Former New York mayor and Trump legal counsel Rudy Giuliani gave a long and, at times, incoherent interview to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.
At one point, Giuliani dismissed the now-famous $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels because $130,000 “is not a great deal of money.” After Stephanopoulous played a clip of Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano labeling some of Giuliani’s previous statements about Trump “unworthy of belief,” the former mayor’s defense was that Napolitano “knows less about” this case “than I do.”
If Giuliani made any news during the 20 minutes he spent offering a stream-of-consciousness defense of his most famous client, it came at the end, when the president’s lawyer suggested that Trump may refuse to speak with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Pres. Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says he can't be confident the president won't invoke the Fifth Amendment if he speaks with the special counsel: "I've got a client who wants to testify… I hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that he's taking." https://t.co/LLi1C5Cedc pic.twitter.com/s7GT0y74WS
— ABC News (@ABC) May 6, 2018
In response to a direct question from Stephanopoulous — “are you confident that the president will not take the Fifth in this case?” — Giuliani responded, “how could I ever be confident of that?”
“Every lawyer in America thinks [Trump] would be a fool to testify,” Giuliani claimed. “I’ve got a client who wants to testify . . . and you know, [Trump counsel] Jay [Sekulow] and I said to ourselves ‘my goodness, I hope that we get a chance to tell him the risk that he’s taking.”
Giuliani’s suggestion that Trump may not testify because it would be too risky followed several attempts to blame this state of affairs on Mueller and claim that the special counsel is untrustworthy. In one especially awkward exchange, Giuliani blamed Mueller for leaking a set of potential questions he might ask Trump.
Yet, almost immediately after Giuliani attempted to blame this leak on Mueller, Stephanopoulous cut the former mayor off to point out significant evidence that the leak came from the Trump camp.
“Let me stop you right there, because, in fact, those questions were written by Jay Sekulow after a meeting with Mueller and his team,” Stephanopoulous explained. The leaked document, according to Stephanopoulous, captured “the Trump team’s take on the questions” and the leaked document was “made by the Trump team.”
So, to summarize, the Team Trump put a lawyer on national television to defend the president. That lawyer, by his own admission, doesn’t know everything there is to know about how his client has behaved. He made dubious accusations against the special counsel. He then offered an odd defense of the president’s conduct that appears unlikely to endear Trump to the sort of people who don’t think of $130,000 as a small amount of money.
In spite of all of this, Giuliani is right about one important thing: It would be extraordinarily risky for Trump to speak to Mueller under oath. The likelihood that Trump could spend several hours speaking to a skilled prosecutor without telling several material lies is very small. We are, after all, talking about Donald Trump.