Is Rudy Giuliani becoming a bigger problem for Donald Trump than Nancy Pelosi? Pelosi is bad enough: she is tying Trump in knots with her refusal to budge on the shutdown, which Trump had assumed she should assist him in shutting down weeks ago. Now she’s dissed him with her acidic letter explaining that it would be best to defer the State of the Union speech, which Trump had counted on using to bludgeon the Democrats, until safety issues related to the shutdown have been resolved.
But on Wednesday night, Giuliani may have delivered an even bigger hammer blow. He explained to CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he ‘never said there was no collusion’ between President Trump and Russia. In fact, he and Trump have repeated this claim with metronomic regularity. Giuliani quickly qualified that Trump himself had never played footsie with the Putin regime: ‘there is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.’ In acknowledging that Trump’s subordinates may have colluded, he directly contradicted the president’s adamantine denials over the past years, including defending his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Perhaps Giuliani was preparing the ground for a strategic retreat to insulate the president from forthcoming revelations. Or maybe he was just off his meds. No matter: almost every day, a spicy new revelation about the shenanigans of the campaign comes to light, whether it’s related to Russia or not. The Wall Street Journal reports that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with a tech executive from a company called RedFinch in early 2015 at Trump Tower and handed him a blue Walmart bag stuffed with about $12,000. For good measure, he included a Brazilian fighter’s boxing glove. The payment was for helping to rig online polls on behalf of Trump. Cohen also asked for a personal favor. He asked the executive to establish a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen that would attest to him as ‘Strong, pit bull, sex symbol, no nonsense, business oriented, and ready to make a difference.’ In a tweet this morning, Cohen said the attempted poll rigging was a mistake: ‘As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.’
Poor Cohen. Clearly, the self-described pit bull has been thoroughly housebroken by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen is scheduled to testify to Congress on February 7, where he can regale lawmakers with further tales of his exploits on behalf of his quondam boss. His behavior further confirms former New Jersey Chris Christie’s description of Trump’s White House as filled with ‘amateurs, grifters, weaklings’ in a forthcoming memoir. The veteran of ‘Bridgegate’ and other escapades is himself no stranger to sordid political maneuverings, but even he seems to be taken aback by the fetid atmosphere of the Trump campaign and administration. Indeed, a new report from the inspector general of the General Services Administration says that the GSA ‘ignored’ apprehensions that Trump’s lease for the Trump International Hotel in Washington was unconstitutional. Next to Trump, Christie was a mere piker when it comes to ripping off the public.
Trump’s response to the shambles of his presidency? He went to an old standby, complete with the obligatory typo, in his tweet this morning, ‘The Left has become totally unhinged. They no longer care what is Right for our Countrty!’ Now that Pelosi has spurned his clumsy political overtures, maybe he’s simply feeling left out.