The Corner

Politics & Policy

Shhhhh, Mr. Mayor

Rudy Giuliani (YouTube screengrab via ABC News)

For almost two years now, I’ve been hearing that unless you think the allegations of collusion are conspiratorial nonsense — or, worse, a Deep State hoax —  you are a conspiracy theorist or an idiot of one variety or another. For instance:

I’ve always been a skeptic about most of the outsized versions of the Russia-collusion narrative put out by the resistance types, but I’ve also been a skeptic of this kind of thing as well. I never thought that it was crazy to think that the Trump campaign wanted to collude with Russia. We’ve known that since the details of the Trump Tower meeting spilled. And we knew Paul Manafort was a scummy Russian remora for a long time. And, the moment the MAGAers started defending Julian Assange as a heroic truth-teller, you knew that someone in that orbit was too chummy with the Russian intelligence cut-out.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the folks who mock and ridicule the collusion theory incorporate Rudy Giuliani’s performance last night:

From the Washington Post’s write up:

“You just misstated my position,” Giuliani said. “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign.”

Cuomo’s face contorted into an expression of disbelief. “Yes, you have,” he shot back.

As recently as July, Giuliani was asked by Fox News contributor Guy Benson, “Regardless of whether collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?”

“Correct,” Giuliani responded at the time.

But on Wednesday, Giuliani appeared to amend his previous comments on the subject.

“I said the president of the United States,” he protested, arguing that he had only ever said Trump himself was not connected to any Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

The president’s attorney has gone from parroting the president’s own declarative positions (“There was no collusion,” “witch hunt,” “hoax” etc.) to, in effect, “Sure, the campaign may have colluded with Russia, but my client has plausible deniability he knew anything about it. And, besides, if he colluded with the Russians he wasn’t president at the time.”

It’s possible Giuliani had too many martinis before he went on CNN. But, even so, you don’t have to be an imbecile to think Giuliani’s not helping.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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