Rudy Giuliani made two TV appearances this morning, one on Fox and one on CNN. Both are pretty convoluted and a bit hard to follow. So they’ve led to various interpretations. But there’s what I believe is one pretty big admission that is at least very new to me and I think a pretty big problem for Trump and Giuliani.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, one of the oddities of Giuliani’s rolling defense of Trump in response to Cohen’s accusations is this: Giuliani says that the meeting where Trump allegedly learned about the Russia meeting never happened and he (Giuliani) has talked to the participants and they agree it never happened and Trump didn’t attend the meeting or know about the Russian offer. Now, there’s sort of a problem here. Cohen never said just what meeting he was referring to. And how can you be a witness to a meeting that never happened about what was said in that meeting?
This makes no sense. But from the start, I’ve had the sense that Giuliani does know specifically what Cohen is talking about but is denying the specifics.
Now let’s get to what Giuliani said this morning. In a back and forth with CNN’s Alisyn Carmerota, he appears to say that two days before the meeting with the Russian lawyer there was a planning meeting to prepare for that meeting. This prep meeting would have been on June 7th, 2016. Giuliani says that meeting included Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates and others.
This is going to be a pretty problematic admission for Rudes and Trump. I'll explain in a moment. pic.twitter.com/fQkeMjdXVa
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 30, 2018
Now, I’ve had some off the grid moments in the last ten days. But I don’t think I’d ever heard of this planning meeting. If nothing else, it suggests that the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date. And then there’s Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy. As we know, Gates is now a cooperating witness. Big problem for the Trump Team, if he was at such a planning meeting.
Giuliani’s key aim throughout is to insist that Trump was not in that meeting. He seems to allow that Cohen was in the meeting, just that Cohen’s lying about Trump’s presence. But that point (Cohen’s presence) is less clear to me. Again, watch the video.
The other point is the date: June 7th. That’s the date when Trump made that primary election night victory speech where he teased his upcoming anti-Hillary speech where he’d reveal a bunch of new dirt on Hillary, a speech that ended up never happening.
What Giuliani appears to be saying is that earlier that day the top people in Trump’s campaign had a planning meeting to prep for the dirt meeting with the Russians two days later. This is hardly surprising. But it lines up perfectly with what many have long suspected: that Trump was so excited about the dirt his campaign was going to receive from Russia two days later that he couldn’t help but brag about it in public that night.