Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

endorsethisbanner

Watch as Rudy Giuliani debunks Donald Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims celebrated on 9/11 — but simultaneously refuses to actually call Trump a liar.

In an interview Tuesday morning, Rudy said that the city indeed looked into reports of people celebrating on 9/11 — and found some scattered cases totaling perhaps “10, 12 — 30, 40” people.

But here’s the thing: Despite providing this little dose of truth, Giuliani still won’t directly say that Trump is lying about there having been massive parties.

“Well I think what he’s doing is exaggerating,” Rudy said, with a hint of a chuckle. “Right? People were celebrating, he’s right about that… I didn’t see any evidence of thousands — nor have I seen it since then — of thousands of people celebrating.”

“I don’t think it happened. He keeps saying it did. I don’t want to say he’s not telling the truth about it.”

But why won’t Rudy say that, asked CNN host Alisyn Camerota?

“Because let him deal with it. Let him explain to people, let him show the evidence of it.”

It’s notable that even Rudy points out that if this were true, and that Trump saw it on TV, there would be tape of it somewhere — but he still can’t bring himself to settle the question and say that Trump is totally wrong.

And speaking of evidence, some research by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki even casts doubt on the key example of celebration that Rudy cited — and it might just have been a straight anti-Muslim hate crime.

Video via CNN.

Get More to Endorse Delivered to Your Inbox

[sailthru_widget fields=”email,ZipCode” sailthru_list=”Endorse This Sign Up”]

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was forced to defend President Donald Trump's recent attacks on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, an unenviable task she nevertheless intentionally signed up for. She desperately tried to divert the attention back to Scarborough — without engaging in the president's conspiracy theorizing — but offered no credible defense of the president's conduct.

Trump has been spreading the debunked theory that Scarborough killed a staffer in 2001 while he was in Congress, even though it was determined she died of natural causes. The staffer's widower wrote a released a letter on Tuesday pleading with Twitter to take down the president's offensive tweets promoting the thoery. He said he was "angry," "frustrated," and "grieved" by the president's promotion of the harmful allegations. Trump is perverting his late wife's memory, he said, and he fears her niece and nephews will encounter these attacks.When asked about the letter, McEnany said she wasn't sure if the president had seen it. But she said their "hearts" are with the woman's family "at this time." It was a deeply ironic comment because the only particularly traumatizing thing about "this time" for the family is the president's attacks, which come nearly two decades after the woman's death.

McEnany refused to offer any explanation of Trump's comments and instead redirected reporters to a clip of Scarborough on Don Imus's radio show in 2003. In that show, Imus made a tasteless joke obliquely referring to the death, and Scarborough laughed at it briefly.

"Why is the president making these unfounded allegations?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "I mean, this is pretty nuts, isn't it? The president is accusing someone of possible murder. The family is pleading with the president to please stop unfounded conspiracy theories. Why is he doing it?""The president said this morning, this is not an original Trump thought. And it is not," she said, bringing up the Imus clip. But she made no mention of why the president is bringing up the issue 17 years later and with a much larger platform.

When pressed further on the president's conduct, she again diverted blame to Scarborough, saying his morning show unfairly criticizes the president. But again, she offered no substantive defense of Trump.

After McEnany had moved on, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor brought it up again: "Why won't the president give this widower peace and stop tweeting about the conspiracy theory involving his wife?"

McEnany said she had already answered the question, which she hadn't, and said the onus is on Scarborough to explain the Imus clip."The widower is talking specifically about the president!" Alcindor shot back. But McEnany called on Chanel Rion, with the aggressively pro-Trump outlet OAN, who changed the subject to conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Alcindor called out, still trying to get a substantive response to her question, but Rion spoke over her.

At the end of the briefing, another reporter asked whether Trump was looking for any actual law enforcement steps be taken in response to his conspiracy theory. But McEnany had nothing to add, and simply told people to listen to the Imus clip again. As she hurried out of the briefing room, a reporter asked if Trump would stop promoting the theory — but she left without answering.

Watch the exchange about Klausutis, which begins at 48:45.