How Many Ways Can Rudy Giuliani Step On A Rake?
In today's episode of All the President's Lawyers (Are Crazy), we ponder the deep questions. How can Rudy Giuliani be so bugfuck insane? Is there mercury in his denture adhesive? And will poor John Dowd ever recover his faculties, or will his service in Trumpland leave him permanently frozen in a state of slapstick incompetence? (Let's leave the latest foolishness in the McGahn fiasco for later today -- there's only so much WTF we can fit in one post.)
Like a kid set loose in nuclear plant, The Very Stable Genius spent yesterday bragging that he has THE POWER to push all the buttons. He's going to revoke security clearances for Bruce Ohr and Phil Mudd, just like he did for John Brennan, and you can't stop him so there!
And he hopes John Brennan does sue him for canceling his security clearance without due process, because then he's going to depose that guy SO HARD.
Cool story, bro! But the CIA already has all Brennan's "records, texts, emails and documents." And presumably his files are intact, since no one's ever accused John Brennan of being a paper-eating freakshow. (And not to nitpick, dude, but the CIA director had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.)
If Brennan did try to sue, he'd probably lose. For a detailed explanation, listen to this excellent Lawfare podcast with Bradley Moss. Or just take our word for it! A rational lawyer would say something like, "It's settled law that clearance decisions are political questions, and as such are unreviewable, on both substantive and procedural grounds." Then everyone would go to sleep, because that shit is just boring. But Rudy Giuliani is not a rational lawyer.
Is he ... is he suggesting that the Justice Department would be represented in such a lawsuit by two private-practice attorneys who between them boast an impressive zero years of national security law experience?
Later Giuliani clarified his remarks to the New York Times.
He said a deposition of Mr. Brennan, conducted by himself and Jay Sekulow, another of Mr. Trump's lawyers, could go on for hours — "maybe longer than McGahn's testimony," Mr. Giuliani said, a reference to the 30 hours that Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, has talked to the special counsel in the Russia investigation.
Not that they're thinking about whatever McGahn told Bob Mueller! Don't you worry about that! Absolutely no one in the White House is losing his shit, LOL!
Also, Rudy was just joking, DUH.
Asked whether his taunting tweet directed at Mr. Brennan was a joke, Mr. Giuliani said: "Of course it is. I don't take the threat of the lawsuit seriously, so my statements aren't serious."
But if Brennan does sue the president in his personal capacity, Rudy and Jay are standing by ready to do battle with the guy who took out bin Laden! Sure Robert Mueller is circling the White House like a shark, CREW is filing a new emoluments case every month, and Trump is getting sued by both Stormy Daniels and Summer Zervos. So what's one more lawsuit, right? BRING IT ON!
Movin' on to John Dowd, former lawyer for the Russia investigation, who has managed to violate campaign finance law by making excessive contributions to the Trump campaign FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR, as reported by the Post. Only the best people!
Let's back up and point out that the number $2,700 is etched into the minds of every person in DC, down to the panhandlers in Farragut Square. (Very slight exaggeration.) That's the maximum contribution allowed for any candidate during a single campaign cycle. It's the reason PACs exist -- so people who've already given an individual candidate $2,700 for the primary and another $2,700 for the general can continue to exercise their FREE SPEECH rights by dumping infinity dollars into "independent" political groups who most certainly do not coordinate with the campaigns. Thanks, John Roberts!
So how the hell did John Dowd, who spent decades of his career in a place governed by the iron law of $2,700, wind up donating $6,400 this year to the Committee to Reelect the President?
Well, maybe he was running the world's stupidest scam, sending in $3,000 in March, and then another $3,400 in April and May. But the FEC flagged the overages, and the campaign dutifully sent back the money with a notice saying, "Mr. Dowd, we've been through this before." Or words to that effect. So maybe the more logical explanation is that Dowd lost his damn mind (and his reputation) working for the Trump administration, and some shit just stays broken.
In any event, these are the lawyers telling Donald Trump what he can and cannot do. We're being governed by an incompetent lunatic, whose advisers are all lunatic incompetents.
Which you already knew, of course! So let's ease into the morning with a little game of Spot the Fuck Up, featuring Rudy G and his batshit legal stylings. Holler in the comments when you see it!
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