The legendary former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, is to join President Trump’s team as a legal adviser.
This has thrown people into a tizzy. What does it signify?
For anti-Trumpers, it apparently signals that the End is finally Nigh. If President Trump has called in his long-term friend, the arch-fixer Giuliani, it can only mean that panic has now set in over the Mueller investigation and Trump is heading for impeachment.
For Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, it signifies that the End is Nigh… but for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump’s putative nemesis as the head of the inquiry into claims of Team Trump/Russia collusion to fix the 2016 presidential election.
My guess is that the second of these scenarios is nearer the mark. It’s not just because Trump’s enemies have been calling for his impeachment pretty well from the moment he took office and declaring it to be a done deal almost ever since that day. It’s because the evidence that’s stacking up is not stacking up against Trump but against his enemies.
As the Wall Street Journal demonstrates today in a brutally forensic editorial, despite the drooling anticipation that former FBI director James Comey would deliver a devastating blow in his newly published memoirs things didn’t work out quite as planned. Comey did indeed deliver a devastating blow – but to himself.
He didn’t just reveal himself to be catty and spiteful, thus calling his judgment into question on that score alone. Much more important, he failed to reveal anything of significance against Donald Trump. Instead, he merely succeeded in raising numerous questions about the probity of his own behaviour in leaking material to the media. And he further undermined the purported reason for appointing a special counsel in the first place.
As an own goal, Comey’s performance over the past week has been a spectacular success.
A further blow to Trump’s enemies was delivered by the Justice Department inspector general. He decided to refer to the top federal prosecutor in DC for consideration of criminal charges the finding that the former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators examining a leaks of sensitive information to the media. The issue here, according to former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, is nothing less than an attempt to rig the election for Hillary Clinton.
It would therefore seem a bit of a stretch to assume that President Trump is succumbing to panic. One might more reasonably assume he would have difficulty curbing his glee. So in these circumstances, what does his appointment of Giuliani signify?
Giuliani’s role is reportedly “to help deal with the ongoing special counsel investigation”. Giuliani, who says strikingly that he thinks he can wrap up the investigation in a couple of weeks, has also said:
“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller”.
Now the suggestion that this whole Mueller inquiry can be wrapped up before the end of this month may be a pile of garbage. And maybe this typically sour assessment, that the Giuliani hiring is a sign of desperation, is correct.
But that would mean Giuliani is a mug – moreover, a mug so reckless with his own reputation he cannot perceive what to Trump’s enemies is the unchallengeable fact that he hasn’t got a leg to stand on and that anyone stupid enough to associate with him will crash and burn too.
Is it likely that Giuliani, the most successful mayor of modern times, really is that stupid?
My guess is that, given the meltdown of the case against Trump, the President realises there’s now an opportunity to draw a line underneath it in a way that allows Mueller to walk away with dignity.
The key is Giuliani’s profession of “high regard” for Mueller. But why should Trump want to give Mueller a relatively painless exit?
Because if it is the case – as it must surely seem to anyone who’s not an anti-Trump hysteric – that the Russian collusion case against Donald Trump is not only disintegrating but is turning into a boomerang heading straight for the Democratic party and their patsies in the justice system, then Trump’s big prize is not Mueller but the people who steered him into position as their forward big gun and then set about weaponising the lazy, complicit and ideologically corrupted media as his all-too willing warriors against truth and justice.
In other words, Giuliani is perhaps being brought in to move the Trump presidency in an orderly and seemly fashion from defence into offence – and finally start draining that swamp of its putrefaction.