Although the former mayor says that he is acting as Donald Trump’s outside legal counsel, it’s increasingly clear that his main role is that of attack dog. His principal assignment: to bloody Mueller, and, if possible, disable him.
.. During his sitdown with Ingraham, Giuliani extended this argument, arguing that for “the same reason they can’t indict him, they can’t issue a subpoena to him.”
These statements raise an obvious question: If Mueller really has nothing on Trump, and if, in any case, he is barred from bringing an indictment or issuing a Presidential subpoena, why are the President and his attorneys so concerned about the investigation?
.. As the Republican congressman Trey Gowdy remarked to Trump’s former lead attorney, John Dowd, after he called on Mueller to wrap it up, “If you have an innocent client … act like it.”
the special counsel’s team has proceeded methodically for the past twelve months on at least five distinct but connected fronts:
- Russian trolling and voter-targeting on social-media platforms;
- the hacking and release of Democratic e-mails;
- direct contacts between members of the Trump campaign and individuals connected to the Russian government;
- Trump’s business dealings with people and entities connected to Russia; and
- possible obstruction of justice.
.. Strictly speaking, that is a separate probe. But nobody on Trump’s team doubts that if and when Cohen decides to coöperate with the prosecutors, Mueller’s investigators will be all ears.
.. as early as last fall, Mueller’s team demanded information from some of the companies that hired the Trump fixer as a consultant after the election. This suggests that the investigation is running many months ahead of the media, and also, perhaps, ahead of the White House’s knowledge of its activities.
.. we know, courtesy of a leak to the Times by Trump’s lawyers, is that Mueller wants to pose at least forty-nine questions to the President himself. Despite Trump’s constant refrain that there was no collusion with Russia, many of these questions also relate directly to what happened before the 2016 election.
.. “During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media, or other acts aimed at the campaign?” and
“What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”
.. if Mueller found evidence of a serious crime involving the President, and he believed it should be prosecuted in an ordinary court of law, he could go to Rosenstein, who in this case would be the acting Attorney General—and the ultimate decision would fall on Rosenstein’s shoulders.
.. Most people in Washington don’t expect Mueller to bring criminal charges against Trump. If he doesn’t, and Trump doesn’t fire him before he completes his investigation, the key issue—whether or not to impeach Trump—may well be left to Congress. And since Congress operates in the court of public opinion, this would ultimately be a political decision.
That, of course, is another reason that Trump brought in Giuliani—to stick up for him and his family in public, even if that involves defending the indefensible
.. we can rest assured that they won’t be put off by Giuliani’s bluster.