Who isn’t? Until now, though, man with the only opinion that matters seemed fine with allowing Rudy Giuliani to talk him into corners. However, Politico reports that Donald Trump has gotten tired of his attorney’s PR disasters too:
Trump was apoplectic after a pair of weekend media interviews by his personal lawyer, in which Giuliani said that the president had been involved in discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow through the end of the 2016 campaign — a statement that enraged Trump because it contradicted his own public position, according to two sources close to the president.
Giuliani’s statement was the latest in a series of remarks over several months that has required walk-backs or reversals, and Trump spent much of Sunday and Monday fuming to aides and friends about his lawyer’s missteps. Most of those people share Trump’s frustration, noting that the former New York mayor often appears to lack a mastery of the facts of Trump’s legal headaches.
Giuliani’s public remarks — typically made in sporadic clusters of freewheeling media interviews — have long exasperated White House aides, including the president’s in-house lawyer handling the Russia investigation, Emmet Flood. The latest fracas comes at a time of maximum vulnerability for the president and his legal team. Special counsel Robert Mueller has no deadline for finishing his work, but many outside observers see him as nearing the end of his probe into 2016 Russian election meddling and whether it was coordinated with Trump or his campaign.
It’s not just Politico hearing of trouble in White House paradise. The Associated Press reports that Trump’s other advisers want Giuliani barred from TV appearances from now on. Some Republicans just want him barred in the evenings, as they think bars might be part of the problem:
Trump was frustrated with Giuliani, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The president told advisers that he felt his lawyer had obscured what he believed was a public relations victory: the special counsel’s rare public statement disputing portions of a BuzzFeed News story that Trump instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie before Congress.
The president told confidants that Giuliani had “changed the headlines” for the worse and raised the possibility that Giuliani do fewer cable hits, at least for a while, according to the officials and Republicans.
Several of Trump’s influential outside allies also have begun expressing reservations about Giuliani. Some members of this informal network of advisers, whom the president frequently calls from the White House residence, urged Trump in recent days to bench Giuliani — but most stopped short of suggesting he be fired, according to four White House officials and Republicans close to the White House. …
Some of Trump’s allies have suggested that Giuliani be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking, according to three Republicans close to the White House.
That … would explain a few things, but not all things. Almost from the moment Trump brought Giuliani onto his legal team, the former mayor has created hundreds of hours of media discussion over his explanations of Trump’s legal defense. He then provides hundreds more with follow-up retractions and explanations. Giuliani’s strategy seemed inexplicable, unless he wanted to actively raise expectations so high that Robert Mueller could never possibly meet them.
Giuliani has a different take on his media tour. He’s laying out hypotheticals to prove no case exists, as any attorney would do, he claims. Giuliani accuses the media of misrepresenting hypotheticals as actual claims:
My main obligation is to defend somebody, not to deal with philosophy. The Times deliberately misunderstood what I said. I started the conversation by telling them these conversations didn’t take place. You can’t turn that into “They did take place” when I say, hypothetically, “If they did take place, here are the legal ramifications of it.” It is totally dishonest when you do it. If you want to do it, we can end the conversation. …
Now, if you want to discuss a hypothetical, if they took place, what are the legal ramifications of it, I went to law school to learn how to do that. But that isn’t what I said. I don’t know how to make it clearer, and I really don’t have any more time.
It’s certainly true that attorneys craft hypotheticals in order to win points of law, but that takes place in court or on appeal. And, by the way, those are essentially philosophical tests, albeit in service to representing a client. Public relations is a different discipline, and voters are a different audience than judges. It would also be easier to accept this as a full explanation if Giuliani didn’t need to correct himself so often on the bases of his hypotheticals, too. Furthermore, he’s both an attorney and an experienced politician — he should know the difference. Jay Sekulow, who is also an attorney and also working for Donald Trump, seems to grasp the nuances of public relations. If Giuliani can’t, then he’s the wrong person for the job.
Or is he? Fox’ Andrew Napolitano, formerly a judge, thinks Giuliani’s strategy is deliberate — setting expectations for what may come out in Robert Mueller’s report:
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney who has been under fire for what was seen by some as missteps during recent TV interviews, may be dripping information about Trump to the public to lessen the shock when Special Counsel Robert Mueller releases his final report on his Russian collusion investigation, Andrew Napolitano, Fox News’ senior judicial analyst said.
Napolitano, who appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Tuesday, argued that the strategy is not an uncommon tactic and could lessen the impact of a report that could otherwise be “like dropping an anvil in a lake.”
“There’s an old rule of thumb that trial lawyers follow: If there’s damaging information about your client, better it come out of your mouth than out of the government’s mouth,” he said. He said it’s likely that Giuliani has a good idea about what Mueller may have on the president, and if he could slowly release the information, it will be “more palatable.”
That … would explain a few more things.