It's hard to remember that before he became a full-time resident of the Upside-Down, Rudy Giuliani was regarded as "the hottest political property in the country".
For his work as Mayor of New York City following the events of September 11th, Giuliani earned the respect of the nation, but since then, he has slowly burnt up whatever goodwill it gave him. Whether it was his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2008, claiming Obama didn't "love America," or openly shilling for Donald Trump as a member of his so-called "legal team" in the ongoing Russia investigation, Giuliani has disgraced himself and wrecked whatever legacy he may have had.
This morning, in an interview with Meet the Press's Chuck Todd, Giuliani gave us another glimpse into the raging hellscape that is his mind.
Yesterday's revelation that White House lawyer Don McGahn has been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller appeared to have set Giuliani in a tizzy, as many of his answers regarding what we know about the extent of Trump's collusion made no sense and could be easily refuted. Complaining repeatedly about the length of the Mueller investigation, he asked, "If they [the special counsel] kind of evidence that there was collusion or there was obstruction don’t you think they would have leaked it?" When Todd pointed out that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was evidence of collusion, Giuliani insisted it wasn't:
TODD: How is it not?
GIULIANI: Becuase the meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton...
TODD: Which in itself is attempted collusion!
GIULIANI: No it's not!
Giuliani clarified what he meant by this a few moments later, explaining that because the Trump campaign got none of the opposition research on Clinton they were promised, then the meeting did not represent collusion. This kind of reasoning would get him an F in law school. As Mother Jones reporter David Corn told me in our interview a few months ago:
"Imagine that you’re standing in front of a bank where there’s a robbery, but you’re told that there’s no robbery going on. If people walking by ask you what’s going on, and you tell them that there’s no robbery, you are aiding and abetting the bank robbers even if you haven’t conspired to do that with them."
This analogy proves that the Trumps intended to collude with Russia when they went into the meeting, even though they came out of it with nothing. However, Giuliani couldn't even get the facts of the meeting straight, as he insisted to Todd moments later that lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya not only didn't represent the Russian government but also that Trump Junior and his cohorts didn't even know she was Russian when they set it up. The emails Junior released last summer prove him wrong on both counts: in them, Veselnitskaya is identified as a "Russian government attorney." This makes me wonder if, in addition to flunking out of law school, Giuliani would also fail reading comprehension.
But the most disturbing moment of the interview came about nine minutes in, when Todd badgered his subject over why the President wouldn't consent to an interview with Mueller. As Giuliani weaseled his way through an answer, he unintentionally created the catchphrase which defines this whole sordid presidency:
GIULIANI: I’m not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth. He didn’t have a conversation—
TODD: Truth is truth.
GIULIANI: No, it isn’t truth! Truth isn’t truth! The President of the United States says “I didn’t”—
TODD (smiting his forehead): "Truth isn’t truth." Mr. Mayor, do you realize what you—
GIULIANI: No, no no!
TODD: This is going to become a bad meme...Don’t do "truth isn’t truth" to me!
It feels cliched at this point to call this Orwellian, but Giuliani and the administration he serves have done more to strike out against truth than any in the country's history. Like 1984's government of Oceania, "what you're seeing and what you're hearing isn't really what's happening." The truth comes second to the spin that they want, facts be damned.