Giuliani is not the first Trump associate to claim a Mueller interview would be a “perjury trap” — when a prosecutor, without any legitimate investigative purpose, subpoenas someone for the purpose of catching them in a lie and then charging them with perjury. But Giuliani likely knows that, as former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason explained in a Post op-ed, the “perjury trap” excuse does not apply here, given that Mueller has numerous understandable reasons to interview the president. Just to pick one example, a sit-down could help determine whether Trump or former FBI director James B. Comey is telling the truth. To make the “perjury trap” claim work, therefore, Giuliani is trying to argue that this truth and others simply can’t be determined, and therefore a Trump-Mueller meeting is pointless. Which, of course, is utterly false.
Like Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” “truth isn’t truth” will almost certainly become an enduring phrase from this presidential scandal. In three words, Giuliani perfectly captures his boss’s view of facts — and by extension, the views of his flacks and die-hard fans. When something as black-and-white as “did Trump talk about Flynn with Comey” is open to interpretation, nothing can be proved and no one can be found guilty. And that’s just the way Trump likes it.