Whatever else might be said of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor does not suffer from excessive timidity. And there he was again on Sunday, sitting in the glare of television lights, publicly counterpunching on behalf of his latest client, the president of the United States.
Asked by George Stephanopoulos if Donald Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen had paid off women besides the porn star Stormy Daniels, Rudy gave an answer guaranteed to provoke further questions.
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“If it was necessary,” he said.
Honestly, it was the only possible answer for an advocate like Rudy and a client like Trump — assertive-sounding, noncommittal, delivered with heavy spice of duh!
God only knows who might pop up next!
Rudy’s been forced to clean up last week’s mess, when he conceded to Sean Hannity that Trump repaid Cohen’s $130,000 in Stormy hush money and did it, at least in part, with an eye on Election Day.
Not only did that paint Rudy’s client as a liar, it also conceded a key charge of the critics — that, of course, Stormy’s claim represented a potentially devastating land mine.
That’s what Rudy was getting at in the early hours of the mop-up on Thursday morning when he declared: “Imagine if that came out on October 15 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton. Cohen made it go away. He did his job.”
This might not have been helpful, but it was undeniably true.
In Washington, as the brilliant Michael Kingsley once famously said, a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.
And that’s the real squeeze Rudy Giuliani is in. If he admits the obvious, he hurts his client. If he doesn’t, he loses credibility.
So he’s walking down a narrow corridor and bumping against both sides.
As far as Trump testifying in front of Robert Mueller’s grand jury, Rudy found his only sanctuary in sarcasm.
“I’m going to walk him into a prosecution for perjury like Martha Stewart?”
The answer was an obvious no.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the author of a dozen books including “TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join Ellis on Twitter @henican.