Rudy Guliani yesterday called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “step in” on the Cohen investigation. Guliani, now serving on President Trump’s legal defense team, argued that Sessions should intervene in the investigation of Michael Cohen, and investigate the investigators.
“I am waiting for the Attorney General to step in, in his role as defender of justice, and put these people under investigation,” said Guiliani.
Rudy G made this statement in response to reports that Michael Cohen’s phones had been wiretapped by investigators. Guiliani objected to these reports -which were later significantly corrected- because he said they would be a violation of attorney-client privilege.
The story about the Cohen wiretap was later retracted by NBC, who issued a correction stating that the monitoring of Cohen’s phones was not a full wiretap, but only a log of his incoming and outgoing calls, which is called a “pen register”.
This is still a big deal, of course, but it seems unlikely that investigators actually were listening in on Cohen’s phone calls.
In any case, Guiliani’s statements on the issue are revealing. Acting in his capacity as Trump’s lawyer, the former New York mayor called for the top official in the Justice Department to intervene in an ongoing investigation into the conduct of the U.S. president. (A case which Sessions has wisely recused himself from, as it so happens.)
If Jeff Sessions were to take Rudy’s advice and finally step into the whole Mueller investigation, it could spell the doom of the Trump administration.
Because any action by Sessions against the special council or the Russia investigation would immediately be seen as a political move. An attempt to obstruct justice for purely political motives.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether Trump or Cohen or anyone did or didn’t do anything illegal. What matters is whether or not Sessions or Trump step in to prevent investigators from doing their jobs.
Because in cases like these it’s extremely rare that investigators are able to prove that the initial crime actually took place. Instead, investigators usually try to nab their marks for charges that are peripheral to the original crime. Destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, these are all much easier to prove, especially in political cases like this, because they usually happen in the public eye.
Were Jeff Sessions to intervene on President Trump’s behalf, it really could be legally and politically devastating for the current administration. Rudy Guliani’s demands for Jeff Sessions to “step in”, then, are profoundly bad legal advice for the Trump administration.
Guiliani also (perhaps unintentionally) blew up the Trump team’s denials about the Stormy payout situation. Trump has consistently denied that he knew anything about Michael Cohen’s payments to Stormy, and Cohen has said that the hush-money for the pornstar came out of his own pocket.
But yesterday, before he begged Jeff Sessions to intervene in the Cohen investigation, Rudy Guiliani appeared in an interview with Sean Hannity. In this interview, Rudy told Hannity that Trump had repaid Cohen the cost of the hush-money over the course of several months, seemingly indicating that Trump knew about, and possibly even ordered, Cohen’s payout to Stormy. This bombshell was delivered with smooth indifference by ol’ Rudy G, in a way that has many observers questioning whether it was intentional at all.
If it was, well. It’s unsurprising but certainly pretty damning evidence that Trump has been lying all along about the Stormy situation.
But if Guiliani let the info slip accidentally, that’s not good for his future on Trump’s defense team. Combined with his bad advice to Jeff Sessions, it seems that Rudy may have put both feet in his big mouth over the last few days.