Rudy Giuliani Clarifies His Priorities as Trump's Legal Adviser

He is "focused on the law more than the facts right now"

Rudy Giuliani just keeps on talking. Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Despite an acknowledgement from President Trump on Friday that Rudy Giuliani has yet to "get his facts straight" and that it's best to "learn before you speak," the former New York City mayor seemed to spend the weekend in front of just about every camera he could find. Following a Saturday night sit-down with Judge Jeanine Pirro, Giuliani continued to make the rounds on Sunday in an effort to fix his story regarding the Stormy Daniels payment. Emblematic of the doublespeak that has characterized his latest reentry into the political limelight, Giuliani offered up this gem to CNN:

"I haven't been able to read the 1.2 million documents," he told the network over the phone. "I am focused on the law more than the facts right now. A couple of things were fairly easy to dispose of. The whole situation of the $130,000 doesn't require an analysis of the facts because it wasn't intended as a campaign contribution. It was intended as a personal, embarrassing, harassing claim."

But as is true of most legal cases, this is indeed a situation that has required an analysis of the facts, most of which are unknown, both to the public and, apparently, to Giuliani, who has repeatedly contradicted himself since telling Sean Hannity last Wednesday night that Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen the $130,000 paid to silence Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election. Trump's new lawyer also doesn't seem to have a very solid grasp of the law on which he says he is so focused, as Rolling Stone noted last week.

Giuliani's chat with CNN came shortly after a "mostly social visit" with Trump at the president's golf club in Virginia. Giuliani said Trump was in "a good mood and feels like things are moving in the right direction." Nevertheless, the president spent Monday morning continuing to beat the Witch Hunt drum on Twitter.

The reference to "13 Angry Democrats" is a play off comments Trump made last Friday in which he described Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team as "real Democrats, angry Democrats" in an effort to discredit the investigation as biased. Mueller, who was appointed FBI director by George W. Bush, has long been a Republican, and the FBI and the greater law enforcement community historically lean Republican.

Trump dialed up his attacks on Mueller's investigation last week following a Washington Post report that during a March meeting with Trump's legal team, Mueller raised the possibility of subpoenaing the president should he refuse to be questioned voluntarily. A day prior to the report's release, the New York Times published a list of 49 leaked questions that Trump's legal team surmised Mueller could ask the president should a meeting occur. Opinion has varied as to whether the president's executive privilege could thwart a subpoena.

Giuliani didn't seem worried when asked about the prospect on Sunday. "He's the president of the United States. We can assert the same privileges other presidents have," he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week, adding that "we don't have to" comply if Mueller were to subpoena Trump.

Giuliani also told Stephanopolous that his client could plead the Fifth to avoid incriminating himself. "How can I ever be confident of that?" Giuliani replied when asked if the president wouldn't take the Fifth Amendment. "When I'm facing a situation with the president ... in which every lawyer in America thinks he would be a fool to testify, I have a client who wants to testify," he added, a reference to Trump's repeated insistence that he would love to testify so long as he is treated fairly.

Agreeing to testify and then taking the Fifth may wind up being the most prudent course of action for Trump, but if we are to believe his comments during the 2016 campaign, the president would never do such a thing. "The mob takes the Fifth," Trump once said. "If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

Michael Cohen has already said that he will assert his Fifth Amendment privilege in response to any questioning he may face regarding the investigation.