the hell is Gowdy doing working on this matter anyway, though? He spent his last months in Congress giving mopey interviews about how sick he was of partisan politics and how eager he was to get back to trying cases as a prosecutor. Fast-forward nine months and he’s on Fox News every three days again and gearing up for the ultimate political clusterfark in impeachment.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s Trump fresh off announcing a tentative “phase one” trade deal with China declaring that Beijing’s dispute with Hong Kong is going to “take care of itself.” We’ve spent a lot of virtual ink this week goofing on the NBA’s social-justice warriors for looking the other way at Chinese oppression in the name of making a buck, but it’s abundantly clear that the White House will keep its own mouth shut if the ChiComs end up cracking down hard on Hong Kong. Especially if a trade deal to answer Trump’s economic prayers is in the process of being finalized and at risk of imploding if the U.S. says something “problematic” about democracy and human rights.
Pres. Trump says he discussed Hong Kong in meeting with Chinese official, claims protests have "toned down a lot."
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) October 11, 2019