As I have written dozens of times in this space over the span of these 20 years, Rudolf William Louis Giuliani is by far the best politician of my lifetime, certainly in the time I have covered politics. He said if he were elected mayor he would clean up the cesspool of violence, crime and degradation that was New York City, bring back businesses and all that. He was elected in 1993 and he did. I was there the night he defeated David Dinkins; crammed into the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue across from the Ziegfeld Theater around two in the morning, the returns rolling in slowly, and then it was over. Giuliani, looking haggard but defiant with his 50.7 percent of the vote, said the usual shit about law and order, as those of us in press row laughed. Oh, how we laughed. Clean up New York City?
Back then Donald Trump was a whore real estate junkie, and also a Democrat. His only stumble into politics was his full page Daily News ad calling for the hanging of the Central Park Five, all of whom were eventually found not guilty for raping a woman in 1989. It seemed like a pathetically transparent grandstand by another vacuous celebrity who knew nothing about the facts but needed to “weigh in”, a kneejerk reaction that he thought would play well as the tough guy to whatever suckers he was trying to roll somewhere on the island of Manhattan. In other words, Classic Donald Trump.
Back then Giuliani was the voice of the law in the most powerful legal team in the nexus of American street justice in the Southern District of New York, busting Wall St. fraud and mobsters. He was fond of referring to The Donald, as we called him back then, as a “two-bit hustler” around the main office building downtown. He said it more than once to one of his rising stars, James Comey, because Uncle Rudy (as I started dubbing him eventually) had no use for Donald Trump and lord knows any officer of the law busting money men for fraud was no ally of Trump’s.
But in 2016, there was no one more vociferous cheerleader for Donald Trump’s campaign for president than Rudy Giuliani, Mr. 9/11, America’s Mayor and a FOX News regular. No one could figure it out. Everyone in the know had a ton of stories of Giuliani openly mocking Trump as far back as when Uncle Rudy pulled out of a race against Hillary Clinton for NY Senate in 2000, when Trump dumped millions into a winning Clinton campaign. Four years later, the Clintons would be there to celebrate Trumps’ third marriage.
Even when Trump was reeling from the Access Hollywood tape a month before Election Day, Giuliani ran to any microphone he could find — one of the great quips of the 1990s around the press corps for years was “The most dangerous place in New York is between Rudy Giuliani and a hot mic” — to defend the candidate. He then began showing up to Trump’s rabid rallies, firing up the crowd with demented, almost fascistic nonsense that many considered the final nails in the credibility of a man who once spent $3.6 million to gather one delegate for an ill-fated run for president in 2008.
It was, in the end, vengeance for Uncle Rudy, who despised Hillary Clinton more than he could stomach standing next to Trump, who he knew was a corrupt liberal phony, who would likely destroy the Republican Party before he would get a niff at the White House. Clinton, as Uncle Rudy recalls it, mocked his pulling out of the 2000 rumble for senate because of health reasons as some kind of wimpy slink away. He did not forget it and he went hard after her, accusing her of every known crime since the dawn of civilization.
And then Giuliani did something quite interesting. He went on FOX News and started telling everyone that he had it cold from deep sources inside the FBI that the Hillary email stuff was not over. “Big news,” he grinned like the Cheshire Cat a day or so before his old buddy, James Comey re-opened the investigation publicly and to this day is cited (wrongly, mind you) in the half-assed liberal excuse-mill as the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton. However, it was another appearance on the goofy “news’ channel that eventually alerted the FBI that something funky was going on within the Trump campaign and Wikileaks and the Russian government when Giuliani again promised more bad news for his enemy. He knew, he said, that the Russians had Clinton emails and soon they will be released.
Trump, for his part, went on television that night and begged the Russian government to steal more Clinton emails. This, and not the alleged dossier and all the other Trump excuse-mill crap, was what put the tail on Trump that consequently led to Comey’s firing, the recusal of the Attorney General on the Russia case and the appointment of the special counsel.
James Comey, you may have heard, has laid this entire timeline out in his new book that doesn’t need any further publicity — if I see Comey’s mug on my TV again I may throw up. Suffice to say, within days of the Comey run on all-things media, Giuliani decided to “get involved”. He is now part of the crumbling, bumbling, completely ineffectual Trump Legal Team that has been unable to control its client. And there really isn’t any reason to ask why.
Before the Comey book release, Trump’s private lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has been his “fixer” for decades, was raided and picked up by the FBI with, allegedly reams of material that no one with half a brain doesn’t think is loaded with criminal activity, suddenly tossing a critical part of this investigation into the Southern District of New York, Uncle Rudy’s old stomping grounds.
Giuliani, a man who lived on the edge of the organized crime and Wall St. cartels knows when someone is about to cough it up. And it will not go down with his name attached to it. Because that is exactly what is transpiring, and all that talk about how supportive America’s Mayor was in 2016 is about to go out the window. Hillary Clinton is in the rearview mirror and the only thing keeping Giuliani out of this investigation is his contacts and his moxie, which he will use with every last breath.
And then, with Shakespearean type tragedy, Donald Trump put in a call to his favorite FOX morning show and went on a non sequitur rant to beat all of them for 30 uninterrupted minutes of what can only be described as abject lunacy, no less than eight times implicating himself in several open cases and contradicting Cohen’s lawyers’ plea to keep the cache of documents and emails that may implicate the president in dozens of crimes out of the government’s hands.
Rudy Giuliani is a quarter century older than he was that early morning in 1993 when he set forth to become what I still believe is one of the most impressive jobs in the history of governance. But what he has to do now may be tougher; keep himself and the president of the United States out of deep shit.
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