The goal 'is sowing confusion': New York Times reporter explains why Trump approves of Giuliani's erratic behavior
As President Donald Trump's lead counsel, Rudy Giuliani has increasingly humiliated himself and his client in interviews with walked-back self-contradictions and politically damaging admissions — and reports have suggested that Trump's aides want him fired.
But suggestions that the president himself wants Giuliani gone may be premature. In fact, said New York Times reporter and political analyst Maggie Haberman on CNN's "New Day" Wednesday morning, it may be a feature, not a bug, that Giuliani is behaving this way.
"Look, I think the goal overall that both Rudy Giuliani and President Trump share is sowing confusion around the case, around Michael Cohen, around Robert Mueller, and so, to that end, I don't think the president is upset," said Haberman.
She continued, "I do think that he has been advised by several people close to him that this week's media tour de force by the former mayor was not ideal," partly because he was a distraction from the White House victory lap over special counsel Robert Mueller's cryptic criticism of the BuzzFeed News article alleging Trump suborned perjury. But, she added, while "there are people who are encouraging him to part ways with Giuliani, but that is absolutely not going to happen. Certainly not any time soon."
"He is generally happy with the job Giuliani has done, and Giuliani has served as something of an extension of the client's id over the last several months," she said. "That might make other people unhappy, it's not going to make the president unhappy."
“I think the goal overall that both Rudy Giuliani and President Trump share is sowing confusion,” @maggieNYT says.… https://t.co/VFeteZCR9u— CNN This Morning (@CNN This Morning) 1548249589
Giuliani's legal strategy over the last year, since being brought on to represent Trump, has seemingly been to throw things at the wall and see what sticks, or, to convince the public that, in his own words, "truth isn't truth."
He originally tried to defend Trump's hush payment to Stormy Daniels by telling Sean Hannity that "It's not campaign money ... no campaign finance violation," and later added that Daniels isn't credible because her being a porn star "says something about how far you'll go to make money." (Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen later pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for facilitating that deal.) He repeatedly insisted there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, then tried to claim in a CNN interview that "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign," then walked that back a day later. Last Sunday, he said that Trump told him the negotiations over Trump Tower Moscow, which Cohen admitted lying to Congress about, were "going on from the day I announced to the day I won," then the next day called the project "hypothetical," "not based on conversations I had with the president," and that "no plans were ever made." (Documents show that plans were indeed made.)
Perhaps the most incredible demonstration of Giuliani's scattershot thinking is an interview with The New Yorker released on Monday, in which he said he knew the BuzzFeed report was false because "I have been through all the tapes," then when questioned, immediately said "I shouldn't have said tapes." He rounded off that interview with an even more memorable quote: "I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. 'Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump,' ... But, if it is, so what do I care? I'll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter."
None of this is would be a good way to win in court. But Trump probably won't ever go before a court — and as Giuliani himself has previously pointed out, if Trump is ever impeached, his jury is the American people. And his bizarre rants could sow just enough confusion in the public to produce confusion. As far as Trump is concerned, that may be all he needs to do.