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Trump Sabotaged by His Own Lawyer
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In the past week, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, now the chief lawyer and principal spokesman for President Donald Trump’s legal team, has offered arguments more harmful to Trump than helpful. In a series of combative, disjointed and logically challenged television rants, Giuliani has essentially argued that Trump did not engage in any conspiracy with the Russians for them to provide help to his campaign and that even if he did, it wasn’t criminal.

In making this argument, Giuliani has played a word game in which he has effectively created a straw man and then denied it’s real because it’s made of straw. He has done this by avoiding the use of the word “conspiracy,” substituting the word “collusion” and then arguing that there is no crime of collusion and therefore Trump did not commit a crime. This is an argument based on a false premise.

Here is the back story.

When the FBI received word from a former British intelligence source in June 2016 that Russian intelligence agents might be providing assistance to the Trump campaign, it began an investigation of the campaign. After the British source gave the FBI a dossier that alleged salacious behavior by Trump in Moscow in 2013 — behavior he has denied — and purported to corroborate awareness of the behavior by Russian government officials, the FBI used the dossier as part of a presentation to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorized surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Because one of the Trump campaign officials under surveillance, Jeff Sessions, became the attorney general in January 2017, he recused himself from the investigation, and the Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller special counsel to head the investigation independent of the attorney general.

Mueller discovered dozens of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, many of them Russian intelligence agents. Mueller’s grand juries have indicted over two dozen Russians, some Russian intelligence officials, for interfering with the 2016 presidential campaign, and President Trump imposed heavy financial sanctions on many of them.

Mueller also discovered the existence of a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in New York between high-ranking campaign officials and Russian agents. When The New York Times revealed the meeting a year after it took place, the Trump folks claimed that the meeting was about the difficulties Americans were having adopting Russian children. Then emails emerged showing an offer to Donald Trump Jr. by a Russian agent to meet and provide help to the campaign in the form of dirt on Hillary Clinton. This was dirt allegedly obtained by hacking into her campaign’s computers. This was an offer that Don Jr. accepted.


The president has denied any knowledge of this meeting until it emerged publicly in July 2017, and Don Jr. has testified under oath before Congress that his father did not know of the meeting until the media revealed it. But last week, Michael Cohen, a lawyer who represented Trump for the 10 years preceding his inauguration and whose office was three doors down a hall from Trump’s, told Mueller and the media that Trump knew of the meeting beforehand and encouraged his campaign folks, including Don Jr., to make it happen.

Is any of this unlawful? That question brings us back to Giuliani.

In Giuliani’s zeal to represent his client, he has unleashed vitriolic verbal attacks on the credibility, morality and ethics of Cohen, using words and innuendo too lurid to recount here. Yet the ferocity of Giuliani’s attacks is now a problem for Trump. That’s because the rules of legal ethics prohibit lawyers from attacking the credibility of likely witnesses against their clients outside the courtroom. This is especially so for government witnesses.

Government witnesses meet with prosecutors and testify before grand juries in secret. When defense counsel attacks those witnesses in public, the government often views that as witness tampering — behavior that gives witnesses pause before testifying by freighting or threatening them. When defense counsel did that to government witnesses in cases that a young Rudy Giuliani prosecuted, he persuaded judges to remove those lawyers from the cases. That is the danger that confronts Giuliani and Trump now.

If Mueller has enough ammo (all of it from Giuliani’s mouth) to persuade a federal judge to bar Giuliani from continuing to represent Trump — and it appears he does — whoever replaces Giuliani will need to review and understand more than 1.4 million documents that the White House and the Trump campaign have surrendered to Mueller. That will be an enormous burden and a major financial, political and legal setback for Trump.

The case Mueller is investigating is not about collusion. Collusion is a Hollywood and a media word. The case is about conspiracy — and Giuliani knows this. A conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime as a result of which at least one of those who agreed took at least one material step in furtherance of the agreement. Stated differently, Mueller is investigating an alleged agreement between Russian intelligence agents and Trump campaign officials for the Russians to provide dirt on Clinton to the campaign. The dirt need not have arrived — and whatever may have arrived need not have been dirt — for the crime of conspiracy to have taken place, because the essence of conspiracy is an agreement, whether consummated or not.

In one of his more bizarre rants on Fox News Channel early this week, Giuliani said there may have been a meeting at Trump Tower to plan the meeting with the Russians. Why would he reveal this? Because Mueller knows it and will reveal it. And both know that such a meeting would be the beginning of an agreement, as well as a material step in furtherance of it.
Sometimes even famous lawyers do more harm than good to their clients.

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Russia 
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  1. D. K. says:

    What CRIME did the Trump campaign CONSPIRE with “Russian agents” to commit, Pat? Receiving “dirt” on one’s political opponent is not a crime; neither is requesting such “dirt,” if the request does not include a demand or suggestion that illegal means (e.g., illegally hacking someone’s server) must or should be used, or at least a reasonable understanding that such illegal means would be necessary, to obtain the “dirt” requested.

    • Replies: @Realist
  2. Arg says:

    Well… hold on a second, “provid[ing] dirt on Clinton” is not necessarily a crime. The actual crime is hacking the DNC, or Clinton’s illegal email server, to provide said dirt. Mueller doesn’t have to show that Trump got information from Russia, he has to show that Trump colluded with Russia to have them hack Clinton’s or the DNC’s emails, provide those emails to his campaign, and also agreed to give the Russian’s something in return.

  3. Hugh says:

    Mueller is investigating an alleged agreement between Russian intelligence agents and Trump campaign officials for the Russians to provide dirt on Clinton to the campaign.

    Mueller would need to find behaviour more egregious than the DNC’s use of a foreign agent to put together a dirty dossier with Russian sourcing.

    This is a high bar indeed.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  4. Hugh says:

    Is this a Buchanan or a Napolitano column? This reader is confused.

  5. It seems to me that a crime involving Trump Sr. only occurred If Trump Jr. knew that the Russians had obtained the information illegally before accepting the information, and that Trump Sr. knew this as well.

    For the Russians merely to have information, for them to offer it to the Trump campaign, and for the Trump campaign to accept it — none of these are crimes. For example, had a disgruntled Democratic staffer offered the information to the Russians, nothing illegal would have occurred. For Trump Sr. to have committed a crime, the Russians would need to have committed an illegal act to obtain the information, and Trump Sr. would have need to have known they did before he accepted the information.

    In any case, as it always seems to be with Trump, it’s a matter of considering the alternative. I don’t want Pence to be President. Therefore, whatever Trump may have done, I don’t want the Senate to convict him of it. I’d rather wait until 2020 and see what my choices are then.

  6. Rational says:


    Good article, Sir.

    The one mistake Trump and his people often make is they talk too much and talk themselves into trouble.

    Guiliani should stay off TV. Trump should stay off twitter.

  7. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    How amusing that Mr. Napolitano’s column has initially been misattributed to Mr. Buchanan. Both are Beltloops when it comes to Russia.

    Mr. Buchanan holds up the Establishment’s pants by obligingly describing Mr. Putin as “authoritarian,” “tyrant,” etc., and with his pronoun propaganda reminding “us” that “our” interests are indistinguishable from those of the people trying to run America and the world from Washington. His better insights have concerned domestic issues, and I still want to think that the Cold War rhetoric is a function of too many years inside the Beltway.

    Mr. Napolitano, though, has been a willful, misleading propagandist. (If anyone around here still doubts that, please look over his columns since last November in the light of my and others’ critical comments.) The forces of his St. Mueller can do wrong; I hope that “Judge” wasn’t this sycophantic when presiding over government prosecutions of people in New Jersey. His slithering “back story” is (re)crafted to maintain public ignorance of how DNC emails were “hacked,” etc., by, for example, focusing on the braying of Mr. Giuliani to the exclusion of the analyses endorsed by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

    Today’s column is of a subset that enshrines Team Mueller as a fourth branch of national government, one that can always refocus on the latest process crime growing organically from contesting what came before. Will FBI agents be raiding Mr. Giuliani’s office to find something else to use? (C. J. Hopkins could update his column of several months back that mocked this aspect of the exercise — it’s since moved to new denials of knowledge, etc.) These columns are his creepiest, indicative of the shameful fact that Americans live under a legal system that can and will crush whoever it needs to, all while giving a pass to the favored for their blatant crimes.

    Mr. Trump’s real sin, of course, has been to rock the gravy train on which Mr. Napolitano’s ilk have been well compensated to keep things rolling along.

    • Replies: @Bubba
    , @voicum
    , @Mr Darcy
  8. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Oh, so that’s what Mr. Mueller is investigating? But the WaPo story sitting in my lap says he “is examining whether the president has sought to block the probe into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.” And now maybe there can be an exploration of the attempt to block the examination of any efforts to impede the investigation….

    Please keep in mind what Mr. Napolitano’s job is. It’s not to explain things to Hugh.

  9. Is it a crime to provide dirt on a political opponent? Or does the political opponent specifically need to be a Clinton (or some other sweetheart of everyone of Napolitano’s ilk)? Did the dirt specifically need to be provided by Russians for the provision of it to count as a crime? I have a hard time believing that this primitive article was written by a judge, not some teenager. Is Nappy senile?

  10. @Arg

    And who is it that sent said agents to the Trump campaign peddling dirt? Oh that’s right the FBI…

  11. Bubba says:

    Mr. Trump’s real sin, of course, has been to rock the gravy train on which Mr. Napolitano’s ilk have been well compensated to keep things rolling along.

    You got that right! And I hope Conservatism, Inc. is dead after this election.

  12. Anonymous[184] • Disclaimer says:

    A guido with Trump Derangement Syndrome gets to sounding as dumb as Snooki.

  13. Realist says:
    @D. K.


    Pat??? Who the hell is Pat?

    • Replies: @D. K.
  14. D. K. says:

    Cf. comment #7, supra.

  15. Several questions:

    1.) Did the Clinton campaign know that there was something going on between Trump and the Russians BEFORE they hired Steele? If so,

    2.) Why didn’t they go to the Justice Department right then and there?

    3.) Who initiated these supposed contacts with the Russians and why? Trump? Or the Russians? If the latter,

    4.) What was it that so concerned them about Trump’s opponent that they would go to such lengths?

    • Replies: @Mr Darcy
  16. voicum says:

    The ‘good freedom watcher’ starts with a set of ‘approved facts’ and constructs his ‘analysis ‘. In other words GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT.

  17. Bliss says:

    Methinks Giuliani is getting revenge on Trump for not giving him the Secretary of State job he wanted so badly.

  18. Mr Darcy says:

    “Well… hold on a second, “provid[ing] dirt on Clinton” is not necessarily a crime. The actual crime is hacking the DNC, or Clinton’s illegal email server, to provide said dirt. Mueller doesn’t have to show that Trump got information from Russia, he has to show that Trump colluded with Russia to have them hack Clinton’s or the DNC’s emails, provide those emails to his campaign, and also agreed to give the Russian’s something in return.”

    But there was no hack. That’s why the DNC refused to turn over the computer to the FBI. And two computer experts (maybe more) have already determined that the so-called “hack” was in fact a download that somebody accomplished with a flash drive from inside the DNC HQ building.

  19. Mr Darcy says:

    Right you are! I’ve been astonished and bitterly disappointed in Napolitano. He turns out not to be who I thought he was. HAs he not even read co-FOX personality Greg Jarrett’s new book??

  20. Mr Darcy says:
    @Prester John

    Good points all. And I keep wondering WHY everybody keeps repeating that Steele got his info “from Russians”? Who says so? Steele? Well, excuse me, but that doesn’t hold a whole lot of water. Don’t liars lie? Isn’t that what makes them liars?

  21. Mr Darcy says:

    Oddly, not long after I posted my reply to you about the alleged “hack” of the DNC HQ computer, I ran across this (cut from an article by Paul Craig Roberts and concerning an interview with William Binney):

    ” [...] William Binney developed the NSA’s spy capability and left the agency over its misuse. In this interview— — you will learn many things, such as the reason that it is strictly impossible that Hillary’s emails were hacked by the Russians or anyone else; they were downloaded on a thumb drive. [...]“

  22. MarkinLA says:

    The problem still is that NOBODY not even Trump will stand up and say this whole Russian meddling hysteria is built on a hoax. Even Trump has to agree about “meddling” what ever that is supposed to mean.

    So if Russian has a new channel like it must rebroadcast American government propaganda or it is meddling in the US? If somebody from Russia challenges something I post on a message board and doesn’t completely agree with US propaganda, that is meddling?

    Notice that nobody gives any real explanation for this meddling and how any of it would work in a society with a supposedly free press and First Amendment. I have seen some nonsense about “messaging” what ever that is.

    I would like to see one talking head (Tucker Carlson does one of your staff read this?) do an in-depth discussion of exactly what all these government charges are and what they really break down into. Maybe, just maybe, people will start to see just what a farce this whole thing is.

    This really is an example of the Emperor’s New Clothes where everybody has to agree the meddling exists, condem it, and vow to fight it. Everybody has to agree Russia is behind it. I guess the people who know this is a farce think that given all this time and all this nothing it would fizzle out on its own. However, we see how long a propagada campaign can go on based on nothing but lies, inuendo, and speculation as long as the media is with you.

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