Sunday, June 03, 2018


Rudy Giuliani has had quite a day. There was this:
In an interview Sunday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," Rudy Giuliani discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of whether the president may have tried to obstruct justice in the probe of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

When Stephanopoulos asked if the president has the power to pardon himself, Giuliani said he "probably does."
And this:
The president’s legal team is “leaning toward not” recommending he participate in an interview with the group investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Rudy Giuliani, a member of the team, said Sunday....
And now this:
... President Donald Trump’s lawyer says Trump could shoot the FBI director in the Oval Office and still not be prosecuted for it.

“In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday, claiming a president’s constitutional powers are that broad. “I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.”

Giuliani said impeachment was the initial remedy for a president’s illegal behavior ― even in the extreme hypothetical case of Trump having shot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russia investigation rather than just firing him.

“If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day,” Giuliani said. “Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
Forget Mike Pence -- Rudy Giuliani is basically Donald Trump's vice president now. Think about the traditional Republican vice president -- Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew. In most recent Republican administrations, the vice president is the enforcer, the guy who goes out there and roughs up the enemy. He's the one who accuses political opponents of bad faith and moral bankruptcy, while fighting the culture war.

Agnew attacked the press. Quayle attacked Hollywood. Cheney attacked critics of the Iraq War and torture. Giuliani attacks law enforcement -- which, in the era of Trump, is considered part of the vast left-wing conspiracy, just like Hollywood, the press, and war skeptics.

Ronald Reagan didn't have an attack-dog VP because he was his administration's lead culture warrior. The Bushes wanted to seem above the culture-war fray, so they mostly left the fight to their veeps. Richard Nixon is more like Trump -- he was a culture warrior on his own, so it's not immediately clear why he needed a surrogate to fight for him. But Nixon's posture as president was that he was a reluctant culture warrior -- he was trying to do the people's business in a statesmanlike manner and all these damn hippies and other assorted malcontents kept dragging him (and America!) down into the mud.

Trump hasn't quite adopted that posture -- he still fights the culture war every day on Twitter, and he still gives red-meat campaign speeches -- but he wants us to think he's pivoting to statesmanship, or at least he would if those awful haters would only let him.

So Rudy is Trump's Agnew. Let's hope this ends more or less the same way that administration did.

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