Rudy Giuliani Attacks Stormy Daniels But Disgraces Himself

“Excuse me, when you look at Stormy Daniels,” Rudolph Giuliani, .. before interrupting himself to make a face. And what a face: Giuliani’s expression was, perhaps, meant to be one of knowing revulsion at Daniels, but the lopsided chaos of his features conveyed a moral contortion all his own. He had been explaining that Melania Trump believed in her husband implicitly, and so should everyone else, because he was Trump

.. Giuliani added, “I know Donald Trump. Look at his three wives, right?” It wasn’t clear if, with that questioning note, he was looking for a confirmation of the exact number of Trump’s wives. “Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?” He paused to make another face

..  “But I’m sorry, I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman, or a woman of substance, or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman, and as a person. And isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation. So, Stormy, you want to bring a case? Let me cross-examine you.”

.. It is more of an honest living than some New York real-estate developers make.

.. she has also made it clear that she knew that she was taking a risk by opening herself up to this kind of attack

..  (Clifford has said that one of the new expenses she has taken on, in addition to her legal fees, is for security.)

.. Giuliani jumped in, seemingly intent on playacting the role of a beat cop from a past century, who, in dealing with the woman who comes to tell him her story, looks at what she is wearing, smirks, and turns away—or, as Giuliani suggested in his “cross-examine” remark, the role of the lawyer who has no better tactic than to try to humiliate a witness, labelling her a loose woman.

.. That is a form of sexual exploitation far more corrosive than any film that Clifford has ever made.

.. Giuliani’s comments went beyond whether Clifford could be believed to whether she could even be hurt. “Explain to me how she could be damaged,” he said. “She has no reputation. If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation.” But Clifford does not say that Trump, against whom she has filed a defamation suit (in the Southern District of New York, Giuliani’s old territory), damaged her by calling her an adult-film star. She says that he damaged her by saying, on Twitter, that her account of being threatened not to talk about their sexual encounter was “a total con job”—and that she, by implication, was a total con woman

.. when NBC asked Giuliani whether he regretted his remarks, he said that he did not, dressing up his denial with a vague reference to feminism and daughters. He also said, “I don’t have to undermine her credibility. She’s done it by lying.”

.. Giuliani, perhaps more than any of Trump’s other lawyers, has made Cohen sound like Trump’s bag man, with slush-fund-management responsibilities.

.. he corruption case against Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, was a “joke

.. Mueller’s team was trying to “frame” Trump.

.. while the President could be impeached, “in no case” could he be indicted or subpoenaed, not even “if he shot James Comey.” There is regular speculation about when Trump might fire Giuliani. But it may be that Giuliani is the President’s lawyer because he is the kind of lawyer Trump likes.

.. Giuliani’s remarks about Clifford are more than repugnant; they are revealing. They convey a political philosophy that he and the President share

.. those who are vulnerable are meant to be wounded, and have no right to ask for respect, let alone protection. It is a bully’s declaration of open season on the weak.

.. But Stephanie Clifford is not as defenseless as Giuliani or Trump might think. She has presented a credible and strikingly strong legal case. Maybe Giuliani should be listening to her.

The Military Is Not a Political Prop

For at least the past seven presidential election cycles, candidates on both sides have sought to use veterans, military leaders and the military itself to validate their credentials as potential commanders in chief.

In 1992, Bill Clinton received the endorsement of retired Adm. William Crowe, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Each election cycle has escalated this use of veterans as stage props, or useful attackers, such as in 2004 with the deployment of Swift boat veterans to attack John Kerry. To some extent, this politicization of the military has carried forward into office, with presidents from each party carefully using military audiences or imagery to frame policy statements or political activities.

.. In a public speech shortly after his inauguration, Mr. Trump delivered a blistering attack on the press before an audience of intelligence officers at the C.I.A. headquarters.

.. Seven days later, Mr. Trump used the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis standing by, to sign his controversial travel ban. Last February, he politicked before a crowd of troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., the home of the military’s headquarters for Middle East operations and special operations. In July of last year, during the commissioning of the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford, Mr. Trump told the assembled sailors that “I don’t mind getting a little hand, so call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it,” referring to his budget, adding, “And by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care.”

.. Vice President Mike Pence followed the president’s lead last month in a speech before American troops in Jordan, on the border with Syria, attacking Democrats in the middle of a budget fight that caused a brief government shutdown.

.. Mr. Trump’s proposed parade fits this pattern of politicizing the military and using it to further his political interests — not those of the military or the nation.

.. But beyond the costs and distraction of a parade, we should be wary of its long-term corrosive effects on our military, which must continue to serve and defend our country long after the Trump presidency ends.

David Boies’s Egregious Involvement With Harvey Weinstein

“If evidence could be uncovered to convince The Times the charges should not be published, I did not believe, and do not believe, that that would be adverse to The Times’s interests.”

.. But as The Times’s leadership pointed out in its own statement, it never contemplated that the firm would contract with investigators to do opposition research on its own reporters. Unsurprisingly, The Times considered this conduct to be a “grave betrayal of trust,” and grounds to terminate the firm. It is hard to imagine how a lawyer of Mr. Boies’s caliber would not have anticipated this reaction.

It gets worse. Bar ethical rules prohibit lawyers not only from engaging in fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, but also from inducing others to do so. They also specifically forbid lawyers from directing non-lawyers to engage in prohibited conduct. Black Cube employees were in fact involved in such deceit; investigators misrepresented their identities in order to gain confidences from women whom Mr. Weinstein had harassed or assaulted.

Although Mr. Boies now claims that he had no knowledge of such practices, he surely was in a position to have such knowledge and had reason to suspect them. He had hired an organization known for hardball tactics and reportedly received reports of their findings.

.. Mr. Boies stated: “Mr. Weinstein has himself recognized that his contact with women was indefensible and incredible hurtful. In retrospect, I knew enough in 2015 that I believe I should have been on notice of a problem and done something about it.”

.. When leaders with such high visibility cut ethical corners, it sends a powerful and corrosive message.

McMaster and the Challenge of Sharia Supremacism

Like his familiar bipartisan Beltway camp, he underestimates the threat.

.. Ms. Rice was in the job because she was simpatico with her boss’s developed worldview; he was not a work-in-progress she was tutoring.

.. That is not how either admirers or detractors on the right view President Trump. He is a transactional actor. Obama was a hard-left ideologue who, in the manner of the breed, pretended to be above and beyond ideology. Trump is an authentic non-ideologue. He goes by instinct, guile, and a degree of self-absorption unusual even inside a Beltway teeming with solipsists.

.. Reluctant Trump backers don’t project; they make the real-world calculation that, in this administration more than any before it, personnel is policy.

You get past your misgivings about Trump because

  • Pence, not Kaine, is one heartbeat away;
  • Gorsuch, not Garland, is on the Supreme Court;
  • Sessions rather than Lynch is at Main Justice;
  • the CIA is run by Pompeo, not Morrell;
  • America’s seat at the U.N. is filled by Nikki Haley, not Anne-Marie Slaughter;
  • the Federalist Society, not the American Constitution Society, is vetting judicial nominees;

and so on.

.. I was as energetic a naysayer on the pact as anyone. That, however, was because I understood that Obama’s objective was to change the facts on the ground so dramatically that no successor could undo the deal.

.. Personally, I would renounce it. I don’t get how the administration can bring itself to reaffirm the deal every 90 days (as the law mandates), since doing so requires saying two things that are not true: Tehran is in compliance, and continuation of the self-defeating arrangement is in our national-security interests.

.. McMaster does not really support the deal — he thinks it’s a lousy commitment we need to hold our nose and honor until we find an advantageous off-ramp.

.. Alas, as I pointed out during and after the campaign, this might be a sign of real resolve; or, in the alternative, Trump might have no idea what he was talking about — it might be another exhibition of his talent to sense the divide between irate Americans and their smug government, and to tell the former what they want to hear.

Islam must be seen either as

  1. a big problem that we have to work around, or
  2. a part of the solution to our security challenge.

I am in the first camp. McMaster seems solidly in the second

.. In the first camp, most of us do not dispute that there are authentically “moderate” interpretations of Islam (non-aggressive is a better descriptor). We recognize, however, that there is a straight-line nexus between Islamic scripture and Muslim aggression and — critically — that this aggression is not only, or even mostly, forcible. That is why “sharia supremacism” is more accurate than “radical Islam,” and by leaps and bounds more accurate than “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“Sharia supremacism” conveys the divine command to implement and spread Islam’s societal framework and legal system. It demonstrates that our quarrel is not with a religion per se but with a totalitarian political ideology with a religious veneer.

McMaster’s familiar bipartisan Beltway camp holds that Islam simply must be good because it is a centuries-old religion that nearly 2 billion people accept. Sure, it has scriptures ill-suited to the modern world, but so does the Bible. Bellicose Muslim scriptures have, in any event, been nullified or “contextualized” to apply only to their seventh-century conditions — just ask anyone at Georgetown . . . even if they don’t seem to have gotten the memo in Riyadh, Tehran, Kabul, Baghdad, the Nile Delta, Peshawar, the Bekaa Valley, Aceh Province, Chechnya, or in swelling precincts of London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Malmö, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Vienna, or pretty much anyplace else in the West where the Muslim population reaches a critical mass (roughly 5 to 10 percent).

.. Terrorists must, therefore, be understood as perverting the “true Islam” — indeed, they are “anti-Islamic.” In fact, they are best seen as “violent extremists” because Islam is no more prone to instigate aggression than any other religion or ideology taken to an extreme (you know, like those violent extremist Quakers). If more Muslims than other religious believers are committing terrorist crimes, we must assume there are economic and political explanations

.. The principal flaw in the second camp’s reasoning is that, by removing Islam as an ideological catalyst of terrorism, it turns terrorists into wanton killers. With the logic and aims of the violence thereby erased, also concealed is the cultural (or even “civilizational”) aggression spurred by the same ideology. This, in turn, diverts attention from the tenets of that ideology, which are virulently anti-constitutional, anti-Western, anti-Semitic, and corrosive of individual liberty, equality, privacy, free speech, freedom of conscience, and non-violent conflict resolution. To accommodate the ideology in the West is to lose the West.

.. On balance, besides their can-do discipline, modern military officers — especially warrior-scholars in the McMaster, Mattis, Petraeus mold — tend to be politically progressive and prudently cautious about the wages of war.

.. accommodations made to Islamists in places where we have no choice but to deal with them are not accommodations that should be made here at home. On our turf, sharia principles contradict our culture — as evidenced by the Islamists’ perdurable resistance to assimilation (see, e.g., Europe’s parallel societies).

.. accommodations made to Islamists in places where we have no choice but to deal with them are not accommodations that should be made here at home. On our turf, sharia principles contradict our culture — as evidenced by the Islamists’ perdurable resistance to assimilation (see, e.g., Europe’s parallel societies).