|Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani|
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani Opens Mouth, Sticks Foot in During Interview With Fox's Hannity
Donald Trump has always insisted that he's his best attorney. With the dim-witted attorneys he hires, that might actually be true. Michael Cohen, Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow...have all managed to do incredibly dumb things as Trump's attorney. Now add to that ignominious list of barristers the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In fairness, Giuliani, who in the 1980s was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, might
have been off his legal game. It has been decades since he has been in a courtroom, after all. Perhaps his legal reasoning skills have grown dull.
During an "interview" with Sean Hannity, Fox News' fiercest Trump sycophant, Giuliani appeared to veer off script, breaking the news that Donald Trump knew all about the $130,000 payment by his "attorney" Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels, and that Trump, in fact, reimbursed Cohen for the payment. (Trump had previously denied having sex with Stormy or knowing anything about the payoff.) A giddy Giuliani, excited to break the news to the Fox audience, then declared to Hannity since campaign funds were not used for the payment, there was no campaign finance violation!
You could tell during the interview that even Hannity knew Giuliani had screwed up. The Fox News host attempted to throw Giuliani a life line in the form of softball follow-up questions. Giuliani, nonetheless, managed to swing and miss.
Contrary to Giuliani's suggestion, nobody had ever suggested campaign funds were used for the Stormy Daniels' payment. Ironically if campaign funds were used for such a purpose, assuming that was properly reported, it would have likely been legal. The problem is not that campaign funds were used for the Stormy payment, it is that campaign funds were not used.
One would think Giuliani, who ran successfully for two terms as Mayor and ran, briefly, for President would know what an in kind political contribution is. It was legal for Cohen to make the in-kind contribution as it far exceeded personal contribution limits in federal campaigns. While it is legal for Trump to make a $130,000 contribution to his own campaign, that contribution still has to be reported. And the fact Cohen fronted the money to be reimbursed later by Trump, also meant it was a loan that had to be reported.
During the Hannity interview, Giuliani brushed off any concerns about broken laws by saying they were just "FEC violations." Yes, FEC violations which also happen to be crimes.
Of course, one could argue that the Stormy Daniels' hush payment had nothing to do with the election. The problem is that the Trump-Stormy hookup took place in 2006 and it wasn't until 2016, days before the election and just before the porn actress was set to go public with the story, that the hush payment was made. As far as whether it was a campaign contribution, it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.
But the election violations may turn out to be the least of Cohen and Trump's legal problems, assuming, of course, Giuliani's assertion of what happened is accurate. To move $130,000 through our post-9/11 banking system there have to be a number of representations made to banking officials regarding the source and purpose of such a large expenditure. Undoubtedly false representations would have been made along the way. When the news broke of the payoff, Cohen said he took out a second mortgage to pay off Stormy Daniels. In doing so, he likely would have had to make a representation to the bank regarding what the money will be used for, and if he lied on those bank forms that is likely a felony.
But maybe Cohen didn't take out that second mortgage after all. (It should be recorded and publicly available at the courthouse...not sure why no reporter has bothered to check.) After all Cohen and his, undoubtedly now "former," client have a tendency to lie, a lot.
A new attorney, Emmett T. Flood, Clinton's impeachment attorney, has been added to the Trump legal team. While he should raise the average IQ in the room when the Trump legal team gets together, it seems associating with the President causes people, both lawyers and non-lawyers, to do stupid things.