Thursday, May 3, 2018

With Friends Like These...

I don't know what law school Rudy Giuliani graduated from, but based on his two appearances on Fox News, I'd seriously consider putting in for a refund. Because if the words that came out of his mouth are representative of his legal acumen, Giuliani got ripped off.

In a desperate attempt to help his dear friend Donald Trump, Perry Mason decided to drop by the studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas to enlighten the Mole people on this whole Stormy Daniels controversy. First up on the grand tour was Sean Hannity, who if Trump were to suddenly stop short would need the jaws of life to be extricated from his ass. Giuliani said that not only did Trump know about the payment Michael Cohen made to Daniels - contradicting his former statements on the matter, by the way - he repaid Cohen out of his own funds. Giuliani claimed that there couldn't be any violation of campaign finance law because the campaign was never involved.

The following morning, old motor mouth went on Fox and Friends and doubled down on his claim. Then he added this gem:
Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton. Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He didn’t even ask.
Yes, imagine if that had come out in October BEFORE the election. The American people might've had the opportunity to consider whether they wanted a president who cheated on his wife with a porn star. At least JFK screwed an actual actress.

But while Giuliani may have thought he was doing his "client" a favor, in actuality he may have helped put the final nail in his coffin. That's because the way campaign finance laws are written, it really doesn't matter who loaned the money and who repaid it. At least that's the opinion of George Conway, husband of White House advisor Kelleyanne. He tweeted the following:
"If any person, including a relative or friend of the candidate, gives or loans the candidate money for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office, the funds are not considered personal funds of the candidate even if they are given to the candidate directly. Instead, the gift or loan is considered a contribution from the donor to the campaign, subject to the per-election limit and reportable by the campaign. This is true even if the candidate uses the funds for personal living expenses while campaigning."
So it doesn't matter if Trump repaid Cohen out of his own personal funds. If the original payment to Daniels was made to keep her from talking, that would be a gift or loan to the campaign which would be subject to the same "per-election" limit that governs all donations. And that limit for an individual is $2700. So Cohen violated campaign finance law to the tune of $127, 300.

All in all, a pretty horrendous performance by someone professing to know the law. And we didn't even touch on his comments regarding Russia, in which Rudy ostensibly confirmed that Trump fired James Comey to obstruct the investigation into his campaign.

If you're thinking how ironic it is that a former prosecutor would unwittingly assist in making the case against this president by the current prosecutor and that it would fall to the husband of one of his closest advisors to let us in on how it was done, I would agree. But then we're not exactly talking about overly bright people here. Giuliani actually believes Trump is innocent and Conway for some unknown reason is still married to Kelleyanne.

I wrote in an earlier piece that Michael Cohen could end up being Trump's Monica Lewinski. That now seems a given. What none of us saw coming was that Rudy Giuliani would end up playing Brutus to George Conway's Mark Antony.

As Shakespeare would say, "Oh death where is thy sting?"

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