WEATHER AUTHORITY : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Rudy Giuliani's Sunday show appearance was a total disaster

The goal of politicians appearing on Sunday shows is simple: Set the agenda for the week ahead.Rudy G...

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 9:48 AM
Updated: Aug 21, 2018 9:48 AM

The goal of politicians appearing on Sunday shows is simple: Set the agenda for the week ahead.

Rudy Giuliani achieved that -- and then some -- in an appearance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. But the agenda he set was an absolute disaster for the Trump White House. Watching it was the equivalent of watching someone slip on a banana peel on the street -- it's hilarious and sad all at once. You feel bad for laughing but you find yourself laughing anyway. (And then you realize you may just be crying).

Arts and entertainment

Chuck Todd

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Jr.

Eastern Europe

Europe

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Hillary Clinton

Investigations

James Comey

Political Figures - US

Politics

Robert Mueller

Rudy Giuliani

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Television news

Television programming

US federal government

White House

Let's start with Giuliani's seeming attempt to rebut the idea of truth. Here's the back and forth with "MTP" host Chuck Todd -- begun when Todd asks Giuliani why President Donald Trump couldn't simply sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller and tell the full truth:

GIULIANI: And when you tell me that, you know, 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, a conversation --

CHUCK TODD: Truth is truth. I don't mean to go like --

RUDY GIULIANI: No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth. The President of the United States says, "I didn't -- "

What Giuliani is, I think, trying to say is that not everything that Mueller might ask about is a fact. The example he cites is how former FBI Director James Comey has said that Trump asked him to leave off the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn while Trump has insisted no such conversation took place.

"Donald Trump says, 'I didn't talk about Flynn with Comey,'" Giuliani noted. "Comey says, 'You did talk about it,' so tell me what the truth is."

OK, a few things here.

First, the idea that the fact that Trump would describe a meeting with Comey differently than Comey has isn't perjury -- as Giuliani would like you to believe. It's a "he said, he said" -- which happens all the time in a court of law. So the idea that Trump can't talk to Mueller because it's possible he had a differing understanding of what he told Comey is a red herring.

Second, not all "he said, she said" situations are created equal. Comey testified under oath -- in written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee -- that "[Trump] asked what we could do to 'lift the cloud.'" Trump saying -- or tweeting -- that he never mentioned the idea of going easy on Flynn is entirely different. He's not under oath. He can say almost whatever he wants. And Giuliani's assertion that Trump would tell Mueller exactly what he has said publicly is, again, sort of a misdirection. Saying what you would tell the special counsel is not the same thing as actually sitting down with the special counsel.

Third -- and this one feels obvious -- you can't, ever, say "truth isn't truth." That goes double when you are part of an administration that has already used the phrase "alternative facts." And it goes triple when you represent a President who, in the last month, has said "don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. ... What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

Like Todd said, truth is truth. Facts are not up for debate.

Giuliani, clearly being leaned on to fix the mess he made, tweeted out a clarification on Monday morning.

"My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements, the classic 'he said, she said' puzzle," Giuliani tweeted. "Sometimes further inquiry can reveal the truth other times it doesn't." (Say it with me: Perjury isn't "he said, she said.")

If Giuliani had only said "truth isn't truth," that would have been bad enough. But he did more! Way more!

Here's Giuliani and Todd talking about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between the campaign's senior officials and a group of Russians:

GIULIANI: Well, because the meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about, about Clinton. The meeting turned into a meeting --

CHUCK TODD: Which in itself it's attempted collusion. I understand --

RUDY GIULIANI: No it's not.

CHUCK TODD: You just said it. The meeting was intended to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a criminal lawyer.

RUDY GIULIANI: No, it wasn't. No, no.

CHUCK TODD: That was the intention of the meeting, you just said it.

RUDY GIULIANI: That was the original intention of the meeting. It turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all. And, of course, any meeting with regard to getting information on your opponent is something any candidate's staff would take. If someone said, I have information about your opponent, you would take that meeting. If it happens to be a person with a Russian --

CHUCK TODD: From the Russian government?

RUDY GIULIANI: She didn't represent the Russian government, she's a private citizen. I don't even know if they knew she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name.

There's so much here; it's such a rich text.

First: Giuliani says the intention of the meeting was "for the purpose of getting information about, about Clinton." Then, when Todd puts out that such a deal could well amount to collusion, Giuliani say that the meeting was not, in fact, intended to get dirt on Clinton. Uh......so, like, the thing you said literally two sentences ago was not true? This is the new true thing?

OK.

Now onto this claim about what Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner knew going into the meeting. "I don't even know if they knew she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name," Giuliani said of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Nope! In an email from music publicist Rob Goldstone, who was functioning as a liaison for Russian billionaire Aras Alagarov to Don Jr., Goldstone wrote:

"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin."

You could make the argument that Kushner and Manafort might not have known the details of the meeting -- and that it was with Russians -- prior to sitting down. It is impossible to make that argument about Don Jr.

Impossible.

Here's the thing: The sole reason Giuliani is out on these Sunday shows is because the President likes the job he is doing. And we know from lots and lots of evidence that Donald Trump is not terribly concerned with the truth; he is far more interested in his advocates going out and fighting for him.

But even by Trump's odd standards of success, what Giuliani did on Sunday was a total train wreck. Let's see if Trump allows Giuliani to have a do-over. Trump allies should hope he doesn't.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
Lauderdale141592
Neshoba128892
Lamar123115
Bolivar113635
Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
Pearl River55940
Newton54511
Tallahatchie54111
Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 99°
Columbus
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 102°
Oxford
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather