Rudy Giuliani: Why Can't We Threaten Michael Cohen's Father-In-Law, Is This America Or What?
What's a little witness intimidation when you're already ass-deep in crimes, right? Just add it to the tab! Because if you can't indict a sitting president, then why shouldn't Donald Trump get on the Twitterphone and broadcast conspiracy theories about Michael Cohen's family to his army of trolls and gun nuts in a transparent attempt to stop him testifying before Congress? Have at it, dude!
We were joking, asshole!
After a weekend where the president's lawyer took to CNN to accuse Michael Cohen's father of belonging to the Ukrainian mafia, Michael Cohen has unsurprisingly decided not to testify before Congress after all, citing multiple threats by Trump and Rudy Giuliani to his family. Cohen's friend Donny Deutch reports that the family may be in real, physical danger from Trump and his cronies.
Trump has been going out of his way to remind Cohen exactly what he is capable of, for months. Last week he shrieked to his emotional support howler monkey Jeanine Pirro that Cohen "should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at." He suggested to
Fox that people are saying Cohen only plead guilty "to keep his wife out of trouble." And if that wasn't clear enough, he dispatched Rudy Giuliani to smear Cohen's father-in-law Fima Shusterman on Jake Tapper's show, which is hello, totally fine because HE'S UKRAINIAN!
TAPPER: So, it's OK to go after the father-in-law?
GIULIANI: Now -- now, of course it is, if the father-in-law is a criminal. And the Southern District of New York, in the plea, wanted him to go to jail and said he's lying. They don't buy the special counsel's approach. They say he's lying because he's holding back information that is far more damaging than the lies that he is sharing with them now. Now, what is that information about?
Now, let's be clear here. Giuliani may well be right that Cohen refused to testify to SDNY about tax fraud in his family's taxi medallion business. Or he may be wrong -- he's guessing, same as everyone else. But even if Cohen had refused to testify against his father-in-law, it would still be wildly inappropriate for the chief law enforcement officer in the land to threaten the family of a witness against him with criminal prosecution.
GIULIANI: It's about his father-in-law. We talked about Ukrainians. His father-in-law is a Ukrainian.
TAPPER: That's not a crime.
GIULIANI: His father-in-law has millions and millions -- of course it's not. I'm telling you, he comes from the Ukraine. This reason that is important is, he may have ties to something called organized crime.
TAPPER: Because he's Ukrainian?
GIULIANI: Michael Cohen is refusing -- well, there's an organized crime group in Ukraine, organized crime group in Russia.
TAPPER: Organized crime everywhere, organized crime in Brooklyn, organized crime in the Bronx. I mean, you know, that -- that -- I think that's making the leap.
GIULIANI: Oh, well, that's OK. He can have ties to organized crime. They can have bank fraud. That's just fine. When somebody testifies against your client, you go out, and you look at what's wrong with them. Why are they doing it, if they're not telling the truth?
People who live in glass houses full of Ukrainian oligarchs who use a straw man to buy tickets to Trump's inauguration party and then threaten the seller with bodily harm because they got shitty seats should definitely not throw stones.
There's organized crime in Russia and Ukraine? YOU DON'T FUCKIN' SAY! That's probably why Robert Mueller is currently investigating the dozens of shady Ukrainians who showed up at Trump's inauguration.
Maybe Rudy Giuliani, who traveled to Ukraine, Russia, and Armenia multiple times in the past year to visit his clients, would like to elaborate on organized crime in the former Soviet Union. We're sure he could shed quite a bit of light on the issue of oligarchs expropriating state assets for their own personal enrichment. But we digress.
TAPPER: I'm just questioning whether it's appropriate for the president to single out a private citizen whose son-in-law...
GIULIANI: It is to defend him...
TAPPER: OK. Well, you...
GIULIANI: He's not a private citizen. He's a private citizen lying about him, trying to get him impeached.
TAPPER: No, the father -- I'm talking about the father-in-law.
GIULIANI: And I'm defending him.
Hey we just remembered this hilarious story about Rudy Giuliani's own father, who was a mob enforcer who spent a year and a half in Sing Sing for
armed robbery. But you were saying, Mister Mayor?
GIULIANI: That's a -- that's -- the father-in-law, we happen to know -- and just go read the Southern District report. [...] The man was involved in criminal activity with Michael Cohen.
TAPPER: That's all...
GIULIANI: And Michael Cohen is withholding it, because to testify about that would be very dangerous to the father-in-law and Michael Cohen. [...] And, instead, he's going after the president, which the special counsel and all the liberals are applauding him for.
TAPPER: Mayor Giuliani thank you for your time.
GIULIANI: That's what is going on. That is a defense to a criminal accusation. And, if we can't do that, we're not in America.
If a lawyer can't make unsubstantiated, scurrilous accusations to discourage a witness from testifying against his client, and if the client can't use his position as the chief law enforcement officer in the country to publicly suggest that the witness's family is corrupt, then WE'RE NOT AMERICA.
Oh, Rudy, you're so 2018! Get with the times, man. There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Elijah Cummings. (And Adam Schiff, and Maxine Waters, and Jerry Nadler, and RIchard Neal.) And oh, lookie here the Senate Intel Committee just dropped a subpoena on Michael Cohen summoning him to testify next month. How long until the Messrs. Cummings and Schiff follow Richard Burr's lead? Turns out crime doesn't pay!
STAY IN SCHOOL, KIDS!
[An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Michael Cohen was subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee. Wonkette regrets the error and will spend the afternoon doing Maoist self-criticisms.]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.