When ‘truth isn’t truth’: Rudy Giuliani’s weirdest moments
This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Brent Griffiths on politico.com on August 19, 2018.
No one says it quite like Rudy Giuliani.
In his four months as one of US President Donald Trump's personal lawyers, the former New York City mayor has blitzed media green rooms, befuddled legal experts and caused headaches for the White House.
Even Trump once told reporters Giuliani would “get his facts straight” eventually.
On the heels of his latest eyebrow-raising pronouncement, here's a look at Giuliani's oddest recent moments.
Fresh into his new assignment as an legal adviser to the president, Giuliani appeared on Fox News host Sean Hannity's show on May 2 for what should have been a friendly interview.
Instead, Giuliani contradicted months of Trump-team statements that the president was not aware of a $130,000 payment during the 2016 campaign to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which she says was “hush money” to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. Giuliani also made the arrangement sound suspicious by saying the money was “funnelled through a law firm” by Trump's long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Giuliani told CNN in May that he'd take special offence if special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, went after Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter.
But her husband, Jared Kushner, was less of a concern, Giuliani indicated.
“I guess Jared is a fine man, you know that,” Giuliani said.
“But men are, you know, disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on.”
Escalating demands for Mueller to end his investigation, Giuliani gave the special counsel a 24-hour ultimatum, following the release of a watchdog report into the FBI's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. But when the time passed and Mueller's probe continued, Giuliani conceded to POLITICO that his threat was just a ploy.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” Giuliani explained.
“What am I supposed to say? That they should investigate him forever? Sorry, I’m not a sucker.”
Giuliani leapt to Trump's defence as reports surfaced that Cohen, looking to distance himself from Trump, would claim the president knew about or even approved a June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top campaign officials and a lawyer linked to the Russian government. But in doing so, Giuliani created more confusion.
While saying Cohen's claims were untrue, Giuliani muddied the waters by bringing up what seemed to be a previously unreported second meeting by top campaign officials to plan the June 9 gathering.
After repeating the claim twice during a CNN interview, Giuliani said hours later that he was just repeating what he'd been told by reporters and that the alleged pre-meeting session “never happened.”
Trump has long said there was “no collusion” between his team and Russians interfering in the 2016 election. On July 30, Giuliani, in a defence since adopted by Trump, said that even if collusion occurred, it wouldn't be a crime.
“I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime,” Giuliani said in an interview on Fox News.” “Collusion is not a crime.”
“The hacking is the crime,” Giuliani told CNN on the same topic.
“The president didn't hack.”
Most legal experts agree with Giuliani that there is no specific crime of collusion, but they say if campaign officials conspired with foreign individuals to interfere in the election process, there could be other charges.
Officially, the White House said former FBI director James Comey was fired because of his handling of the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. But Trump has also said it was because of his frustrations with the Russia probe, which Comey was leading at the time.
Giuliani, however, said Comey was let go for refusing to say Trump was not the target of the investigation – even though Comey and Trump both agreed he did so privately on multiple occasions.
“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation,” Giuliani told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that. So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.’
Even though he is supposed to be giving legal advice, Giuliani has occasionally freelanced on White House matters – eventually forcing the State Department to declare the president's lawyer does not speak for the US government.
The most high profile of these episodes came on May 3, when he claimed that Kim Jong-un would be releasing three American prisoners held in North Korea that day. He had to backtrack, and the president would not announce their release until six days later.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 19, 2018
On Sunday, Giuliani defended the Trump legal team's drawn-out negotiations over a possible meeting between the president and Mueller's team by saying he does not want Trump to be caught in a so-called perjury trap. But in explaining why Trump should worry about telling the truth, Giuliani questioned the existence of truth itself.
“When you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth,” Giuliani told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“Truth is truth,” Todd responded.
“No, no, it isn’t truth,” Giuliani said.
“Truth isn’t truth. The President of the United States says, “I didn’t …”
“Truth isn’t truth?” a startled Todd asked.
“No, no, no,” Giuliani said.
“This is going to become a bad meme,” Todd observed.