Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani ricocheted back into the headlines Sunday, making a stunning pronouncement: “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
How did we get here? How did the ever changing, often not-comprehensible utterances of a once great mayor progress all the way to the assertion that taking information from a foreign entity during an American campaign is above-board?
Here’s a timeline of Giuliani’s evolution on the Russia collusion question:
“I have been sitting here trying to find collusion as a crime. Collusion is not a crime. Everything that’s been released so far finds the President absolutely innocent. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
Giuliani said this on Fox and Friends on July 30, 2018. Questioning the criminality of collusion was one of Giuliani’s earliest tactics after his hiring to Trump’s legal team, and one that frequently confused observers. Even if it’s factually true, it still makes it look like Giuliani is hiding some kind of chicanery.
That was Giuiani’s response to a question posed by Fox News’ Guy Benson on July 30, 2018: “Regardless of whether collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?”
“I mean that just — four months, they are not going to be colluding about Russians which I’m not — I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians.”
Giuliani pivots back from “no collusion” to “is collusion even a crime?” in the blink of an eye, after shortly entertaining Benson’s assertion that it is illegal.
“I know that collusion is not a crime. It was over with by the time of the election.”
Here, Giuliani’s getting more confident about the collusion isn’t a crime thing. He said this as part of a wide-ranging interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on December 16, 2018.
“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign.”
This came as part of a heated exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on January 17 of this year. This statement is not only in clear contradiction to his own words, it also runs counter to President Donald Trump’s constant refrain. Giuliani tried to clean this up later by saying that he previously meant that only Trump definitely did not collude.
“The reality is, the question now is, if there was no evidence of collusion, three investigations, no evidence of collusion — who made it up? It had to come from somewhere. It didn’t just come out of thin air. I want to know who did it, who paid for it, who fueled it. Because the person who did it and the group that did it knows it’s untrue because they invented it.”
After a few months on the bench, Giuliani was back with aplomb, spouting a conspiracy theory in response to Attorney General Barr’s summary of the Mueller report.
Giuliani seems to spout conspiracy theory about who was paid to bring up accusations of collusion in the first place pic.twitter.com/qAByc0QG5e
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) March 25, 2019
That brings us to the present.
As a bonus, here’s Giuliani’s prediction of his gravestone inscription from a few months back, for anyone who forgot.
“I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump,'” Giuliani said. “Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter.”