I mean, he did say that but I don’t think he meant it the way some anti-Trumpers are interpreting his comment on social media this afternoon. So consider this a PSA in case you stumble across a headline somewhere hyping the story and think, “What? Giuliani’s threatening Trump now?”
He is not. Rudy doesn’t have the stones or, judging by his interviews this year, even the mental wherewithal anymore to successfully blackmail the president of the United States.
Although given all the rumors lately about him being set up as a “fall guy” on the Ukraine matter, with Republicans whispering to the media that he’ll be “cut loose” if necessary to protect Trump, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this comment here carried more weight than it seems.
In a telephone interview with the Guardian, in response to a question about whether he was nervous that Trump might “throw him under a bus” in the impeachment crisis, Giuliani said, with a slight laugh: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.”
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who was also on the call, then interjected: “He’s joking.”…
Asked about whether he believed Trump would remain loyal to him, amid speculation Republican lawmakers could seek to pin the blame for alleged wrongdoing on Giuliani personally in an effort to shield the president, Giuliani said he believed Trump, who he has known for three decades, was a “very loyal guy”.
I like the idea of Rudy’s lawyer having to babysit his phone calls with reporters now, just in case he starts chattering to them about how one could conceivably view his activities in Ukraine regarding Burisma as “improper.” In any case, I think the “insurance” line is a straightforward joke about being thrown under a bus: If he gets run over, he has good medical insurance. If you’re desperate to read more into it than that, you could actually make a case that he’s hinting he’ll willingly go under the bus for Trump in the expectation that he’ll be pardoned. The pardon is the insurance. He’s unconcerned by the thought of the DOJ running him over.
However you come down on it, though, there’s no question that the “fall guy” chatter involving Giuliani is getting louder. Mick Mulvaney, another potential fall guy, is reportedly worried enough about it that he’s begun whispering to friends that Trump won’t dare turn on him in light of all he knows about the Ukraine saga. Probably true. But Rudy is a different story:
Meadows: Having spent seven hours with Ambassador Sondland, I think what you’ll find is anytime he had direct contact with the President of the United States, and not Rudy Giulinai or others, the message was clear. There was no condition placed on aid.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 14, 2019
That sure sounds like Mark Meadows setting up Rudy to be the mastermind of a quid pro quo which our poor president is being unfairly blamed for. And Meadows isn’t some random Republican. He’s a Trump crony, a guy who’s been touted as a possible replacement for Mulvaney as chief of staff. If he’s pushing this line, it may be because Trump himself wants him to push it. I hope that insurance is paid up, Rudy.
In the same interview today, Giuliani dismissed the news about Bill Taylor’s aide supposedly hearing Trump talking to Gordon Sondland over the phone about Ukrainian “investigations.” “I’m not sure this is very solid testimony,” said Rudy. “In court we would call it hearsay, triple hearsay.” I don’t know where he gets “triple hearsay” from. It’d be hearsay coming from Taylor since he got the info secondhand from his aide. But the aide is set to be deposed tomorrow by the House. And the aide’s testimony certainly isn’t hearsay as applied to Trump: Trump is a party to impeachment, so firsthand testimony about things he’s said is admissible. Taylor’s aide could certainly discuss the call at the Senate trial.
And he wouldn’t be testifying alone, according to the AP. Apparently a second Taylor aide also overheard the call.
A second U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv overheard a key cellphone call between President Donald Trump and his ambassador to the European Union discussing the need for Ukrainian officials to pursue “investigations,” The Associated Press has learned…
The second diplomatic staffer also at the table was Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv. A person briefed on what Jayanti overheard spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter currently under investigation…
The staffer Taylor testified about is David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, according to an official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Holmes is scheduled to testify Friday before House investigators in a closed session.
That’s two witnesses who might be able to corroborate what Trump said. Which raises a question: How the hell did so many people listen in on Gordon Sondland’s chat with the president of the United States? I saw a clip last night of Major Garrett on TV claiming that that’s not far-fetched if you’ve ever spoken by phone with Trump. He speaks very loudly, apparently; Erick Erickson confirmed it on Twitter. But there’s another possibility. Did Sondland … have the president on speakerphone?
In a public place? In … Ukraine, which is teeming with Russian spies?
And was he using a cell phone, which is child’s play for foreign spooks to intercept?
The papers are filled today with reactions from national security veterans who are horrified by the thought of it. It’d be unusual for an ambassador like Sondland to be communicating directly with the president in any case, but to do it so haphazardly without security precautions is mind-boggling to those in the know. “The security ramifications are insane — using an open cellphone to communicate with the president of the United States,” said a former chief of staff to the CIA director to WaPo. “In a country that is so wired with Russian intelligence, you can almost take it to the bank that the Russians were listening in on the call.” Other sources said the same to CNN. If Taylor’s account is right then the Russians almost certainly know what was said during that conversation. And if in fact something improper was said about pressuring Ukraine for dirt on Biden, then they have “insurance” against Trump in their possession too. Not the jokey Giuliani kind. The real kind.
Sondland’s going to be asked when he testifies why he spoke to the president via cell phone instead of through secure official channels. Is it because he and/or Trump didn’t want others to know they were in contact, or what they were discussing?