Sunday, December 16, 2018

The "Death Spiral of Stupid"

You would be better off today reading this, than anything I have posted today, or will post today.  In the meantime, Giuliani-on-the-loose is breaking what's left of my legal mind:

“[Cohen] is saying the president knew it was wrong and directed him to do it anyway,” ABC host George Stephanopoulos told Giuliani on Sunday.

“Which is the truth?” Giuliani quipped, denying Cohen’s statements to federal prosecutors. “I think i know what the truth is. Unless you’re god, you’ll never know what the truth is.”

In other words, it depends on what the meaning of "is," is.  Courts of law don't determine "truth," of course, in the sense of Pilate's question (and Giuliani's sneer), and Rudy knows it.  He's playing the weakest kind of defense lawyer he can, because he's literally  got nothing.  But he speaks for the POTUS; think about that.  The interview was worse than just that exchange, too:

Giuliani began by comparing the hush money campaign finance violations to which Michael Cohen pleaded guilty (and in which the President is implicated) to the violations for which a jury ultimately did not convict former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

“If there’s another purpose” for a hush money payment, besides aiding a candidate’s campaign, Giuliani argued, “it’s no longer a campaign contribution.”

Which is false, but moving on:

Stephanopoulos pushed back: “In this case, you have contemporaneous witnesses saying it was for the campaign, you have the statement of fact saying Donald Trump met with [American Media executive] David Pecker–”

“And I can produce an enormous number of witnesses that say the President was very concerned about how this was going to affect his children, his marriage,” Giuliani interjected. “All those women came forward at that time, that tape with Billy Bush and all that. It’s all part of the same thing. I know what he was concerned about. I can produce 20 witnesses to tell you what he was concerned about.”

“Two weeks before the campaign?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“You’re damn right,” Giuliani said.

Earlier this year, Giuliani implied that at least one hush money payment was made to help Trump’s campaign.

In May, Giuliani said of Stormy Daniels’ allegations of an affair with Trump: “Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.”
And moving lower:

Stephanopoulos pushed back, noting that Cohen is not the only one making allegations. The Southern District of New York also wrote in Cohen’s sentencing memo that Trump directed him to make the payments. “They write, with respect to both payments, Cohen acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one. That’s in their own words. Of course individual one, the president,” Stephanopoulos said. “They wouldn’t write that if they didn’t have corroborating evidence, would they?”

“They don’t have corroborating evidence,” Giuliani replied. “Plus, they didn’t let Cohen plead guilty to a conspiracy. I ran that office. I know what they do.”

Which will be quite a surprise to Lanny Davis:

“Let’s remember that Michael Cohen has corroborating evidence for everything that he has said,” Davis explained. “[Special counsel Robert Mueller] certainly does. On the issue of the purpose of the money paid to Stormy Daniels, [Donald Trump], the same man who called Michael Cohen a rat, denied on Air Force One to the American people that he knew anything about Stormy Daniels.”
Does anybody really think those redacted documents recently released from the special prosecutor didn't contain evidence to convince the judge of the factual basis for the legal proceedings?  Evidence that is still part of an ongoing investigation, and so privileged for the moment?  Even Rudy knows about that.

It just got worse on FoxNews:

“We’re talking about something that doesn’t matter,” Giuliani said. “Whether it happened or it didn’t happen, it’s not illegal.”

Wallace interrupted, “You’re moving shells around on me. Either it happened or it didn’t happen.” But Giuliani defended himself by claiming, “That’s what lawyers do all the time.”

“I’m asking you for the truth, sir,” said Wallace, visibly frustrated by the circular exchange.

Asked if Trump would sit for an interview with the special counsel’s office, Giuliani scoffed.

“Good luck,” Giuliani said of Mueller’s team. “After what they did to Flynn ― the way they trapped him into perjury. ... They’re a joke. Over my dead body.”

Again, with feeling:  you can't trap someone into perjury.  You can make them reveal what they didn't mean to reveal; but lying on a material issue under oath (the definition of perjury) is a matter of intent, not accident.  If Flynn didn't mean to lie, he wouldn't have plead guilty to perjury.  And Giuliani knows it.  Rudy is a terrible defense lawyer:

“Giuliani is correct that collusion [with Russia] is not a federal crime writ large,” [NYU law professor Melissa] Murray said. “But all of the activities that go into collusion — misleading statements, collaborating with a foreign government, directing payments from a foreign government to a campaign — all of those things are federal crimes and the conspiracy to engage with others to do this is also a crime.”

Murray went on to say that Giuliani was also incorrect to suggest that prosecutors have a “weak” case on campaign finance violations because Trump had paid only “a little money” to his alleged mistresses.

“Is that really the issue?” Murray asked. “I mean, we have a representative of the president of the United States basically admitting to paying women money to not disclose the fact that they have been in some kind of untoward [relationship] with the president.”

“And his response and his defense is that if it had been more money, it would have been more serious,” she continued. “We are living in strange times. I mean, we are in a death spiral of stupid. This is insanity.”
Yes; yes, it is.

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