An admission: I’ve never thought well of Rudy Giuliani. Not when he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Not when he pretended to be a drug buyer. Not when he was Mayor. Not when he was anything. So understand that I will gleefully seize upon any opportunity to ridicule Rudy.
But the paper of record asks whether Rudy, now pretending to be Darth Vader to Darth Cheeto, is winning his trial in the court of public opinion.
Some who are close to the man say that Mr. Giuliani’s calculated and cutthroat approach channels his client, and serves as a tactical attack on the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Given the Justice Department’s longstanding policy and the view of many legal scholars that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Giuliani is exercising his lawyerly skills in the court of public opinion to ward against the mutterings of impeachment.
Is Rudy being “lawyerly”? Former judge cum attorney general Michael Mukasey tries to be gentle.
Michael B. Mukasey, the former United States attorney general who worked with Mr. Giuliani as a prosecutor in the 1970s, said his longtime friend “has a strategy, but he also has a client who is himself not a linear thinker.”
“In a case that will never see the inside of a courtroom,” Mr. Mukasey added, “it can disserve your client if you are courtroom-style cautious.”
Obviously, the rule of evidence don’t apply on Sunday morning talk shows. Nor do the rules of logic or physics, for that matter. And what’s so great about linear thinking anyway, except for, you know, it being remotely rational? Others are not so kind.
Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer who served in the United States attorney’s office under Mr. Giuliani and who has publicly criticized him in recent months, said that his former boss seems to have “lost something.”
“He doesn’t seem to be well-prepared,” Mr. Bromwich said. “He doesn’t seem to have his facts straight. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the legal exposure that he’s creating for his client.”
There has long been a pervasive belief that the skills of a prosecutor not only translate into those of the defense lawyer, but in fact are of a higher quality, a better caliber. Indeed, this is one of, but not the only, reasons why former prosecutors who turn to the dark side heavily promote their former positions. It’s a huge marketing point, both for the legitimacy it provides the lawyer as well as the tacit implication that they’ve got connections they can play in the back room.
It’s all nonsense. It’s always been nonsense, but non-lawyers don’t know it, and tend to believe things that appear to make sense to the shallow and clueless. And they get away with it. A lot. So are Rudy’s mad skillz as the former US attorney winning the day?
Mr. Giuliani shrugged off suggestions that he was a discombobulated advocate, ill serving a client who happens to be the so-called leader of the free world. “You probably can’t do this without making a mistake or two,” he said, then quickly noted with evident satisfaction that “Mueller is now slightly more distrusted than trusted, and Trump is a little ahead of the game.”
His assertions may be ridiculous, clueless, often just plain flagrantly false, and yet his playing the divide between Trump’s haters and lovers by using anything he can, truth be damned, to drive the wedge deep hasn’t seemed to hurt his client’s approval rating with those for whom facts play no role in their world. So maybe Rudy isn’t as crazy as he seems?
Then, of course: “Truth isn’t truth” — a comment he later said was meant to convey the “he said/she said” quandary.
Just when you think Rudy is up against the ropes, being outed as a raving lunatic spewing idiotic nonsense, Chuck Todd goes and interrupts him for the wrong reason, causing Trump fans everywhere to high five and take a long swig of Colt 45.
Is Rudy onto something? Or if he was handed enough rope, without smirking interruption, would he hang himself?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.