Giuliani: I'm ready to testify in the Senate trial right now

This … may not be helping. “I feel I have a swamp character here,” Rudy Giuliani says about John Bolton, calling him a “classic backstabber” in his CBS This Morning interview with Catherine Herridge today. Giuliani goes on at length about Bolton’s dishonesty in this rant, calling him an “atomic bomb” in response to Fiona Hill’s testimony in the House that Bolton considered him a “grenade.”

All of this might be great fun, but CBS buries the lead a bit. Why did Giuliani tell CBS that he would offer his testimony to the Senate when his client’s legal team is trying to close out the trial without any witnesses at all?

This doesn’t come on camera, or at least not in the CBS edit of the interview, but Giuliani apparently said it at some point. Herridge mentions the offer in her introduction to the segment, and the CBS article also mentions it — in the very last sentence:

But Giuliani said he is still the president’s personal attorney and he still maintains contact with him.

Asked why he wasn’t a part of the White House defense team, he said, “Well, I am, but I can’t participate in what goes on in the Congress, because I’m a possible witness.”

Giuliani added that he’s ready to testify in the trial if he gets clearance from the White House.

That may not be a grenade in Mitch McConnell’s efforts to close out the Senate trial, but it’s at least a bit of a stinkbomb. Democrats would loooove to get Giuliani on the stand and pepper him with questions under oath, perhaps almost as much as Bolton. Their theory of the case is that Giuliani was the fixer behind the quid pro quo, the man who’s been digging for the dirt that Trump wanted in exchange for the aid. He’s almost as voluble as Trump, and almost as undisciplined in his public statements, and setting a Giuliani perjury trap would be high up on House managers’ wish list.

Trump’s legal team has been protecting Giuliani by calling him a “minor player” and de-emphasizing his efforts just to prevent a potential fight over his testimony. The question would be whether Giuliani was acting a “personal attorney” in that capacity or an investigative agent with less claim to privilege in the client relationship. Trump would be likely to win that fight, unless Giuliani botched it by insisting that he could testify.

The attack on Bolton in this manner opens up another problem for McConnell. Rather than just stick to Alan Dershowitz’ argument that it’s immaterial to impeachment, Giuliani’s dispute over the specifics of Bolton’s (reported) story pushes this back into outright denial again. As Gayle King says at the end, the natural response to this kind of dispute is let’s get everyone under oath and see who’s telling the truth. That’s precisely what McConnell is trying to prevent.

Giuliani’s client isn’t exactly helping matters either, but at least Donald Trump’s personal attacks this morning are mostly just personal attacks:

Maybe someone should tell Trump’s “shiny object” to get back to being a “minor player,” at least until after the Senate trial is over.